Senior Magistrate finds former Post Office worker guilty of theft
From the Courts
March 9, 2012
Senior Magistrate finds former Post Office worker guilty of theft

Redemption Sharpes resident Ricky Wyllie is currently on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison awaiting his fate, after being found guilty of stealing $31,571.01 from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Postal Corporation.{{more}}

On Tuesday, March 6, at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, Senior Magistrate Donald Browne found him guilty of stealing the money between December 31, 2009, and October 13, 2010.

When he appeared in court, Wyllie pleaded not guilty to the charge. However, in a police statement taken earlier, he admitted to stealing money from his former workplace.

According to his statement, Wyllie, who was a cashier at the post office, said: “Around December 2009, Christmas season, I borrowed $5,000 from my cash pan. I can’t remember what I do with it… During this year, 2010, I borrowed some money from the cash pan over a period of time. I can’t remember what I do with it. I remember in April 2010, I went to the Deputy Director, Ms Browne and I told her I use up some the money from my cash pan. This was before I went to Barbados.”

The statement continued: “I didn’t check to see how much money I short by. It amounted to $20,000. They tell me I have to repay it. After that time, I never take any more money. I did not repay the money… Last Wednesday, October 13, 2010, the accountant came and told me I have too much cash on hand, and I need to deposit $20,000. I got scared and tell Denzel to put my cash in the vault and I told him I am going down the road. I left the post office and went home. I didn’t go back to work the next day. On the Thursday, I gave Ivo the key and tell him to return it for me.”

The prosecution, led by Inspector Glenford Gregg, called a total of nine witnesses in the matter, including former Director of Postal Services, Celine Jack.

Jack told the court that on October 14, 2010, she had a discussion with the the Assistant Director Cynthia Hope-Browne and Accounts Clerk Ruth Williams in relation to Wyllie. That discussion led to a forensic audit on the defendant’s till.

That audit led to the discovery of certain irregularities.

Jack said, after Wyllie left work on October 13, he did not return until a few days later. And in the presence of other persons, Wyllie said he was willing to repay the money which he stole.

However, she noted that she had to discuss he matter with the board of directors before a decision could be made.

Wyllie never repaid the money.

On October 15, 2010, the accounts department ran a forensic check on Wyllie’s account and discovered that monies totalling $31,571.01 were missing.

Denzil Sam, a cashier at the Post Office, testified that he was at work on October 13 when Wyllie told him that he had something to do outside and if he was not back in time, that he should lock his cash pan for him.

Senior loans officer at the General Employees Cooperative Credit Union (GECCU) Ivo Joslyn told the court that Wyllie came to his home October 15, 2010. He said Wyllie gave him a key and told him to carry it to the Postal Services for him because he was not feeling well.

In his summation, Inspector Gregg told the court that when Wyllie realised the dragnet was on him, he told his colleague that he was going down the road and told him to lock his cash pan for him.

“He took home the keys and gave it to Mr Joslyn to bring to his workplace. You are looking at intention here, your worship,” Gregg stated.

“He borrowed the money, but who did he borrow it from? If he is found guilty, he should be given a custodial sentence for taking the government’s money; It is a most dishonest act.

Wyllie did not take the stand to testify.

His attorney Grant Connell told the court that his client told the police how much money he took over a period of time and noted that it varied to what was on the charge sheet.

“This case shows that at the post office, there is a system in place that leaves much to be desired. The prosecution failed to highlight who removed the money, save and except the admission of the defendant of the amount over the period he took…,” Connell said.

He noted that the accountant who told his client that his till was over $20,000, did not even check the money.

“The access to that till must be questioned. This case has some element of doubt which the prosecution failed to convince this honourable court. The evidence suggests that there was arrangement in place for payment of the amount that he admitted in the statement, he removed,” Connell added.

Magistrate Browne was of the view that Wyllie’s statement was more than enough. “His statement under caution is what nailed him. It is surprising that Wyllie, having gone to the Executive Director and confessed that he stole the money and promised to pay it back, but Wyllie didn’t take notice after the board agreed that he would pay back the money,” Browne said.

Browne said whether the Corporation’s laxity encouraged Wyllie to steal the money, is a matter for the Corporation, but that didn’t give Wyllie the right to steal the money.

“Even if he had intentions of repaying the money, the taking of the money is dishonest. When they catch up on him, that is when he decided to pay it back. They decided to give him a chance to pay it back and he didn’t; he just decided to continue to dip his hand in his till…,” Browne further stated.

Wyllie’s attorney pleaded with the court that if it was minded to impose a custodial sentence, it should be suspended.

Magistrate Browne said he needed time to think and read over the case before sentence is passed. The accused will return for sentencing on March 16.