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Colombian Jailed For Year Over Jewel Store Fraud

By DANA SMITH

Tribune Staff Reporter

dsmith@tribunemedia.net

A Colombian man was sentenced to spend a year at Her Majesty’s Prison and fined more than $10,000 after he pleaded guilty to defrauding two high-end jewellery stores of more than $47,000 worth of goods.

Jose Salazar-Cervantes, 58, appeared before Magistrate Jeanine Weech-Gomez yesterday afternoon along with 37-year-old Alberto Julian Bernal Ortiz, who also pleaded guilty to fraud charges; and 22-year-old Javier Sarta Sanchez, who pleaded not guilty.

The court listed a large number of counts to the Spanish-speaking defendants from Bogota, Colombia, represented by attorney Jiaram Mangra.

The trio were accused of two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false pretences, alleged to have been committed on July 24 and 25. Cervantes and Ortiz pleaded guilty to the charges, while Sanchez pleaded not guilty.

Cervantes alone was charged with three counts of possession of forged documents, alleged to have been committed on July 24, 25 and 26.

On the first two dates, he was accused of having a Visa credit card, a MasterCard and a New York state drivers license bearing the name Gilber Amat Rizo. On July 26, in addition to those items, he also had another Visa card and an American Express card.

He was further accused of two more counts of uttering forged documents and three counts of fraud by false pretences.

The first count of fraud led to $14,490 in goods being obtained from John Bull in the Crystal Court, Atlantis, and the second led to $15,295 worth of goods being obtained from John Bull on Bay Street, while the third led to $18,000 worth of goods being obtained from Quantum Duty Free on Bay Street.

Cervantes pleaded guilty.

Ortiz was accused of two counts of abetment to commit fraud by false pretences, alleged to have been committed on July 24 and 25. He was accused of facilitating Cervantes in obtaining $29,785 worth of goods from John Bull on Bay Street and the Crystal Court, Atlantis; and $18,000 worth of goods from Quantum Duty Free on Bay Street by means of false pretences. Ortiz pleaded guilty.

After the trio were made their pleas, their attorney Mr Mangra asked the court to be “lenient” in sentencing them as they “took responsibility” by pleading guilty.

Cervantes was sentenced to three one-year sentences in prison, running concurrently, and $10,750 in fines. If he is unable to pay $10,750, Magistrate Weech-Gomez told him, he must serve another year of prison.

Ortiz was sentenced to $3,500 in fines or 10 months at Her Majesty’s Prison. He chose to pay the fines and will be deported.

After sentencing Cervantes and Ortiz, Magistrate Weech-Gomez told Sanchez the prosecution had withdrawn charges against him.

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