Local con man gets 4 years

| 17/04/2013

(CNS): A local small business man was given a four and a half year prison sentence Tuesday following his admission that he conned at least four customers out of almost $100,000 and wrote two bad cheques for his newspaper advertising bills. Derrick Thomas was described by Justice Charles Quin as the “consummate con man” and found few mitigating circumstances in the case against him for four counts of theft and one of obtaining services by deception. With a list of previous convictions for dishonesty and an eleventh hour guilty plea after two trial dates came and went, the judge offered only a small cut in the sentence for the defendant’s eventual admission to his crimes.

Thomas had started a geothermal air-conditioning company in 2008. However, according to his attorney, while he had started the business with good intentions, he soon realized that he was not able to manage the business nor did he have the skills required to install the units he was selling. As a result, he got in over his head and ended up conning several customers between April 2009 and January 2010.

His lawyer said his client had many “bright ideas, but when it came to the actual nuts and bolts of running a company, he is absolutely appalling”. In addition, the court heard that Thomas had trained as a chef after leaving ICCI with a diploma in restaurant management.

Thomas took more than $99,600 from customers but did not fit the air conditioning units as promised because, his defence attorney said, he did not have the skills and local sub-contractors were also untrained in the specialist equipment. Thomas also gave the Caymanian Compass two cheques for almost $3,000 for advertising, which bounced as he became increasingly indebted.

Despite his poor business skills, the judge raised his concerns that, according to the social enquiry report, Thomas was hoping to dig himself out of his problems and finance his family through more entrepreneurial schemes rather than taking a job for which he was qualified and earning a wage. He also expressed concern about his long history of offending, which included at least three separate dishonesty cases going back to 1998.

The judge said the social enquiry report also found that Thomas was an alcoholic, though the defendant denied the point and said he was a social drinker.  However, Justice Quin said he believed Thomas hid from his criminal activity through the drink.

The judge was not convinced by the defendant’s alleged remorse and said the details of the crimes revealed that, despite being aware that he could not fulfill his business promises and obligations, he continued to take cash from more customers.

“What makes this case more serious is that the defendant cheated four separate customers and showed no regard for the loss of the significant sums of money they incurred. The court takes into account the fact that the jobs the defendant promised to do and was paid to do were never done. Therefore the customers not only lost the money they had handed to the defendant but they had to pay other companies to do the job that they hired and paid the defendant to do.”

He pointed out that the defendant was in no position to pay anyone back. “The defendant has shown a callous disregard for these unsuspecting victims,” the judge stated in his sentencing ruling. “He made false representations, knowing that the jobs would never be completed. He is the consummate con man. There are few, if any, mitigating factors in this case and many aggravating features.”

Justice Quin handed down a five year sentence for each of the four cases of theft.  He gave only a 20% discount for each as a result of the very late pleas but ordered the prison terms to be served concurrently. However, in the case of the bad cheques given to the local newspaper, he imposed a further six months to run consecutively.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Anyone remember the old con, where this guy come in to your store or place of business, funny how he always ask for the manager or the boss. Then he gives the story of how his car is parked down the road and its need a part, and he has to get the part, or was out of gas. Then "can you help me with a few dollars" ill be right back, will give back extra for the help. The only thing I dont like about this news is the fact that he was called a "Local Business Man". For the records, this guys has and always will be a Con Man. Lets see one day if he makes it through the Prison. mark this day and word. He gets out and complains that he cant get a job, and how he such a hard working individual and so forth and so on. Then when he steps up the ante with other criminal activity we hear how he had to do it because he had to feed his cats and iguanas. Brings to mind the other CON MAN that was doing the business cards idea, I wonder what ever happened to him? Any one recall this other guy?. He would get you to sign up, then tell you that you can pay monthly, then next day he right there harrassing and telling you to pay. I remember going around to the locations and looking for the cards that I paid to have in certain locations and was none to be found. And the story goes on. I wonder what he is up to now.?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please stick to commenting on the TOPIC here not beating everyone else down. This was about Derrick Thomas not pastors or churches. What the hell is wrong with you people????


