UCCI fugitive spied in Vegas

| 05/03/2012

vegas (239x300).jpg(CNS): The former president of the University College of Cayman Islands, who is wanted by local police in connection with money he is alleged to have misappropriated during his tenure, was spotted by a CNS reader this weekend in Vegas. Hassan Syed was checking out at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday morning when he was caught on camera. Syed was at the centre of a financial scandal at the university in 2008 when the auditor general uncovered financial irregularities after Syed disappeared. For almost four years the local police have been investigating the suspected fraud, in which the former university boss is believed to have spent public cash on Tiffany jewellery and expensive overseas trips.

CNS contacted the RCIPS regarding the investigation and the photograph taken by a reader who knew and spoke with Syed, and a police spokesperson confirmed that the investigation was still ongoing. It is not known how many other sightings there have been of Syed over the last four years or exactly where he went after he left his last known job at Toronto’s Centennial College.

The irregularities of which he is suspected were discovered by the then auditor general, Dan Duguay, and were reported to the police as it appeared that Syed could have stolen almost US$200,000 in public money.

Prior to the discovery of the fraud the former president had also taken a salary advance from the college early in 2008 claiming that he needed surgery for a serious illness. He then sent his resignation to the board in May 2008. Sometime later, the accounting scandal was revealed by the auditor and made public at a meeting of Finance Committee in June 2008. A few weeks after the former president left Cayman and the accounting scandal broke he turned up at Toronto’s Centennial College, only to disappear again shortly after.

Following Syed’s departure, it was also discovered that he did not have the academic qualifications he claimed he had, which were required for his job, in particular a Phd.

Syed joined UCCI in 2003 and worked for three years as the chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Technology before he was named the new president of the University College of the Cayman Islands in August 2006.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I need some information about Syed from some one who knows him from UCCI. I think i know which part of the world he is in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Foreigners are suppose to provide police clearance. HR managers need to know what to look for in these police clearances because they can be very limited in scope and they can be fraudulent. I am aware of one expat working in the new GOAB who allegedly submitted a police clearance from one particular state in the USA. The police clearance was only for that state. But the guy has a record in another state. The HR manager apparently didn't realize that a police clearance should have been submitted for local, state and federal levels. Also, the UCCI president could not have spent this money without authorization from someone. Who was responsible for signing checks to pay his bills?

  3. Anonymous says:

    They aren't even going to try and catch him/bring him back because:

    1.  Too many politicans got favors done on both sides of the aisle.

    2.  Too many business men/women were part of this whole charade (Board of Governors) and would be embarrassed if the details came out.

    3.  They already made others the scape goat.

    4.  Too many other Caymanians who got favors from him would have to return their nice gifts!

    The thing to remember is although the money was given to him, he didn't take it.  Do you really think the UCCI accountant (an honest man by the way) just gave him checks to spend as he pleased.  No, I am sure he was directed by members of the community/government to give Mr. Hassan those checks.  Now if you were the one to give the ok would you really want this man to come back rat you out?

    • Anonymous says:

      "No, I am sure he was directed by members of the community/government to give Mr. Hassan those checks."

      Really? Would he have been entitled to act on their authority as opposed to, say, the authority of the Chairman of the UCCI Board? 

    • Anonymous says:

      PLUS….He could sue for defamation, probably win, and get even more money!

      You go Syed! You're the man. Living the Caymanian dream!

  4. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    I heard he is teaching a course at a Junior College in Nevada:  Crime Does Pay 101.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yeah right!!! RCIPS would have better luck trying to catch Jack Sparrow.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wish I was there, I would have gone up and asked him flat out what he was up to now.

    Can we have more pictures of people we know in Vegas, who deny that theygamble, it might be very interesting!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Always got a bad feeling from that guy.  Quick to smile in your face and do you a quick favour. But they never added up.  

  8. Anonymous says:

    So.., Vegas has no extradition treaties with Cayman (or any other country for that matter), they never want their visitors to leave

  9. Anancy says:

    It will Cost us far more to bring him to Justice than the money we lost.

    Even IF we were able to actually convict him, it will still cost another $80,000.00 per year to house him at our finest resort, Northward …. oh, and if he has any Medical issues, guess who also has to foot the Bill?


    • Anonymous says:

      it's the principal though. Justice needs to be served regardless!

