Elderly realtor awaits fate in theft case

| 18/07/2018 | 43 Comments
Cayman News Service, Cayman Islands real estate

Toni Paolini

(CNS): A real estate agent who stole cash from two of his clients who were trying to buy property was bailed on Wednesday to wait out the judge’s deliberations regarding his sentence. Antonio Paolini is 78 years old and in poor health but he is still facing a possible jail term after taking $51,000 from one client and around CI$14,000 from another while on bail for the first offence. Paolini, who was the owner of Cayman Real Estate, faced trial twice. In the first case he was found guilty by a jury and in the second he came clean just before the trial ended.

Justice Philip St John-Stevens heard submissions about Paolini’s sentence from both crown counsel Toyin Salako, who prosecuted both cases against him, and his defense attorney, Alex Davis, from McGrath Tonner, who agreed that the case involved a breach of trust and that the custody threshold had been reached. But the judge could still opt to suspend Paolini’s sentence.

Salako said that although the sums were not as large as others seen in the local courts, the harm was still significant. His first victim was a former housekeeper and a low earner who had given Paolini her life savings for the land she wanted to buy, but she never got that property and the money has never been paid back.

She said that to her, that was a significant amount of money that would be impossible for her to replace as she is approaching retirement. In the second case, some of the money was repaid but Salako said that by then Paolini was well aware that using his clients’ money to try to keep his business afloat was wrong because he had already been charged for the first offence.

However, his defence lawyer argued that while Paolini was “grossly negligent”, he was not intentionally dishonest. Davis argued that Paolini’s real estate business had been established in 2003 and had run successfully for many years before he got into trouble.

The lawyer accepted that his client should have had an escrow account and had failed to maintain proper control over the management of the finances, which was a “ticking time bomb”, but he said Paolini did not intend to steal money from clients or cause them harm, and all along he had tried to find the money to pay back the victims.

Davis said his client has accepted that his actions constituted an offence, which is why he made a last-minute plea in his second trial. He had denied the charges because he felt he had not intended to permanently deprive these two clients. Now, however, he accepts his culpability and is extremely sorry. With no previous convictions, coupled with his health problems, Davis urged the judge to consider a suspended sentence.

Following the lawyer’s presentations, Justice St John-Stevens, who heard the case via video link from the UK, said he would deliver his decision next month and bailed Paolini until 22 August.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (43)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This guy represents the entire Cayman real estate sales industry in its entirety. The entire industry is riddled with people looking to make a buck by any means necessary. They would sell their own mothers for a dollar if they could. Anything for that commission. It’s digusting the way the realtors on this island use deception and lies to steal clients and business from each other. A local lawyer once called the real estate industry in Cayman “a pit of vipers”. No truer words ever spoken.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He obviously couldn’t handle his finances anymore. I know when my father got up in age, he would throw away everything but his check. People started taking advantage of him as well but I didn’t know that until much later. I had to take over his finances because everyone was calling me because he owed them money.

  3. Say it like it is says:

    I really feel sorry fotr the poor housekeeper. This man has no conscience, does he not own a home himself which could be sold to repay the poor lady?.

  4. No imported criminals says:

    I never liked this guy from the first time I met him. I kept my distance and I am so glad otherwise I would have fallen into one of his traps. There are more victims and these are amounts are petty to one I know. He should be stripped of his Cayman Status and sent back home.

  5. Anonymous says:

    He should not have been allowed to continue in the real estate business after stealing from the first client!

  6. David S. says:

    Theres the Cayman Bar and theres
    the Cayman Legal society. Two social groups as haven for lawyers.
    Real Estate oly has
    C I R E B A- CAYMAN iS REAL ESTATE aSSOCIATION. An organisation with very wealthy Real Estate agent /broker members. They have multiple listings and almost a monopoly on the business because theyre organized!
    There needs to be another Real Estate association to cover and protect those realtors and brokers that are not members of CIREBA. Its too tough in that business to be struggling by yourself. You need membership to grow the organisation and accumulate some wealth!
    Meantime I suggest crowd funding/ fundraising of any kind, or do some fish fry or cook out or fundraising parties.

    • Anonymous says:

      Them and their fake exam to screen out Caymanians. I know of one very educated, smart ethical knowledgeable individual who took their test as a “test case” and they graded her 2 percent under their passing grade. A whole pile of crap!,

      • Anonymous says:

        My father refused to join them and they made life hell for him to do business. These lecherous bottom feeders have no shame.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m either missing something here or have just been whooshed, I’m not sure which….

