Jamaica: SSL Probe Reveals Over 200 Accounts Hit, Exceeds US$30M In Fraud

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – Further investigations into the multimillion-dollar fraud at investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) have revealed that more than 200 accounts have been affected, surpassing US$30 million in fraud and other irregularities, with inquiries extending beyond Jamaica.

“Evidence now shows that there are over 200 affected accounts and a staggering amount exceeding US$30 million attributed to fraud and other irregularities related to clients’ funds. Despite numerous appeals and direct means of communication, the Financial Investigations Division (FID) has only received 23 official statements from affected individuals and entities,” FID said in a statement

“Notably, these investigations transcend national boundaries, with inquiries extending beyond Jamaica. Leveraging international mechanisms such as the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, and employing informal channels like law enforcement-to-law enforcement inquiries, as well as capitalising on Jamaica’s membership in the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for the Caribbean, underscores the commitment to a thorough and comprehensive examination of the SSL matter,” FID Director General Selvin Hay added.

SSL has been under the temporary management of the Financial Services Commission since January after fraud allegations surfaced; indicating then that some 40 clients had allegedly been fleeced of a combined $3 billion from accounts. One individual, Jean Ann Panton, has so far been charged and is to be tried in the Criminal Division of the Home Circuit Court.

“As previously announced, the investigation into the SSL matter is ongoing, with Jean-Ann Panton currently facing fraud charges set to appear in court today for a mention. The complexity of the investigation cannot be understated, as it involves a comprehensive examination of events dating back to the inception of SSL in 2006. Since then the company has garnered substantial investor interest,” the FID said.

In addition, Olympian Usain Bolt and a sitting Member of Parliament, whose name is being withheld, are among the more than 30 people whose investments at SSL are believed to be among those fleeced by a wealth advisor who was recently fired by the company.

FID said: “The meticulous inquiry requires a thorough analysis of the entire time period, scrutinising the flow of investor funds. This process, by its nature, is time-consuming and deliberate. Presently, the findings indicate potential criminal and regulatory breaches involving both the company itself and individuals associated with it. It should be noted that these matters are distinct from the ongoing court case, which centres on a prolonged fraud affecting numerous investors.”

“The investigative process is far advanced and we are now at the point where a file is currently with the prosecutors who are reviewing the evidential material with a view to discerning the possible charges,” the FID added.

FID Director General, Selvin Hay has reiterated previous invitations to clients who have been affected by the irregularities to contact the FID via email at info@fid.gov.jm or via telephone at 876-928-5141-8.

“I must emphasise the critical role their cooperation plays in seeking justice through the Courts. The FID remains committed to supporting the integrity of the financial system and will spare no effort in bringing all guilty parties to justice,” he noted.