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  • Jamaica: Charges brought against woman in Usain Bolt multimillion-dollar fraud case

    Jamaica: Charges brought against woman in Usain Bolt multimillion-dollar fraud case

    Authorities in Jamaica have brought a slew of charges against a former Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) employee who was implicated in a multimillion-dollar fraud at the investment company. 

    According to Loop Jamaica, the charges brought against Jean-Ann Panton include larceny as a servant, forgery, uttering forged documents, breaches of the Cybercrimes Act, and engaging in transactions involving criminal property. At the time of the discovery of the fraud, Panton worked as a wealth advisor at SSL.

    And as previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the victims affected by the fraud include Usain Bolt. The former sprinter and Olympic champion is said to have lost $12 million of his savings in his SSL account.

    Panton made her first court appearance on Friday in a wheelchair. Her lawyer asked the court to grant her bail because of her health condition. But the judge remanded her until February 24. And though the Caribbean nation’s Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigations Branch (CTOC) head said eight witnesses have since given statements in connection with the case, it is unclear if Bolt is among the witnesses. 

    Dr. Anthony McLaughlin, the CTOC head, also said Panton is expected to face more charges, Loop Jamaica reported. The news of the fraud case at SSL sent shockwaves in Jamaica’s financial sector. And Bolt, who is one of the country’s celebrated athletes, became aware of the fraud after he noticed that $12 million of his savings had disappeared from his SSL account.

    Face2Face Africa also earlier reported that the athlete discovered the scam after noticing discrepancies in his accounts. The athlete, who reportedly has a net worth of $90 million, established the account with SSL as part of his retirement and lifetime savings. At the peak of his career, Bolt was said to be earning $31 million a year, Sportskeeda reported.

    During his running days, the eight-time Olympic champion earned around $10 million annually as a brand ambassador for Puma. Now on retirement, Bolt makes $4 million per year for wearing its clothing.

    An investigation is still ongoing to unravel how the eight-time Olympic gold medalist lost $12 million in his account. Jamaica’s finance minister Nigel Clarke said that he had asked the FBI and other international partners to join the investigation of SSL.

    The FBI and other law enforcement partners will provide “international forensic auditors to help unravel this 13-year fraud so we can bring to justice all perpetrators and all co-conspirators,” Clarke said.

    “The central issue is, my fellow Jamaicans, is how did this fraud, this alleged fraud, go undetected for 13 years, between 2010 and 2023. Perhaps even longer,” said Clarke. “Over this entire period, this alleged fraud was being perpetrated,” he said.

    Also, he noted that evidence suggests a pilferage scheme dating back to 2010 involving billions in stolen client funds. He said that the scam scheme was specifically targeted at certain clients at SSL.

    “This fraud is one of the largest securities frauds in the last two decades,” Clarke said at a press conference.

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