by Linda Straker
- Ricardo McFee, latest Vincentian national to be sent to prison
- Tonika Lewis charged for money laundering
Jointly charged with Tonika Lewis for money laundering in connecting with the EC$14,000 which was discovered during a police search last week, Ricardo McFee on Tuesday became the latest Vincentian national to be sent to prison.
The 32-year-old Vendor by trade of Kingstown appeared at the St George’s Magistrate Court in connection with the 11 May 2020 seizure of just over $14,000 at the residence Lewis lives in Woburn, St George. Investigations and surveillance resulted in police searching the home of Lewis. Following the search Lewis, a 31-year-old, unemployed resident of Woburn, St George was formally charged for the offence of Money Laundering. She has been granted EC$15,000 bail with 2 sureties, has surrendered all travel documents and has to report to the nearest police station every Monday and Friday. Lewis is due in court later.
On Monday, 18 May a police news release said that McFee was also charged in connection with the financial discovery and was scheduled to appear in court on 19 May.
McFee who is facing one count of Money Laundering, was remanded to custody and will make another appearance in court on 25 May 2020. Grenada has enacted and enforced several anti-money laundering legislations through the Financial Intelligence Unit.
In general terms, money laundering is used to describe the process by which criminals disguise the original ownership and control of financial proceeds of criminal conduct by making such proceeds appear to have derived from a legitimate source. The processes by which criminally derived property may be laundered are extensive and include drugs-related offences such as trafficking and supplying, prostitution rings, embezzlement, and the sales of illegal ammunition.
According to the Financial Action Task Force website, when a criminal activity generates substantial profits, the individual or group involved must find a way to control the funds without attracting attention to the underlying activity or the persons involved.
Criminals do this by disguising the sources, changing the form, or moving the funds to a place where they are less likely to attract attention. Money laundering, the website explains is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of commercial transactions for the sole purpose of cleaning the funds or making it appear to be lawfully obtained.