By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 28-year-old man was sentenced to four years in prison for swindling a BTC retail store out of almost $2,500 by using a fake Visa debit card bearing the name of a United States Embassy special agent.
Travis Alexander Coakley was jailed after admitting he purchased two iPhone XRs worth $2,493 from BTC in George Town, Exuma by using a fake debit card with Christopher Shary’s name on May 24.
However, the Hooper’s Bay, Exuma native claimed he was under duress when he committed the acts, stating yesterday that someone named Neko Flowers told him if he didn’t, he would “put a bullet in my head”.
Nonetheless, Senior Magistrate Derence Rolle Davis said the only reason Coakley avoided the maximum seven year penalty was because he pleaded guilty from the outset. The magistrate noted Coakley has previous convictions which he said he factored into the sentence.
According to the facts read by the prosecutor, Inspector Lakesia Moss, Mr Shary reported to police that on May 24, he was unable to withdraw funds from his bank account.
He subsequently made inquiries at his bank, and found his account had been compromised and that a transaction he didn’t approve, in the sum of $2,493 occurred at BTC’s George Town, Exuma location.
An investigation was launched, which revealed the transactions were conducted by Coakley.
He was arrested in Exuma on May 28. A search of his premises revealed a fraudulent National Insurance Board card ending in the number 1769 bearing the name Hosea Mackey. That person’s photo was affixed to the card.
Coakley was subsequently transported to New Providence and interviewed by police and admitted to the crimes. He further claimed that on May 23, he got a package from Niko Flowers that contained a Visa debit card bearing Mr Shary’s name. He said he was told to go to BTC’s George Town, Exuma location, where he purchased the two iPhones.
He also acknowledged that he did not have Mr Shary’s permission to conduct the transaction, and admitted to being caught with the NIB card in his possession. His attorney, Arnold Forbes, submitted to the senior magistrate that incarceration would not benefit his client, and that an evaluation and counselling would be better suited to remedy Coakley’s actions.
However, the senior magistrate noted that Coakley has antecedents and that he needed to send a message that society must be protected crimes like this.