  10. Mr Vegas CI$$$$$ says:

    Don't hate the player Cayman hate the game all the people who enable Doktor Syed at UCCI are still running around here heading up boards and living large,and there lies the real problem do you honestly believe they want him to come back here to highlight their inactions and incompetence. His very close friendship with a very very senior police officer also seems to be another touchy and very sore subject that very few including media outlets want  to talk about or even to follow up it would appear. Yes Cayman this is why this islands continues to attract these type of Charlatans and Con men with their con plans and fail to act against those who aid and abet them to commit fraudulent and criminal acts without fear of  recourse by our government.

    The truth appears to be very offensive to many of this island but i can reassure those same people it is not a sin…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed. A conveniently overlooked point. Syed was very close to the Commissioner of Police at the time  – who left the island under controversial circumstances at aboutthe same time. The Police Commissioner was later cleared of any wrong doing.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Good for him. He took advantage of the flawed system THAT IS Cayman in general. Ran a diploma mill for a couple years, drove a sweet $100,000 BMW that the people payed for, got some bling to give away, and generally lived large. What is he doing that is different from every politician, not only in Cayman, but everywhere? You go Syed! I hope you won big in Vegas!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I sure am glad UCCI has now a credible plan to gain back their academic credibility. Prayer meetings, dress codes and vain religious piety are all you need. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Do they audit UCCI now? Have the audits been done since 2008?

      • Anonymous says:

        I seem to recall from a past CNS report that the audits were incomplete? Can CNS back me up on this?

        CNS: That is correct – see last paragraph on latest auditor general report on government accounts.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Where is Dog the bounty hunter when you need him?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I'm aware of at least one situation where a convicted criminal from overseas was hired by a government department and the government department had full knowledge of the criminal's background when he was hired. Even if a thorough investigation had been done of the former UCCI president that doesn't mean he wouldn't have been hired anyway. There should be an across the Board policy that NO overseas applicants with criminal backgrounds of any kind will even be shortlisted for employment in the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      where have we been presented with information that he has a criminal background or record???


      No where.  


      I am just pointing out the facts. 


      Furthermore, people are innocent until proven guilty. 



      • Anonymous says:

        Hassan — dat you right?!

      • Anonymous says:

        The article states the man is under investigation, so I gather he has not been charged with anything. With charges, the Crown could apply for an order to try him in absentia. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually in Cayman you are guilty until proven innocent unlike the USA innocent until proven guilty

        • dale says:

          Cayman law is based on British law, so , actually, you are innocent until proven guilty.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon 1104 I have no problem with what you are saying except why did he not sit around to prove his innocense. Know why? You get one guess.

    • noname says:

      Why not? We still have many things to learn from these world class criminals.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Those who recruited him without checking his qualifications should be liable for the money he took. What idiots!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m betting that there’s not really an investigation ongoing. I’m betting some off our local ‘heroes’ would look bad.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good choice Mr Syed, its a great hotel. The excellent french cuisine restaurant in the base of the eiffel tower would be my recommendation to start spending your $200,000. Watch the Belagio fountains from the top of the tower, then toss a few of UCCI's bucks in the tip jar of the Napolean Duelling Pianos bar and hit the casino floor. But save the most for the VIP section in Le Chateau niteclub – the champers costs a few thousand bucks per bottle but the service is excellent and the waitresses are most attentive.

    Do not forget to compliment the hotel on tripadvisor at the end of your stay

  17. Anonymous says:

    There is no extradition treaty between Canada and the Cayman Islands and therefore Mr. Syed is/was safe as long as he remained there.  However, I'm not sure that holds true for the USA.  Since he is so charsmatic and adept in the art of deception that he was able to scam the Cayman Islands Government maybe he has also scammed Canadian authoritiesand employers.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That does not look like syed from how I remember him.

  19. Watch Dog Rover says:

     Wooooooooooof  wooooooooof    wooooooooof  I am waiting to see what the police is going to do.    I am waiting to hear what the PPM is going to say. I am just waiting to see if anyone is going after his ass and draggggggggg him back to Cayman.  I am  just waiting.

    Got an advance  salary, deceived the government that he  needed a surgery.  Got clean away with all that money.   Wooooooof  why dont you Cayman people investigate foreign staff before hiring them.  You would be surprised to know that most of them is wanted.

    Get him Dog Rover

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding?  The police can't slove crimes locally how are they going to get motivated enough to get off their A@@#s and solve this one….what a joke!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Was Alden with him?