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is the popular and successful argument now being made for business people who steal. I wasn’t stealing sir, I’m just a bad business person not knowing the state of my business and finances.

    Okay you’re free to go but don’t do it again or else…

  8. Anonymous says:

    A realtor being dishonest?! Never!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Shame he wasn’t Caymanian enough for the jury to acquit.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Many of these “agents” need to be investigated for the rip-off commissions their cartel charges to people for little effort/work. Hope their AML processes are up to standard.

  11. Anonymous says:

    That’s what you call “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” as they say.

  12. Anon. says:

    What is with all these “entreprenuers” who use people’s money to keep their business afloat?
    First Theresa Chin from Cayman 123 Travel was found not guilty and described as “incompetent business woman”. She was acquitted.
    Then Paulette Anglin is also described as an incompetent business woman and she was acquitted.
    This one was actually found guilty in one trial, then did it again and is now being described as grossly negligent? Incredible!
    I feel sorry for people who entrust their money to these people to provide a service or a good and they get stiffed.
    How do we protect ourselves against people like this? There is no recourse for recovery of funds lost?

  13. Anonymous says:

    “However, his defence lawyer argued that while Paolini was “grossly negligent”, he was not intentionally dishonest.”

    He knew the money wasn’t his, he knew the money was meant to purchase land, etc but he used it to run his business. How is that not “intentionally dishonest”? If he was looking for a way to pay back his clients, couldn’t he have used the same “looking for a way” to keep his business running without using his client’s money like that?

    Once again the Cayman justice system will probably give him a lesser sentence and perpetuate the slap on the wrist logic they’ve been using now. If I murder someone I guess I would be able to use the defence “well I was going to bandage him up after and give him CPR is needed” and get a lighter sentence.

    Sorry, age not withstanding, health not withstanding. If he had known his business was failing to the point he has to steal his clients money, maybe it’s time to find something else to do? Although with the plethora of options here in Cayman I can why he would consider it.

  14. Cheese Face says:

    He’s lucky I don’t take him to court too.

    • Anonymous says:

      If he lucky, white hair and skin….slap on the wrist famo!

      • Anonymous says:

        You have issues. What happened to the travel agent again? Immigration services lady? They fair skinned? Precedent says he walks free.

      • RaceCard says:

        Chip on shoulder much? He was convicted for doing the exact same thing that a Caymanian immigration consultant did but was cleared by the jury. Double standards indeed!

      • Anonymous says:

        Dislike all you want but its Truth over fame, son. Cracker Supremacy is still here in Cayman.

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        You mean unlike the non white skinned Caymanian who got found not guilty recently for exactly the same issue – using clients money as if it was their own when their business was in trouble? Next up some poster saying the exact opposite – that he will get hammered because he is no a born Caymanian. Both are bs.

        Wish people would stop using colour or national origin as an excuse. Can’t we just criticize the sentencing we don’t agree with because of the underlying crime and facts instead of bringing completely irrelevant issues into it.

      • Anonymous says:

        The last 2 ladies to use this excuse and get off were not white skin just saying

        • Anonymous says:

          But they were sufficiently Caymanian in the eyes of the jury. Which comes close to being a defence in and of itself.

  15. Anonymous says:

    if cant do time…pues, dont do the crime! simple????

  16. Anonymous says:

    Whatever assets he holds should be seized and sold to repay the helper first then the other guy with interest.

  17. Anonymous says:

    How could this happened in the private sector?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Working to pay back the housekeeper of her life savings would mean more than his being in Northward. His salary at work should go to the house keeper.

    • Anonymous says:

      Working as what? Not a realtor!

    • Anonymous says:

      This man has no shame nor conscience. How could he treat his housekeeper like that knowing that he probably paid her less than minimum wage. If he has any assets at all it should be sold and given to her. It is way better to have some integrity!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Your use of the phrase “knowing that” followed by “probably”, suggests to me that you do not understand the true meanings of the words you use.

        • Anonymous says:

          Here is a sentence “He left the bar drunk knowing that he would probably be in trouble with his wife when he arrived home.” What is wrong with it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Work! Let him sell all and repay his debt.

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