Woman discharged on NAU fraud conviction

| 10/01/2020 | 35 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): A 66-year-old woman walked away from court without a conviction Thursday, despite having admitted a fraud related charge after she failed to declare she owned a house worth around $290,000 while claiming money from the Needs Assessment Unit. Hermine Stoney had claimed poor relief for a seven year period, receiving just under $30,000. But she was given an absolute discharge by the court as a result of the circumstances of the case.

Justice Marlene Carter said that the custody threshold had not been reached and because Stoney is in poor health, she would not be able to serve a community based sentence. With no previous convictions and considering the particular facts of the case, the judge found that justice would not be served by imposing any further punishment on Stoney.

Following her arrest, Stoney told investigators that she did not consider the family home to belong to her. Even though it was in her name she said she had ring fenced the property for her son, her only child, whom she raised alone. When she sold the property, the bulk of the proceeds went to him to cover the cost of his overseas studies in law.

Stoney had gone to the NAU when she lost her job in 2007. She then suffered a series of strokes that impacted her memory, the court heard, as well as her ability to read, write and speak. When she underwent a review by the NAU in 2014, she did not mention the house or its sale but the court heard she was suffering severe memory impairment at that time and was assisted by the unit’s social workers.

By the time the unit became aware of the undeclared asset and she was arrested, the money from the sale of the house had gone back to the bank to clear debts and the rest was passed on to her son. She did, however, admit spending a small portion of the money on food and essentials.

Since her arrest in 2017, Stoney has been barred by the Department of Children and Family Services from claiming anything from them. Other than paying for her prescription medications, she has not received any support. But with the cash long gone, the court heard that for the past few years she has been essentially destitute and has relied entirely on the help of friends and family.

Her attorney, Alex Davis, told the court that since she had been charged she has “sofa surfed” from month to month, depending on the kindness of those willing to give her a roof over her head and offer her food.

Given all of the circumstances and the fact that Stoney still has no fixed abode in Cayman, she has only one option remaining, which is to move to the United States to live with her sister. The judge, therefore, opted not to record a conviction.

She told Stoney that she was being given an absolute discharge as the court believed she had made a terrible mistake that she was unlikely to repeat. Justice Carter advised her to now do what she could to take care of herself.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mac opened the doors and they called their brethren to join them and now less money to go to deserving Caymanians, more road accidents, more robberies, and the list goes on.

  2. BULL says:

    Bull. Straight up Bull. This woman KNEW EXACTLY WHAT SHE WAS DOING.

    How can the courts be SO GULLIBLE.

    She did not know this, she did not know that.

    Horse manure…..

    Now the hard working people have to pay for her laziness and crookedness.

    Plus to top it off she is not even from here…………


  3. Anonymous says:

    Shame that for all the tens of millions collected by local churches (hundreds?), and the Billionaire Caymanian families that seem to serve and aggrandize themselves, we still have Caymanian folks, down-on-their-luck, couch-surfing, sleeping in cars, going hungry, addicted to drugs, with no apparatus or want to do better by the so-called Christians. There is no Thompson wing at the hospital, no Kickconnell theater, or Bodden gallery. Philanthropy doesn’t seem to exist here, beyond the minimal private fundraising efforts conducted by the working middle class, trying to keep up with the Jones’.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure she ever became a Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      As the wealthiest society per capital in the hemisphere, there shouldn’t be a Needs Assessment Unit, or at least one solely responsible for making the toughest choices.

    • Anonymous says:

      Several churches do soup kitchens and food pantries. So check your bias at the door please.

    • Anonymous says:

      But there is the Kirkconnell Community Care Centre (Rest Home) in Cayman Brac along with the Linton & Pauline Tibbetts wing at the same facility. I agree that the wealthier Caymanian families could do more, but philanthropy is extremely uncommon for them other than giving a couple thousand dollars now and then for some cause in which they are publicly acknowledged for their “donations”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey this is really sad news. The same as the hr woman at kirks though…she got away from govt theft freely also.

    • Anonymous says:

      …..and other theft. It seems that karma is dishing out punishment even if the legal system didn’t.

  5. Anonymous says:

    2.32pm..you are correct… and she is not Caymanian therefore not our responsibility! Ship her out.

