From the Courts
October 26, 2017
Female duo jailed for theft, deception

Two former employees of Sun General Insurance (SGI) have been jailed for theft executed with a level of deceit rarely seen before, against their former employer and their employer’s clients.

When Diana Quammie, 37, of Belmont and Shaffique Martin, 32, of Fairbaine Pasture appeared before the Serious Offences Court on October 23, they pleaded guilty to 15 counts of theft, amounting to $86,682.65, from Sun General Insurance between the period of February 2015 and October 2016.

The two had acted alongside a third accomplice in the matter, who was not charged.

When they appeared before the court on Monday, the two had already been in custody for four days, as they had failed to repay any of the money that they had agreed to pay to SGI after their scheme was uncovered.

Quammie and Martin had participated in a wide variety of methods designed to steal money by swapping cash for cheques made to the insurance company, which had been placed in their care as accounts clerk and cashier respectively.

The schemes included faking receipts, cover letters and stamps in order to dupe all involved, including the clients of the insurance company, into thinking regular payments were being made. Therefore, policies (primarily property insurance) of clients of the insurance company were lapsed in the absence of paid premiums, which Quammie, Martin and the third person had pocketed.

These occurrences were not infrequent and usually in the range of $300-600. The plot was only uncovered upon query of a bank into one of their clients’ insurance payments, which launched an investigation into the matter by SGI’s branch supervisor and eventually the Major Crime Unit.

Subsequently, the third person, who was not charged, confessed to her deception and that of her two colleagues.

It was only after Quammie and Martin had been held in jail for four days that Martin was forced by her circumstances to pay $10,000.

When they appeared in court on Monday, the two pleaded not to be sent back to jail, Martin saying through her attorney that she “throws herself at the foot of the court begging for mercy.”

Quammie, who is five and a half months pregnant, attempted to place this in the mind of the Chief Magistrate, Rechanne Browne-Matthias, as well as the fact that she has hypertension and diabetes. Both said they received a sharp shock over the previous four days in the form of prison and did not want to go back there.

The prosecutor, Adolphus Delpleche, responded by emphasizing the position of trust that they had held. “How did that position get lost?” he asked.

He further stated that what stands out is that this trust has been breached and the sophisticated manner in which the crime was carried out.

The Chief Magistrate said that the case was “indeed a very, very troubling case” and the gravity of it is highlighted in the level of deceit and deception.

“People sacrifice to save up for insurance and they do that to find out their efforts have been remiss,” she stated, continuing that this would “send them in a whole different state of mind that cannot be imagined.”

Rechanne-Browne mentioned that as guidance for sentencing, she would use the Morris Prescott case, which saw Prescott receiving 12 months in prison for misappropriating funds in the amount of $85,000.

The Chief Magistrate sentenced both defendants to eight months in prison.

Quammie is to pay $37,447.62 and Martin a balance of $8,124,21 (she having already paid $10,000), by July 8, 2018, or face another 12 months in prison.(KR)