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Jul 31, 2003

First arrest made in passport scandal

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It’s certainly not the arrest we were expecting…after all we had been led to believe that a big fish would be the first charged in what has been dubbed “the immigration scandal”. But an arrest is an arrest and today, forty-seven year old Therese Cabral of number fifty-six Vernon Street in Belize City was escorted to Magistrate’s Court to answer to thirty-seven counts of forgery and six counts of perjury. News 5 was unable to speak to Director of Public Prosecutions, Kirk Anderson, regarding this case, but according to a press release issued from Anderson’s office, Cabral was arrested for “the alleged commission by her of various offences as revealed to investigators.” It is interesting to note that the D.P.P.’s release also stated that “Miss Cabral was employed at all material times at Odette’s Store on Albert Street.” The deliberate reference to Cabral’s place of employment is unusual and would appear to be an attempt to connect her alleged activities to the Shoman family, owners of Odette’s, and particularly to proprietor Jose Shoman. Shoman was a high profile immigration consultant under the now defunct economic citizenship programme. His most recent appearance in the news was as the unfortunate owner of a stolen Hummer that has since been returned to Customs authorities. When contacted today by phone, Cabral told News 5 that she has worked at Odette’s since 1973, but declined to comment on the charges. She was offered and met bail of ten thousand dollars plus one surety of the same amount and will reappear in court on September fifth. Until then, Cabral was ordered to hand over all personal travel documents to the clerk of court and report there every Monday and Friday. The case will eventually be tried in the Supreme Court with a maximum penalty upon conviction of ten years imprisonment.

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