  3. Anonymous says:

    This man may be a con, but from what little I here and no one seems to credit this man for He and an owner of a home in patricks islands installed the very first geothermal unit in a privatehome. Here is a man who from what i read above is a chef, and figures out how to install and work properly a geothermal unit that has never been tried. And yet i read that these people who he "conned" needed to hire an AC company here who claims they didnt know how to install this had to complete the job. Now my next question here is who installed the geothermal in the government building and is now got the contract to install geothermal at the shetty hospital. It seems this man who you all are chastizing, had an unbelievably greatidea, just didnt have the experience in business management nor the funds to start such a business. I have researched this resently and have been told every company on this island told derrick this geothermal stuff was not possible due to the salt water. He seems to have proved everyone wrong. So again I ask who installed the geothermal that exist here today in part thanks to Mr. Thomas taking a chance. In my opinion there is a company and or companies on this island who owe derrick. What are the cuc bills at the government building. how much are they saving. Maybe this very government should give him a little credit. And he appears to be caymanian. What a surprise   I can relate to this man, in that i too have started many projects and failed before i became very successful. and sometimes when you fall, it takes a while before you get up again. But to this man I say your are a success. Someday i hope you get the reward.

    And to all the comments above, if any of you work for an insurance company or some finiancial company that hides money for wealthy expats, you too are a thief. Am I right. these people are not paying their rightful taxes to their government and your helping them make it look legal on paper. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have known derrick a long time. I'll agree he is a smooth talker and an extremely good liar. But as you all stand here and chastize him, lets remember this island is full of corruptions, liars, theifs. One doesnt have to look very far. Look at our own elected government officials. OUR own premier is accused of steeling, and yet people stand behind him. Mr. Joey Ebanks twice over. And i believe i have recently seen in the news of a young man steeling 3 times what derrick has is believed to have conned and yet they got the same sentence. Derrick has his history, and maybe time in jail will force him to look at his own character and change what is needed. And for those who want to know his status, he has been here when there wasnt even a west bay road, and only 2 hotels existed there. So for those who want to say they are caymanians, if you dont know howlong derrick has been here, and should not be here and lose his status, then maybe take a look at your own status, because he has been here longer than you. So how did you get your status. 

    Im not saying what he did, nor continued to do when this business colapsed, and he realized he was way in over his head, but many many people here try to do what he has done and failed misrabley, As I am a caymanian, we are not supportive of each other, we rather like to prove we always better than the next, and deter anyone elses success.We glory in watching others fail to make ourselves look better.

    And let it be known he placed the very first geothermal unit in a home in Patricks Island, and I personally know who he is, when everyone told him it would not work, all these companies who had to be hired to place these units in these business/homes who he conned told him it could not be done, and he did succeed at that. So without him, geothermal would not be used in the government building, and now being placed at the Shetty Hospital. If derrick did one good thing here he proved it could work when NO ONEelse believed it could. And now these companies and now making loads of money installing what they said wait "didnt know how"

    I have known derrick for over 30 years. He has many faults. But dont we all. We are all sinners, and best we can ask is that may God forgive us and him. And many of us claim to have manners, and one thing my parents taught me, IF YOU DONT HAVE SOMETHING NICE TO SAY, THEN SAY NOTHING. WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO OUR OPINION, BUT SOMETIMES ITS BEST WE KEEP IT TO OURSELVES.

    To derrick best friend XXXX, as you sit at the bar and put the knife in derrick back, remenber you yourself have just a long of a list of faults as derrick, im sure derricks hold many of your secrets. I have someone close to me who used to work for you, and you still owe him money. You too promised to pay next week. —and its been 5 years. by the way you owe him over 2000.

    And finially to his wife and children i will pray for you, dont give up, keep your heads held high, and look forward. I truely hope she has not read any of the above comments, 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Derrick has been an absolute twonker and he has yet to learn his lesson.

    I sincerely hope he does.

    But, how come a recent rape case did not result in a custodial sentence. Have we lost all sense of values? If Derrick got 5 years or so for parting people with their money, how come a rapist only gets probation to part someone with their dignity?

    Baroness Scotland, have anything to say?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I used to serve him beer and he would ALWAYS walk out on his bill…………he would pretend his phone was ringing and say ” ill be right back, I have to take this call…..” And not come back! I’d find him down the road at the next bar……….. If get upset with him and he would make ME look like the bad guy! Jerk!

  7. Anonymous says:

    He is well known in most local restaurants and bars for running up charge accounts and not paying or paying with bad cheques, has been doing this for years.


  8. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    I was nearly one of his victims too.  Luckily my wife and a friend of mine warned me to stay well clear of him before I gave him any money.

  9. Big Whopper says:

    Shame to say I was almost had by this idiot as well until I went to the FCU which did not result in much action…so I took matters into my own hand and hired some local muscle..glad to say I got my cash back. Did not realize he was still at it…wow…I am sure there are others that have not come forward…

  10. Anonymous says:

    He has also stolen from a friend of mine as well…as previously said he has a long history of lies and deceit…I believe he has Status, if this is so.. it should be revoked .

