Ex NHDT director on trial

| 10/06/2014

(CNS): A former director and the deputy chair of the National Housing and Development Trust Board, who was charged two years ago after he was accused of using his position to sell insurance policies to potential affordable home owners, appeared in the dock Monday to answer nine counts of deception. Trevor Ward QC, the deputy director of public prosecutions, opened the case against Edlin Myles, who the crown says manipulated at least five applicants of the government’s low cost home scheme into buying life insurance policies to get the commission, even though most of them never became owners and did not need the policies.

As he summed up the charges against the former housing trust board director, Ward told the jury that ahead of a meeting to discuss the applicants for the East End homes in January 2011 Myles had asked the board secretary for a list of the applicants' ages and phone numbers.

Myles then contacted at least five of the applicants, introducing himself as the board chair and implying that the applicants were being approved for homes and they needed to see him. He asked them to come to the offices of Derek Bogle, where he worked as an insurance broker, as they would need insurance policies for their new homes. He asked them to bring deposits but he said that the policy premiums would be free for the first year.

According to the crown’s lawyer, most of his victims were unfamiliar with all of the requirements of the NHDT’s application process. As Myles was a board director they believed him when he said they needed the policies and signed on the dotted line, eager to get their homes, even though the applicants had not yet been approved either by the Trust’s board or the banks, which were supplying the government-guaranteed mortgages.

They all later discovered from Myles that there had been a “change of plan” and that they would have to pay their own premiums. However, as the applicants were keen not to undermine their chances of getting one of the homes, they continued with the policies, even though most of them could ill-afford the expense.

The crown said that witnesses had given statements that at the meeting in January 2011 Myles queried why the board was not using him to supply the necessary insurance to potential applicants and directed the Trust to tell applicants they must come to him. However, the Trust did not implement Myles’ order as it did not, as a matter of its policy and regulation regarding applications, require those wanting a home to buy policies until their applications were approved first by the board and then ultimately for a loan by the relevant bank.

It turned out that only one of the applicants whom Myles sold policies to actually went on to acquire a home.This was the person, who was one of the crown’s key witnesses, who became suspicious about the circumstances and made a report, especially when she was approved for a home and the value exceeded that of the policy sold to her by Myles.

Ward told the jury that Myles had deliberately misled vulnerable people by making them believe their application was dependent on them buying a policy from him. The public prosecutor said that Myles earned commission from the policies that the applicants had taken out believing they needed them to secure a home. Some paid several months of their premiums amounting to around $1,000 worth of commission for Myles and one applicant even took out a loan to cover the cost of the premiums.

Ward said that the accused man falsely represented that the applicants needed policies before their approval when they did not and did it in order to earn the commission. The lawyer told the jury that Myles had tricked “poor people into parting with money which they could ill-afford”, as he summarized the crown’s case against him.

Despite the introduction of the anti-corruption law and the circumstances of Myles’ position on a government board, as a director appointed by the UDP administration, he is not facing charges under the anti-corruption law but charges under the penal code of obtaining property and pecuniary advantage by deception.

Myles, who has been in the insurance business for some thirty years in Cayman, has denied the allegations and has pleaded not guilty to all nine counts, claiming that there was nothing dishonest about the sale of any of the policies.

His case is being heard in court five before Justice Alex Henderson and a jury of five women and one man and it is expected to continue for two weeks.

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Category: Crime

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