    • Anonymous says:

      Please explain. Why would Alden be with him? Were you implying that there was some joint enterprise between them? 

  21. Yourstruly says:

    This could be a photo of anyone.

    Besides, since when is a PhD required to be president of UCCI? 

    • Anonymous says:

      You don't need a PhD to be leader, just holding a workshop on leadership implies you are a leader, right? . 

    • Anonymous says:

      PhD requirement or not, telling the truth on the job application (where he stated he had a PhD) was one of the conditions of his employment. He is a criminal that stole money from our government. My money and your money. It sickens me that you are trying to distract readers from the issue here.

  22. Whodatis says:

    Most likely on his way to meet up with Clooney, Roberts, Damon, Cheadle and the rest of the ol' gang.


  23. The Beaver says:

    Looks like he livin good – added on a bit of weight.  Cayman government must have been working him way too hard in the good ol' days when he was runnin the show (and allegedly pocketing extra change for the Ms(s))…  Just sayin…  The Beaver

  24. The Beaver says:

    Not saying that what he did is/was right, because it wasn't right then and it's not right now… BUT, it pales when compared to the known crime, corruption, and theft that occurs right under the very own nose of the RCIPS and Legal Department…  Just sayin…  The Beaver

  25. Knot S Smart says:

    Looks like he is living high off the hog!

    I wonder if he likes to travel a lot too?

    And if he is good at making deals and signing MOU's with the bogeymen?

    We might just have a job for him here afer the election…


  26. nauticalone says:

    RCIPS still investigating….feel assured now….NOT!

    It'll be the same as other "Investigations" likely….soon come.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just like the $350,000 investigation that has not seen the light of day.  What does the governor/commissioner of police have to say.  Are they DEAF?

  27. SKEPTICAL says:

    What about the Governors having some responsibility – they had at least one senior financial services professional on the board.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The RCIPS have only been investigating for 4 years.  They are at least 6 years away from being ready to make an arrest.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I hope they catch him and make him walk all day in shackles in a circle in the front courtof UCCI.


    That being said, I hope this doses not distract from some serious competency issues that are occurring at UCCI, WITHOUT Syed.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Amazing.  It seems HR thoroughly investigate Caymanians only, but all like criminals, they seem to employ them right away.

    • Like It Is says:

      Pass the self-pity pot around.  Foreigners need police clearance to get a permit for a job, locals don't.  Some extra compensatory due dilligence on locals would only be appropriate due dilligence.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not all foreigners, there is no such thing as a police clearance certificate from the UK. You just swear an affidavit that you have not commited a crime. What a joke.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Ok, RCIPS you've been handed a golden clue so please don't screw this up. By the numbers:

    1) Contact the Las Vegas police and request that they obtain the address used by Hassan Syed at the Paris Hotel (assuming he used that name).

    2) Get a copy of his hotel folio and credit card used and confirm the address of the credit card.

    3) Get the local authorities in the jurisdiction that his credit card is connected to and/or his address used at the hotel to arrest this criminal.

    4) Get him extradited to Cayman where he can stand trial.


    • Anonymous says:

      They need to tell Interpol so the guy gets arrested when he flies into the US.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish people will have more respect for the police service. If you as an individual has thought of these things, what makes you think that the police haven’t? I hope you’re not a Caymanian who is talking about the police this way. We watch too much TV these days and feel we could do better. Leave the police to do their job and show them respect.

      • v.V.v says:

        Yes, I am a Caymanian. This country's police force is a sad and sorry joke and if they were not in charge of my safety I'd say they were comical. From Gold Command to the officers on the street, worthless each and everyone.

      • Anonymous says:

        All 5.0 good for is giving tickets lol

    • Concerned caymanian says:

      They can't do that, that would be too smart! And putting a foriegnor in jail for stealing caymanian money, well thats just wrong! Only the caymanians should be locked up for that! Smh. We need real police!

    • v.V.v says:

      The RCIP can't catch the robber who held up the liquor store down the road – do you really think they could organize that list?

  32. Unison says:

    but… the opportunity was there… we learn from the best

  33. Anonymous says:

    who in in cayman civil service has been held accountable for this incompetence?

    • Anonymous says:

      That was not a civil service matter. I believe his predecessor was responsible for checking his credentials.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't blame the Civl Service please…point those fingers to the correct person(s).

    • Anonymouse says:

      Civil Service? I believe you mean Board of Directors of private sector persons.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Board of Governors had a Chairman!?