  11. St Peter says:

    We need a law that if someone writes a bad check and does not repay the cost within a specific time – then it automatically becomes a criminal offence and fraud…

    • Anonymous says:

      We do. If the person knows there is no funds and they write a cheque it is a criminal fraud and may also represent obtaining property by deception. That the police or prosecutor or judges do nothing may more be a reflection issues other than the law.

      (It is also a fraud when you deduct employee pensions and do not pay it into the fund – and although the police refuse to do anything and tell you it is a civil matter – theat is nonsense).

    • P A Rody says:

      In Dubai it is an immeadiate prison sentence

  12. Anonymous says:

    He is no different from the foreign pastors/churches  here on the islands.  Now that is a scam.

    • Anonymous says:

      oh yes 12.00! And the Caymanian ones are all real saints, right?

      • Anonymous says:

        Hardly any actually. Almost all the self annointed Bishops around the place are from “foreign”.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is quite obvious that there is a difference in the churches, when the larger percentage of donations are given to runaway, breakaway or backdoor churches from overseas.  I guess I can run to one of these churches and get baptized as many times as I want.  What a joke, too sad to even laugh.

        I need some votes for my donations from the Nation Building Fund.  People are so addicted to corruption, they will vote for the Leader Leader, even if found guilty and is sent to the hotel.

    • Anonymous says:

      12.00 How many foreign churches got vote buying NBF funds? Oh lets look,….why not one!!!, there is a surprise…would seem they have to live off their donations and collections and own fund raising efforts. The fact they got none just shows what a scam that whole NBF is- no voters attend those…and as for the churches that accepted it…well, QED, your article is bull.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How does 5yrs for each of the 4 cases of theft plus 6 mos for bad cheques become only 4 years, or 2.5yrs as someone else stated?

    • P A Rody says:

      the  theft cases all run at the same time

      so 5 years, 20% discount is 4 years, then 6months for the rubber cheques and you get to the 4.5 years in the headline.

      2.5 years as time off for good behaviour and installing Northwards new geothermal air conditioning system

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the custodial sentence given to him and I think he should have been given more years.However, I wonder if the perosn who did such adeed had been a Canadian/ British/ Ameican/New Zealander/Australian or even South African national, would he have been given jail time?

    • Anonymous says:

      This type of sentencing does the country and its people no good.  If he has status, it should be revoked and kicked off of here. We dont need to import and harbour criminals.  It is no wonder we are on the other end of the scale.

      It should be, "know your customer", "know your business oppurtunist".  We are inheriting to many scum bags, it is time to clean house.  To many black eyes. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    I hope this becomes standard practice in sending these cons who continue to practice their trade every chance that they get without remorse. Thank you legal in sending these cons away for a while and if they are not from here they should be deported.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why is it these cons are allowed to come to our island, go through Immigration, settle themselves in as holy Moses, swindle and con people and yet their picutures cannot be shown to the public?  And why don't the Courts use the word "deported" when sentencing these criminals. This is not acceptable by the good descent native Caymanians or those who come here and honestly add to the development of this country. This system is unfair and it seems that the cons are more protected that good citzens.  I was told recently that a certain person openly stole from an insurance company, he was repeatedly taking in monies and not using a receipt book to document the transactions and over a period of time substantial amounts were unaccounted for. The manager of that insurance company released him and notified the appropriate authority, would you guess where he is today. He was given permision to join another insurance company. I was shocked a few months ago when I received a call and the caller referred me to look on a certain page in the newspaper, there he was all dressed up in full suite, all ready to plunder again on fresh grounds. I pray to God the day will come when the power there be will flush out all the rift rat that come to our island to plunder and destroy, and I also pray that God be with this 2013 election I want to personally lobby with LA to "please" add in the laws of this country that "when a person holding a status "paper Caymanian" commits a crime they can be deported back to their original country of "birth" and they become an "unwanted criminal" in the Cayman Islands.  We have enough headaches with our own homegrown criminals, and we have to start somewhere to gain back our integrity for our generation to come. I cannot believe this is the island I grew up in. Trust me, true boodied Caymanians are  fast becoming endangered species. Our little rock of peace and transquility has become a "den of fear" and whats next. May God help us all!


    • Rorschach says:

      And why don't the Courts use the word "deported" when sentencing these criminals.

