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Nov 4, 2014

Trial of Bahamians Wanted for Securities Fraud in the U.S. Begins

Two Bahamian nationals living and working in Belize as stockers were today back in court for the offense of Failure to Declare ten thousand dollars in cash without first reporting it to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).  Both Kevin Leach and Rohn Knowles were accused on September twelfth 2014 of attempting to leave from the P.G.I.A. with the cash. The FIU claims both had twelve thousand US dollars between them, which is more than the prescribed amount without making a declaration. This morning, the two Bahamians were in court before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer.  Knowles and Leach are represented by Senior Crown Council, Godfrey Smith, who was accompanied by Attorney Lesley Mendez.  The crown was represented by FIU prosecutors, Leni Ysaguirre and Sheena Pitts.  According to the prosecutors, nine witnesses will be called to the stand. Today, two were called to testify: Belize Civil Aviation Department employee, Nigel Carter, and Freddy Romero, a Tropic Air employee. Carter said that information received by the Air Traffic Control was that an aircraft, a Cessna C-6-M-A-S was making attempts to land in Belize at the P.G.I.A., but since it did not met all their protocols, he gave instructions not to allow the aircraft entry. Carter left the stand saying that he never allowed the aircraft to land in Belize.   Romero, the second witness, disclosed who made the call requesting a chartered flight from Belize to the Caymans. He said he got a call from one Chee Chase, who listed himself as a passenger.  Romero claimed that when Chase first called him, it was on September twelfth, 2014 at around eight in the morning, asking for a quotation. He could not provide the estimate so he asked to be called back on the following day.  Chase called three times before Romero managed to get the estimate since he needed passport numbers and expiration dates, names of the passengers and their nationalities.  According to Romero, the flight would have cost Chase ten thousand US dollars. With that, the trial adjourned to resume November eleventh 2014. 

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