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Aug 3, 2012

Coye Family now found Guilty of Money Laundering

The highly publicized money laundering case involving businessman Michael Coye and his daughter Melonie, who allegedly legitimized over a million dollars in ill-gotten funds concluded this afternoon in the Supreme Court. The case started three weeks ago and ended with a guilty verdict.  The Coyes, directors of Money Exchange International Ltd., as well as employees Deitrick Kingston and Athlee Matute, were being tried for a second time after initially being cleared of the charge in October 2010.  The Financial Intelligence Unit took legal action against the Coye family following the discovery of one point five million dollars in cash stowed in a suitcase inside a bedroom at their Johnson Street residence in late 2008.  At the outset, Michael Coye, his wife Marlene, their children Jude and Melonie, as well as her husband James Gerou, were jointly charged with money laundering before eventually being cleared on October fifteenth, 2010.  The F.I.U., however, subsequently appealed the case and was granted a retrial.  Today, after deliberating for under an hour, a nine-member jury returned a guilty verdict of seven to two.  Their attorney, Arthur Saldivar, says he’s disappointed with the outcome of the trial since the F.I.U.’s argument was fraught with irregularities. The jury, he believes, may not have fully understood the merits of the case.


Arthur Saldivar

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for the Coye Family

“The prosecution is alleging that the prescribed offense that brought about the monies that they say was found at 12 Johnson Street was forgery.  Now under the laws of Belize forgery is captured under about four or five parts.  There’s no forgery simplicitor in the laws of Belize.  Section one-seventy-six, one-seventy-seven, one-seventy-eight, one-seventy-nine and up to one-eighty deals with various forms of forgery.”

Rowland Parks, Reporter Press

“Mr. Saldivar, with all due respect they were not on trial for forgery.  They were on trial for money laundering.”


Arthur Saldivar

“Money laundering can only be brought against an accused person if the accused person is adjudged to have committed a prescribed offense.  Under the laws of Belize the prescribed offenses include fraud and forgery; however, fraud is not an offense in the Criminal Code of Belize so fraud had to be let go.  Now, I do believe that this jury may have been led astray because the bulk of the prosecution’s case revolved around persons who came to this court in many instances, the forms that were purportedly forged on their behalf didn’t have signatures on them, didn’t have the stamp of the company on it and there’s a great doubt as to where those documents actually came from.  But, they were paraded before this jury and, given who those persons were, obviously may have had an impact on what they may have thought.  So listen, it’s hard to say what a jury would have thought.  I thank the jury for the time they spent; I certainly would have thought that they took the time to listen to the case.  I believe that they deliberated but I believe that maybe the case was a bit too long and confusing for them and at the end of the day I don’t believe the result they came to was the right one.”


Sentencing in the matter has been deferred to August eighth.

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16 Responses for “Coye Family now found Guilty of Money Laundering”

  1. Robert2 says:

    I don’t understand the jurisprudence involved in this case. Perhaps I am too focused on American law where a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Also, shouldn’t a jury agree 100% before a person can be convicted?????

  2. Uncle Benji says:

    Guilty! Guilty! Michael is a friend but no one should be above the law. Come on man. No legitimate business transaction ends up with a suitcase of money. You could end up with a bank account loaded with money, but a stashed suitcase? It spells money laundering.

    If you do the crime………… you know the rest.

  3. I Belize it says:

    “however, fraud is not an offense in the Criminal Code of Belize so fraud had to be let go”

    Is this how the crooks in GOB keep their jobs?

    The world’s best fraudsters need to become citizens, along with murderers, to fight extradition and get elected for diplomatic immunity.

  4. Belizean says:

    Mr Arthur is a wanna be guy. His reputation went down when he failed to pay money to the govt
    a while back. He isnt upright anyway. LET JUSTICE PREVAIL

  5. Huh! says:

    WTF?! Did anyone understand a word that came out of Arthur Saldivar’s mouth?

  6. Storm says:

    I think lawyer Saldivar has too low an opinion of Belizean jurors. Phony documents and a million-and=a-half in hidden cash sounds like money-laundering to me, unless the ‘Coyes had a good explanation — which they did not.

  7. esallymae says:

    Good verdict……..They got what they deserve………Hope more Belizean get caught …………They used my name and now it is to be paid for……….Haahahahaahjajajajajaajajajaja
    Good job well done. all the crooks need to be exposed in Bze

  8. esallymae says:

    Good verdict……..They got what they deserve………Hope more Belizean get caught …………They used my name and now it is to be paid for……….Haahahahaahjajajajajaajajajaja
    Good job well done. all the crooks need to be exposed in Bze

  9. Tarasbulba says:

    It is so rediculous to say that Fraud is not an offense in our country, when their are judicial issues where other cases are related to “Fraudulent Conversition” of other victims Land and other properties. Not related to this case of course, but I can see where the Jurors and most of us not familiar with our laws, can easily be misled. At the end of the day Mr. Saldivar, what were they doing with that much money in their house and not in a Bank?. Maybe this was also in the Jurors mind, don’t you think so?. Much for our laws and thanks for educating me and others.

  10. 2cents says:

    This is ridiculous, so glad i don’t live in Belize anymore. I can keep all my money under my mattress in good old USA! I bet the jury was bought so this crooked government to use these people money to live large. Every dog has his day and that one will come for Dean, Vergas, John, Finnegan and the rest!

  11. BMNJ says:

    Once the Coye family could show the ‘perfect’ accounting records they’re going to win this case. If they were doing business in a legitimate manner, there should be enough paper and electronic trails which evidently showed where the questionable $1.5 million came from.
    In a time when Belize is rampant with robberies, home invasions, and house break-ins, I think nobody in their right mind would be keeping that large amount of cash in their home. To me that’s a red flag. And then, who tipped them off? I wondered!

  12. Simone says:

    How idiotic attorney-take what the jury gives you and shut up or prove in appeal. Other times, the jury helps you now you think they misunderstand-foolish talker-thats why no one voted for you

  13. Buju says:

    Well 2 cents thanks goodness you are not here fi true (or so u stay)

    Be proud of being a gardner or a run boy fi they americans (who dont like you by the way)
    you damn fool!!!!!!!!!

  14. BelizeanMomma says:

    My name was used in this laundering and I’m happy that something resembling justice finally came out of it all. Imagine, I was sending money to some random person in the US and had to find out about it through a money laundering scandal! Thanks to the person(s) who tipped off the authorities…you don’t know how much you’ve done to help all the other unwitting Belizeans whose names were used carry out this mess!

  15. 2Cents says:

    @Simone, ou are out of your element, go back to fighting for gay rights! Yes, I hear a LGBT meeting starting, have fun! @Buju, boy you make me laugh!

  16. 2Cents says:

    @Simone, you are out of your element, go back to fighting for gay rights. I hear a LGBT meeting starting, have fun! @Buju, hahaha! @BelizeanMomma, apparently you need the fame or there is no need to bring that up. If so, share your pain with the media.

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