       Two words, my friend.."Human Rights"..

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it not true that if given a jail sentence of twelve months or more is given then status may be revoked?

      • Anonymous says:

        or, in the case of a Cabinet grant, he is convicted of an offence made possible or facilitated by the fact he is Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        you'd serve the country better if you would try to get mak bush deported.

      • Anonymous says:

        The law says so but it seems our officials responsible for enforcement refuse to admit it or act on it. Why, I wonder?

      • Anonymous says:

        That is what is understood, but we need people to have the balls and the will to throw the books at the peretrator and rid this country of imported criminals. 

        New appointments should be the way to go.

    • Anonymous says:

      You say you want our laws to say that status Caymanians should be deported back to their country of birth if they commit a serious offence? I agree.  Guess what – our laws (including the Immigration law) already say that. Pray all you want and lobby all you want. We do not need laws, only enforcement of the ones we have!  

      • Anonymous says:

        Is there a bias exhibited by our enforcement authorities that protects foreign nationals that have been granted status? Anyone know how many criminals from overseas have had their status revoked and been deported in the last decade?

      • Anonymous says:

        Not the status grants given by Mac.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not true – they too are revokable if the holder commits an offence (any offence) made possible, facilitated by, or connected with the grant. Read the Law! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Because right now we have no “Native Caymanians” committing any crimes right? Names like Bush, Ebanks hitting the headlines nope no true born…oh by the way I am native and if you will read up on the Immigration laws you will see that there is no such thing legally as a native Caymanian we are all “status” holders. I admit this came as a shock to me when I learned this but our nationality is granted by law not birth hence the reason our passport does not say The Cayman Islands on it. Don’t believe me try transferring land or doing other things without producing your passport with a stamp of approval from Immigration or read the law…meanwhile remind me again how none of us native born are committing crimes only ex-pats and “paper Caymanians”

    • Anonymous says:

      I want to see his picture too! I want to know if I know him.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had dealings with this very same man.  A true scam artist.  He had his hands dipped into everything and still could not even see one task to completion.  Too busy trying to get it above others and steer his lies straight.  This man would volunteer to do assemblies and church programs with the youth (stated that he was a church pastor amongst his many other occupations) and when the time came around would demand letters of recommendation to exaggeratedly state tasks he volunteered to do and things he never even did.  Just so deceitful.  I hope his past employer looked about having charges brought against him and not only just notified the authorities.  I agree that con artists like him need to have their status revoked and deported back to their country of origin, never to step foot back on these shores again.  Our laws need to be enforced!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, but the status holder has more rights than the indigenous caymanian.  The con man gets 2.5 years and the flare gun caymanian gets 10 years.  The con man has continuously been under the microscope, yet he is left to contiunously carry on his trade.

      I hope that these infractions will be dealt with harshly in the future, by chaning the antiquated laws that work so well for some of them, not some of us.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Will he has a very big outstanding bill with a telecoms company still. Serve you right Derrick!

  17. Otherview says:

    Pirates of the Caribbean live on in Cayman. This is just one example, one who has been caught.
    These types of scams run deep in these unregulated isles. Be on guard, trust no one.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sadly this is not Mr Thomas first run in with the law If i can recall a friend of mine rented a house few years back to him and later found out he was the bag man for a massive foreign run scam being run from the residence in the West Bay and was arrested in a sting operation along with three wanted foreign nationals who were detained at the airport as they attempted to leave this jurisdiction, in fact  the mastermind of this scam tried to bribe the arresting officer Powell with over $100,000 at the airport and were all arrested and charged pleaded guilty and sent to prison. In fact the investigation was so sucessful that most of the monies were recovered and the foreign victims were actually able to recover their monies which never happens in most cases  So Mr Thomas has some experience with this type crime and obviously not learnt his lesson.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Things like this would not be so prevalent if the current legislation was adequate and the Police was a bit more active in nabbing these con artists.

    During the construction of my house, I reported two subcontractors (including the ac guy) who took money and were failing to provide the goods or service for which they were paid a deposit, do you know what I was told? Oh, it is a civil matter, you have to take them to court.

    If a man walks into Fosters and takes a can a sausage and walks through the door, the blue and white lights go on and cops rush to arrest. Now if a guy walks into fosters and takes $3,000 in groceries and hands over a useless piece of paper to the cashier as a cheque, there is no arrest and fosters have to take the person to court to try and get any type of justice.

    It is a flawed system and until we get some proper legislation to tighten things up a bit, this is likely to continue.

