Archive for February 21st, 2012

Fosters duped in bread roll con

| 21/02/2012 | 48 Comments

3057355 (263x300).jpg(CNS): A 46-year-old man managed to defraud Fosters Supermarket of almost $340,000 over two years by inflating invoices for the supply of cinnamon rolls, spicy buns and bread loaves, the Grand Court heard Tuesday. Dave Bryan, who was a partner at Cayman Bakery, denied being the mastermind behind the supermarket bread scam, charging Fosters thousands of dollars for huge quantities of bakery products while only actually delivering a few hundred dollars worth of goods, when his judge alone trial opened this morning. Bryan also faces charges relating to a loan from the Cayman Islands Development Bank, which he got after forging his partner’s signature.

Bryan, a Jamaican national, had partnered with Bernie Bush, a West Bay businessman, in the bakery venture but the court heard that Bush acted as a “silent partner” in the business while Bryan was “heavily involved in the day to day” running of the business.

The prosecution told the court that the bread con started in August of 2006 and it was not until May 2008 that the scam came to light by chance. During a random check the manager of Fosters Airport branch, where the scam was being perpetrated, found an invoice for bread for over $5,000.

Given that the Cayman Bakery did not have a van large enough and the supermarket shelves were not big enough to hold such huge quantities of bread, it was no surprise that the buns, rolls and loaves could not be found.

As a result, the manager took a closer look at more invoices from Cayman Bakery, one of five local bread suppliers used by Fosters, and found there was clearly a problem with the invoices.

Although the supermarket had a system in place to check orders, it appears that over the period of the fraud the deliveries and invoices from Cayman Bakery were not being checked and the crown says some staff were conspiring to assist Bryan in his con.

During the presentation of the crown’s case the prosecuting attorney said that when the bread was being delivered some staff members were simply signing the delivery on trust and authorizing the supermarket’s accounts department to pay. The lawyer also claimed that the accused man had altered invoices after they had been signed off by a supermarket manager when he delivered the invoice himself to the accounts office.

Meanwhile, the crown said, the defendant had also acted as a buffer in his own office between the accounts created for Fosters by the book-keeper at Cayman Bakery and the actual cheques he was receiving, keeping his own staff and partner in the dark about the significant fraud.

For almost two years Bryan delivered, or had the firm's driver deliver, an average load of around $140 of baked goods to the supermarket but was charging them as much as $1,400 on the inflated invoices. As a result Bryan managed to cream off more than $339,000, prosecutors claim.

After a full scale internal enquiry followed by a police investigation, the supermarket found that it had paid $395,000 for bread loaves, cinnamon rolls and spicy buns to Cayman Bakery that should have cost the store no more than $56,000.

The trial continues in Court 5 Thursday and is expected to last two weeks.

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Alden calls for solidarity

| 21/02/2012 | 67 Comments

_DEW8274_0.jpg(CNS): The opposition leader has pledged the support of the PPM to the various groups opposing the West Bay Road closure and the proposal to move the dump, warning that the deal was only a symptom of a more frightening problem. Alden McLaughlin called for solidarity and the need to stick together, despite the disappointment over the rejected petition last week. He pointed to the success of the protests and demonstrations which had stopped the “crazy idea” of the East End port and the dredging of the North Sound. The PPM leader said the efforts to fight what was happening were part of a bigger fight for a better kind of governance. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Speaking at a public meeting in George Town last week, the opposition leader described the current administration as “completely clueless” and “flailing about” for the last three years “trying to find some magic or a miracle” to fix the economic problems of the country. He said government was just coming up with one “idiotic proposal” after another, but the real problem was that government didn’t have a plan, despite the manifesto produced during the 2009 election campaign which promised wonderful things once elected.

“They are operating without a flight plan; the captain has lost contact with air traffic control; he is flying blind and the plane is running out of fuel and there is not a runway in sight,” McLaughlin told the audience of some 250 people that had come out in opposition to elements of the Dart plan. The proposal, he said, was the only thing the UDP could come up with to try and fix the economic woes of Cayman.

“The reality is their only economic policy has ever been to sell the country’s assets and use the money to buy votes,” McLaughlin stated. “That has been their economic policy ever since they took office.”

He said this was clear to see by the various policy proposals the government has come up with since the election, including the proposal to sell the Government Office Accommodation Building, the plan to sell the Water Authority and this plan to gift land to Dart.

The opposition leader pointed to the more than $4 milllion given to churches under the nation building plan and, more critically, to the $5 million they had taken from the Dart Group even before the main agreement regarding the ForCayman Alliance has been signed. He said it came down to government selling assets and buying votes in order to do the same thing all over again.

McLaughlin said that once the previous UDP Cabinet had granted status to the owner of the Dart Group, the country was no longer able to control what he did because he was now as Caymanian as anyone else. Power and influence was now concentrated in the hands of one very powerful family, the PPM leader told the crowd, which was not just buying property and businesses but dictating policy, as illustrated by the ForCayman Alliance deal.

However, it was not the Dart Group that people should be blaming, which, after all, was merely seeking a commercial advantage, and it was obvious that Dart would want to move the dump from its own backyard, McLaughlin said. If it could find a government “absolutely stupid enough" to move it to the people of Bodden Town’s backyard, why wouldn’t they go along with it, he asked rhetorically, as he laid the blame at the hands of the current UDP administration.

“I don’t beat up too much on the Dart Group for what they are doing. The people we need to beat up on are those that you elected to the Legislative Assembly who are betraying you,” the opposition leader said, adding that this was where the pressure should be applied.

Despite the disappointment of the petition, which had more than 4,000 signatures but was cast aside by government because a dozen or so of those signatures were from visitors or children, the people should not give up, he said.

“We have to continue to do what we are doing,” he said, as he called for solidarity in the protests despite the disappointment. “We must not lose heart. We must build this momentum. We must stop this craziness.”

McLaughlin added that the country needed a government that would listen to what the people said and pay attention to the rules and follow the law. Cayman needed a government with integrity and “a premier who is not under criminal investigation”, he said to wide applause. Cayman’s reputation was already at stake and the people had to send the message that they would no longer stand for it, the PPM leader urged.

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