PHILIPSBURG–A 31-year-old former teller/cashier at Postspaarbank (PSB) stood trial on the allegation of having embezzled NAf. 867,000 from his employer. This crime was allegedly committed between March 13, 2018, and August 7, 2018, the Prosecutor’s Office said Monday morning. The Prosecutor called for 200 hours of community service and a suspended prison sentence of three months, on two years’ probation, and also announced a dispossession claim for the embezzled amount.
Suspect G.J.P. worked as a teller at PSB since October 1, 2015. He primarily made pay-outs to account holders and took care of the administration thereof.
The bank filed a report against him after an external controller uncovered that P.’s personal bank identification number and workstation had been used to withdraw cash from a dormant interim account (“tussenrekening”). Each of the 18 payments in total were made on days that the suspect was working at the bank. According to PSB, the suspect had embezzled the money in a very “cunning” way. P. was dismissed by the bank in September 2018, at which time he received two months’ salary. He said his former employer had not given him any reason for his dismissal at that time, but five months later he was called in for the alleged embezzlement.
The suspect denied the allegations and claimed that the bank’s controllers from Curaçao also had access to his work computer.
He had kept a “shadow administration” on his computer about the transactions, but signed payment slips could not be provided to prove that the payments were legitimate.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, cash payments of almost NAf. 60,000 were made in the suspect’s bank account at Windward Islands Bank (WIB) in the period mentioned in the indictment, this while he “only” had a monthly salary of nearly NAf. 2,000.
The suspect explained his wealth in stating that he had rented out three vehicles, for two of which he had outstanding bank loans. He stated he had also received money from a cousin as they had plans to start a business together, and had received some US $6,000 in insurance money after one of his vehicles had been severely damaged in a traffic accident. More additional income had come from income obtained in rent from an apartment.
The Prosecutor did not buy these stories and said the cash payments had never been above the NAf. 5,000 limit, because a statement is required concerning the origin of cash payments of more than NAf. 5,000.
The Prosecutor held the resident of Dutch Quarter responsible for the missing money, which he had used to top up his bank balance “in a very refined way.”
P.’s lawyer Shaira Bommel disagreed and pleaded for her client’s acquittal for lack of legal and convincing evidence. She maintained that her client was not guilty of embezzlement in taking money from his former employer’s bank accounts.
According to the lawyer, the case file only contained handwritten documents and printouts with handwritten corrections.
Bommel was also very critical of the fact that PBS had declined to provide more information based on privacy concerns.
She said her client was not authorized to make transactions on the interim account and said only the bank manager and the back office could give permission for payments from this account.
The lawyer said there was no evidence that P. had misappropriated the money and said this case was based on “speculations” from the bank manager and the Prosecutor’s Office alone. The Court will give its decision September 4.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/90126-ex-psb-bank-teller-on-trial-for-embezzlement