    • Rorschach says:

      I'm afraid you are wrong..you are comparing apples to oranges…theft of goods is a criminal offense…and yes, the police will arrest…even if the theft is by check…failing to honor the terms of a contract is a CIVIL offense and the police have no jurisdiciton in these matters, despite it being a very well known practice for officers from Jamaica who are here, to use their position to try to "enforce" civil laws..

      • Anonymous says:

        You are so right about some of those Jamaican cops in the force trying to enforce civil law of which they know absolutely nothing about they try to enforce the same corrupt system that most of them are used to from their homeland. Our law enforcement community was much better and honest without many of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wrong. If you know you have no funds to cover a cheque, you commit a criminal fraud, and even a theft.

    • Agreed says:

      I couldn't agree with you more. Our condo was horrible construction – from floor to roof. Inside and out. Faulty sewer plant installed. Compliants were made to Planning who had the same response. And they have given COs for phase 2 even with these complaints as well as approval for other construction developments around the island. The authority for the sewer plant also said they cannot go after the developer for the sewer plant although it stopped functioning properly soon after it was installed. They are instead coming after the current owners. As noted above, phase 2 on the same site got COsafter as well. So until the law and govt agencies go after these rogue developers and contractors, this will continue.

  20. Anonymous says:

    If we had only known that he was in court.  He has $2,800.00 for us too!!! We did some work for him in 2008 and he did not pay us. Always promising us that he will pay next week.  Please do not let him out.  He is not goood for society. Dam thief!

    • Anonymous says:

      He owes money all over town and his been before the civil courts for many years bouncing cheques and misleading …  Our systems failed to deal with him.

      • Anonymous says:

        Check out the many foreigners he has con into going in business with, only to take their money, and never start  up the business. he ran off with their money.

        Check out the many apparment owners he has con into staying there for three months, using the land lord's law, that you can't evict someone  under 3 months time…never paid a dime.

        Check out the many customers he has taken deposits from, to carry out home repairs, only to con them into giving him a fat deposit, and they never hear or see of him again.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Shameful ! He has been doing this for years to unsuspecting people – finally he goes to jail I only wish it was 14 years instead!

  22. Anonymous says:

    A custodial sentence was entirely appropriate. Wonder what the outcome of future dishonesty cases will be, particularly those involving wrongful use of the public's money?

  23. Anonymous says:

    We seriously need to change a lot of ourarchaic laws arouund here to give people the punishment they deserve for the crimes they commit so injustices like this are not so common.  This man has robbed his clients and escaped with a slap on the wrist.  There's no punishment for him or deterrent for anyone else who may consider the same path of crime.

  24. Anonymous says:

    that's just a slap on the wrist! he'll be out in 2 1/2 years! it looks like the more you steal the lest time you get in jail!  bring in the fingure printing system!



    • Anonymous says:

      He is a convicted adult,

      let's see his picture so we the others will not get conned.

      If he is not Caymanian he should be deported.

    • Diogenes says:

      Finger printing would have helped how exactly?  If you are suggesting he is an expat and fingure printing would have prevented his getting a work permit, I note that the judge refers to prior convictions stretching back to 1998 and his attending ICCI.  Not saying he is definitely a caymanian, but unless you know for a fact he is not…  

      • Anonymous says:

        He is not from here but has been here a long time.

        • Anonymously says:

          He has been here longer than Matrix company who conned the government out of a lot more and the manager from the Chamber of Commerce and the compliance officer from that law firm. From what I understand he was raised in Cayman and has status so maybe he learn from all those expats that he was friends with from way up north.

          • Anonymous says:




            Sorry, but don't blame the expats from the North, these are the ones he conned. His stealing is genetic. Two wrong dont make a right…. that is his problem today. someone very  close to his bloodline, kept bailing him out… and he kept running to her for encourangment.

            Reminds me of the story where the man bit off his mother's ear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course he will be out quicker that you can spit. This is where the system fails the people.

      The judge should have made  an order that he gets a job, or spend a further 4 years. He will be out doing the same thing again, ripping people off…thats what he is very good at.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know what happened to the money?

    • Anonymous says:

      What happened to the money? Have you checked the price of booze lately? Did you not read the entire article? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like he drank it to feel better about stealing it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Well done you Honor!!! This country does have justice after all. I hope it will continue!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Rubbish…..out in a couple of years. 100k better off. And that’s with it all going wrong and getting caught. Needs to SERVE 4 plus years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems like you had some free drinks too.  How sad, where is the justice?