Chef attempted to cook up $43M fraud – court hears

A self-employed chef/caterer arraigned on three forgery charges pertaining to a $153.8M cheque was yesterday admitted to bail in the sum of $5M when he appeared before Magistrate Hazel Octave-Hamilton.

The allegation against Dustin Gonsalves called ‘Steven Ross’ is that on August 12 at Georgetown, with intent to defraud, he forged one Bank of Guyana cheque, numbered 06972185, drawn for $153.8M and payable to Ross Mining.

It is also alleged that on the said day, with intent to defraud, the accused endeavoured to obtain $43M from Katharine Paul, an employee of Citizens Bank by virtue of a Bank of Guyana cheque numbered 06972185, drawn for $153.8M and payable to Ross Mining.

On the same day as well with intent to defraud, Gonsalves uttered to Paul the said numbered Bank of Guyana cheque drawn for $153.8M, payable to Ross Mining, knowing same to be forged.

Gonsalves was not required to plead to the indictable charges of forgery, endeavouring to obtain upon a forged instrument and uttering a forged instrument respectively when they were read to him at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Gonsalves, 24, resides at 66 Pine Avenue, Bel Air Park, Georgetown.

No facts of the case were presented to the court.

Attorney Sase Gunraj who represented the accused made a successful application for his client to be granted his pre-trial  liberty.

Gunraj stated that the defendant has no antecedents, poses no risk of flight, has a fixed address and has been cooperating with police investigations.

The prosecution had no objection to the bail application made by the attorney but requested that it be granted with specific conditions attached.

Police Sergeant Lionel Harvey requested that the accused be granted substantial bail taking into account the alleged amounts stolen to ensure he returns to stand trial.

Harvey also requested that Gonsalves report to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Brickdam Police Station every Monday at 9:00am.

After listening to both the prosecution and defence, the magistrate informed Gonsalves that he would be admitted to bail in the sum of $5M.

The matter was transferred to Court One for October 25.

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