  6. Anonymous says:

    These are some sad, sad day in Cayman when these crooks can come to Cayman and abuse their privilege, do their dirt and walk free. This is just so wrong and must stop. This is shameful and just down right disrespectful to Cayman. She, along with the others needs to be deported – never to return. Stop making excuses for them. We can’t go to Jamaica and conduct ourselves in this manner.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Bet you cant go Jamaica have children and then run to government bawling about this and that and they give you free housing, free light free water, vouchers for food etc i could go on.

    Bet you cant go to the Hondorus have children and the run government bawling….as above.

    Bet you cant go Santo Domingo have children and the run to govt bawling… as above.

    Bet you cant go Philapaines. I cant spell… have children, and run to the govt bawling for free housing, free good, free light , vouchers.

    Bet you cant go to India have children. Ok you all should get where I’m going..

    But come on down to the Caymans and have a child or two for aCaymanian Marry the fool and baby you is set for life..

    Moral of my story is. No where on earth but here can you get so many handouts for being married to a Caymanian. Being married to a Caymanian is like winning the lottery!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes yes and yes — you are 100% correct. Interestingly just how many from UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Japan, marry a Caymanian are run to government bawling?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hermine we wish you better health and a brighter future!

  9. Right ya so says:

    All very convenient excuses, especially as her son studied law. But now she can go & live in the US & US Social Services can support her. Instead of her child supporting her. SMH.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Cry me a river

  11. Anonymous says:

    Too many foreigners here stealing from the Nau. Send them back to where they came from.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, too many impoverished foreigners being given PR and status, and then seeking help from the NAU. If you want to solve the problem, it needs to be fixed at its root. That is an immigration issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed with the above but let’s not fool ourselves, we have Caymanian families as well who cheat the system and have no desire to elevate themselves.

        As a country for far to long we have ignored poverty, the cost of living is just to high. Let’s hope we can collectively come together to forge a brighter future.

      • Anonymous says:

        Some impoverished foreigners were among those given status in the Big Mac giveaway!

      • Say it like it is says:

        We always have locals whingeing about the small number of expats claiming off Government. Just remember that expats contribute far more to Government coffers than Caymanians do.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry. That is bullshit. Only the employers pay the work permit fees, not the expatriate workers.

        • L.D. says:

          With out the expat there would be no Cayman as we know it. The duty alone on housing, food, autos, utilities and so on far exceeds what the local population contributes.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A good outcome for all involved.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Maintenance Law? How old are her children? What are that doing?

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting question.

      0) Is it possible to sue under the maintenance law to have a grown child take care of an aged parent (have the parent declared a dependent of the child)?
      1) Is it possible for the Government to do it, or does it have to be the persons demanding maintenance; or someone (CIG?) acting on their behalf (power of attorney, etc.)?
      2) If it is possible, should they do so? (What’s the cut-off between the aged adult still being responsible for their own decisions, such as to go to NAU instead of taking their kid to maintenance court?)

      (Same could go for handicapped siblings I suppose? When does personal poverty become / cease to be family poverty?)

      • Anonymous says:

        It is possible for government to do it. In fact the law requires and expects government to do it. They do not and rely on our money instead of that of those with “first tier” responsibility to pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. When in the Caribbean did it become cool that after kids are qualified and making their way in life, to forget the sacrifices of their parents. Result, forcing their parents to rely on government for support. If you want an indication of the declining morals of a country it starts here.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you. But bear in mind, it may be hard for abused children. Some parents have not treated their children well. That’s a fact!

        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately I must agree with this. I have seen too many cases of manipulative, addicted parents guilt tripping their children into helping them when they were never parents in the true sense at all. They bring their children down and the best thing for the grown child to do is get away and break the cycle.

        • Anonymous says:

          All of the children weren’t abused. That’s an excuse to not take care of their parents. I was my father’s only child and NAU told me that I needed to care for him so I took out a bank loan to help him. Yet government helps other people that have many children to care for their parents and the children make good money. I had to put myself in debt to care for my parent. I have no regrets because he gave me anything that I wanted. He wasn’t perfect but he provided for me financially. It just angers me seeing that children who can care for their parents are just sponging off of NAU.

      • Anonymous says:

        True- many aged and ailing parents are now left to the government to take care of. So sad and embarrassing.

        • Anonymous says:

          You don’t have to attend law school to know that pocketing $200k from your sick, mentally infirm, now-houseless mamma is morally vacuous, if not, elder abuse.

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