Agent denies using client’s cash to save business

| 29/06/2018 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Paulette Anglin-Lewis denied that she had used a client’s money to save her business instead of paying his permanent residency fees, when she took the witness stand in her own defence against theft charges on Thursday. The owner of Anglin-Lewis & Associates, an immigration services business, insisted that the matter was an administrative mistake that had overwhelmed her and made her “feel sick and suicidal” as she tried in vain to rectify the situation. Anglin-Lewis said she had no idea that the first payment in 2013 had not been made until she sent a messenger to pay the next year’s fees and learned of the debt.

She told the jury that, as usual, she had sent a member of staff to immigration with the necessary documents and a cheque to cover the $27,500 permanent residency fees for her client, James Rawcliffe, when they came due in May of 2014. But later that day she learned that immigration had turned the messenger away, indicating that there were outstanding arrears from 2013 and that the balance owing was CI$55,000.

Convinced that there must be some mistake, the next day she called the immigration department and left a message that she wanted to speak to the person handling the file about the alleged debt. She said she did not get a call back, but in the meantime she began looking for the previous year’s receipt and when it could not be located, she became very worried.

She spoke about feeling nauseous with the dawning realisation that the money was missing, a feeling that got increasingly worse at a time when she also became physically unwell. The court heard that Anglin-Lewis had several bank accounts and an overdraft facility that would have provided enough funds to cover the $27,500 that she believed was all that was due, but she did not have $55,000.

She said that when it became apparent that the 2013 fees had not been paid, she became extremely worried and disappointed that something had gone so wrong at the firm, which prided itself on the service that it had offered over the years.

Anglin-Lewis said she fixated on trying to raise the money to pay it all back, and admitted under cross-examination that at the time her business was struggling. Efforts to borrow the money from friends and family and to sell a unit in a building she owned all fell through and it took her until earlier this year to eventually pay back the money she owed.

She denied that she had deliberately used Rawcliffe’s payments to her, co-mingling it with her own funds, to save her ailing business and pointed out that if she had wanted to get out of the debt, she could have filed for bankruptcy and she would not have been where she was today if she had.

Anglin-Lewis said from the time she realised that the error was with her office and not immigration, she focused on trying to find the cash to clear the debt.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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