(Guardian of Trinity) In 2021, the Financial Investigations Branch (FIB) charged four people with money laundering with a cumulative value of TT$30,747,417 and it is expected that this year more people will face similar charges.
This was revealed at the T&T Police Department press conference yesterday by Acting Chief Superintendent Wendell Lucas of the FIB.
Lucas said the branch had been instructed to charge three other people with money laundering last year, but they were unable to detain the suspects, “although we suspect that in 2022, we would be able to arrest these people and bring them to court for the offences.”
He noted that 2020 and 2021 were extremely difficult for everyone and for the world and further revealed that FIB has been affected by the ongoing pandemic. However, he assured that they had weathered the storm somewhat and continued to persevere in the interest of the people of T&T.
Lucas also warned people against taking investment advice that offers big returns, saying due diligence checks should be carried out with the Security and Exchange Commission “to see if the items on which people offer tips are registered with the SEC before you leave with your money.
He said: “Sometimes if it’s too good to be true, maybe it really is too good to be true and you should be careful, especially in these times. Secondly, we have people who are going their separate ways. hard-earned money for the purchase of items through government auctions.
“Please, if there is a government auction and you would like to participate in it, I would advise people who have been scammed to part with their money on the pretext that they are buying auction items from the government and being asked to deposit money in accounts and they did so we would like to advise you, before parting with money, check to see if it is advertised public and if you’re not sure, just call the government agency to make sure you’re parting with your money for something legitimate.Lucas said the FIB has also seen an increase in remittances. to countries around the world by T&T citizens.
He said: “People are advised to provide their ID cards to other people so money can be transferred out of the country. So you get paid a small fee to transfer thousands of dollars from T&T. I want to warn against this practice. You don’t know who the money is going to and what it will be used for. We would therefore advise people to immediately desist from having your ID cards used to send money out of the country by people for a small fee, as you may find yourself having to answer some serious questions if the money is used or sent to people. engage in criminal activities or engage in business that violates matters under anti-terrorism legislation.
Although 2021 was extremely difficult for the FIB, the branch was able to seize TT$4.1 million from criminal entities.
Lucas said the branch was able to confiscate TT$705,374.38 from the state and US$685,092 from the state.
“This money will be placed in our Seized Assets Fund and will be used to benefit organizations and entities and to treat depressed areas and individuals who have suffered over the past two years due to the ongoing pandemic.” , Lucas said.