Men admit their part in $500k turtle farm fraud

| 06/03/2023 | 37 Comments
Cayman Turtle Centre, fraud in the Cayman Islands, Cayman News Service
Mark Manderson (from social media)

(CNS): Two men have pleaded guilty to fraud and two others have been released by the court in a long-running corruption case relating to the Cayman Turtle Centre (CTC). Prosecutors said Monday that they had accepted pleas entered by Mark Manderson (41) and Jeremy Williams (39) in relation to a conspiracy in which Manderson is accused of using Williams’ security company to syphon CI$486,791 from the farm through false and inflated invoices.

Crown counsel Toyin Salako told the court the admissions were acceptable to the prosecution before revealing that no evidence would be offered against two other men, who had also been accused of similar offences in relation to their businesses.

All four men had been due to stand trial regarding the allegations, which date back to 2015. However, following the admissions by Manderson and Williams and a review of the case by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the trial, which had been expected to last more than six weeks, was vacated.

Verdicts of not guilty were entered into the record for Shevon McNeil and Ian Gayle, two other local business owners who had also been accused of having a similar arrangement with Manderson. They were both released by the court after Salako confirmed that the crown was offering no evidence in relation to the charges against them.

However, since the details of the case remain unsettled, another legal hearing is now anticipated next week before both Manderson and Williams are sentenced. The crown’s case alleges that Manderson used the company of his close friend Williams to invoice the CTC for security equipment. Then, after he cleared the payment and issued cheques for goods that were not delivered, Williams withdrew the money and gave most of it to Manderson.

The financial irregularities were first noticed by CTC’s auditors, KPMG, at the end of 2017 and were referred to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Manderson, who had worked at the Turtle Farm since 2007, was arrested in 2018 and denied the allegations.

Williams was arrested later and in 2020 pleaded guilty in relation to the allegations, admitting he allowed Manderson to use his business accounts but claiming he passed all of the money back to him.

Both men are expected to return to court Friday.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (37)

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  1. SKEPTICAL says:

    It is strange that neither the auditors nor, more importantly, the Directors did not raise questions about the very substantial increase in this area of expenses – Directors have onerous responsibilities to monitor the operations of companies to which they have accepted appointment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Picked up by the auditors around end of 2017 and referred to Anti-Corruption Commission. Read the story.

  2. Morse says:

    Nowhere does it say how long the theft had been going on. It does say the fraud was spotted in 2017.Just asking.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Presumably someone senior at CTF coached these guys on what they would internally accept as invoices. Those people are still there.

  4. Anonymous says:

    They should have cleaned out the Board completely. Still a hot mess up there.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So, was Manderson’so role at CTC totally insular? Was there NO one else supposed to verify they received what was bought? Didn’t Manderson have to verify with at least his immediate superior? Inventory Manager? Anyone? Was Manderson fully in charge of security, or IT?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Who has been the CEO of the Turtle Farm for a long time? This crime was done under his watch.

    Who signed off on the purchase orders for the purchased equipment?

    Who was responsible for ensuring that the equipment was received at the Farm?

    Was it just one invoice for $480,000?

    How does the CEO allow all that money to go missing under his watch?

    • Anonymous says:

      “The crown’s case alleges that Manderson used the company of his close friend Williams to invoice CTC for security equipment. Then, after he cleared the payment and issued cheques for goods that were not delivered, Williams withdrew the money and gave most of it to Manderson.”

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Anonymous says:

    Whole lot of them are disgusting and rather steal than work. An embarrassment to all of us who worked hard, educated our children and raised them to show up and become top drawer employees. Iam wondering what the hell happened to the rest of them. Were they raised by wild animals? Throw them in prison forever where they can sit and consider what they have done for ever and ever Amen!

    • Anonymous says:

      They follow the example set by our not so honorable MPs , who have been rewarded by high office despite their criminal activities.

  9. Anonymous says:

    They should audit invoices related to the support of Cubans. If I’m not mistaken, there was an article about Cubans in Cayman, and it did mention about all kinds of goodies that were purchased for the detained Cubans. Some items did raise my eyebrows.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tip of the iceberg in the Civil Service. And when Corruption is exposed the messenger is taken out, so that the message is forgotten.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i wonder what happened to the case about them cayman air employees letting them cubans get miami some years ago? were they evrr charged?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Detected in 2017. Convicted in 2023. Wow.

  12. Cheese Face says:

    Stealing from the public purse, aka all of us. Lock em up, take key to north wall, drop.

  13. Anonymous says:

    who auditing DPP? doctor’s hospital seem to be only ones questioning some their decisions?

    CNS: I think you mean Doctors Express.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Damn these pesky expats coming here and stealing our……oh, wait a minute..

  15. Just how it is says:

    This kind of dealing is rampant in all parts of the private and gov sector. Juat some know how to play the game better.Like for example over price the goods but still deliver said goods dont just pockit the money. Half mill later and still got what to show for it? And we are to belive he got none the money that was passing thru his bizz account.

  16. Fly Bye says:

    Lord have mercy where these Manderson people coming from all of a sudden. I knew there was a few but every other one is that surname and those older one were so decent but boy makes you wonder what going on with that name now.

    • lil Bobo in East End says:

      Steve Manderson spent most of the 90’s escaping from Northward after being sentenced for murder…

      • Anonymous says:

        He actually got convicted of murder after he was in prison.

        There was an incident with a part of a toilet, which killed someone hit by it.

        • Anonymous says:

          And his son was in prison with him at one time! But there are decent Mandersons too, you know!

    • Anon says:

      What do you mean where we come from? From right here. Where you come from that you don’t know that?

  17. Elvis says:

    Its always a shame when Caymanians let themselves down like this.
    When will they stop?

    • Anonymous says:

      When the education system and social systems support them. Can’t act surprised when principals and teachers are more focused on exorcism than instilling knowledge, life skills, and the ability to think through a problem or scenario.

      • Anonymous says:

        mark manderson came out of the education system in the late nineties. There were countless options and opportunities available. He, like many others, didn’t want to be “smart”, as it didn’t fit with their smooth operator personas…

    • Anonymous says:

      When it snows 3 feet deep.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not how all Caymanians are. Keep up that same attitude and see how far it takes you along in life.

  18. Corruption is endemic says:

    So, McNeil and Gayle are just “innocent” bystanders?


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