She and Her Husband Ordered to Pay $186,000 in Fines or be Jailed
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO — A pregnant woman who, along with her husband, stole $153,330 from her employer was described as cold-hearted by a magistrate on Monday before she ordered the couple to pay $186,000 in fines in three months, the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian has reported.
Failure to do so could result in the couple serving a total of 181 months each in jail.
Alicia George, 33, a cashier/operator/supervisor and common-law husband Antonio Anthony, 37, both of King’s Wharf, San Fernando, pleaded guilty to 49 charges of larceny by trick in the San Fernando Magistrates Court, the Guardian reported.
George, who is two and half months’ pregnant, claimed she stole the money to pay for fertility drugs to realise her dream of getting pregnant.
The Guardian said, according to the facts, read by prosecutor Cleyon Seedan, during the period January 9 and August 21, Chandra Maharaj, owner of the Master Class Premium Club at High Street, San Fernando, observed a steady loss of revenue from one of her roulette machines. The owner conducted an audit of the machine and discovered an unusual amount of $153,330 paid out to Anthony during that period. She then viewed the surveillance footage and made a report to the San Fernando CID last Thursday.
Around 8.15 pm the next day, investigator PC Crawford went to the club where he confronted George about the report. He told her as the supervisor she would have entered a code for the machine, causing the hydraulic system APto operate where she would have had access to the wheel and ball of the machine and that she had altered the outcome as to what colour and number the ball would be placed on. She reportedly said, “Officer, I never take all that money, is ah lil small money me and Antonio take once or twice.”
Crawford then went to the washroom area where he met George’s husband. He told Anthony that he would have placed bets on a roulette machine at the club where the outcome was altered by his wife to ensure that he would win. He reportedly replied, “Boss, I assisted my wife a few times but we eh take so much money.”
Crawford arrested the couple, conducted further enquires, including showing the couple the surveillance footage and retrieving tickets and receipts from the owner, the Guardian said. George’s attorney, Annalee Girwar, said her client’s one desire in this life was to get pregnant. However, she said this entailed George visiting various fertility clinics and taking a plethora of drugs, but her salary could not cover her medical bills.
She said a non-custodial sentence will allow George to satisfy her debt and preserve the life of her child.
Anthony, who represented himself, said he worked part-time at the city corporation and sold dried goods.
“I real sorry my wife had to do what she had to do to try to make herself happy,” he was quoted as saying.
He said they were also stealing the money to help him raise funds for a heart surgery.
The prosecutor, according to the Guardian, confirmed George was a first-time offender. However, he said they did not get a proper trace on Anthony because two criminal records were coming up on his name. In passing sentence, Magistrate Chankar said jail would be the easy way out for them.
“You are sorry because your luck ran out, that is what you are sorry for,” the magistrate, who described their actions as selfish and calculating, was quoted by the Guardian as saying.
She said that neither looked remorseful, guilty nor sorry. The magistrate said, “She is cold-hearted.”
The magistrate said there was no excuse for their actions and scolding both prisoners. She said they would have continued stealing had they not been caught. The magistrate ordered them to pay $93,000 in fines and ordered the sentences to run consecutively.
If they do not pay the money, George will serve simple imprisonment while her husband will do hard labour in jail, the Guardian reported.