A prominent lawyer and his wife were released on bail after appearing in court yesterday charged with fraud and tax evasion.
The two were not called upon to plead to the two charges when they appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar.
The couple, both dressed in black business suits, huddled together in the prisoner enclosure of the Port-of-Spain Eight Magistrates' Court as Ayers-Caesar read the charges.
They are accused of undervaluing a multi-million dollar property in Westmoorings to reduce the amount of stamp duty owed to the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) from the purchase.
The offence occurred when the accused allegedly presented a fraudulent property valuation document at BIR's South Regional Office at Cipero Street, San Fernando, on September 20, 2012.
The charge, the $6.2 million property at Regents Drive, Westmoorings, was fraudulently valued $2,750,000 which defrauded the Board of Inland Revenue of over $250,000 in stamp duty. The illegal valuation was allegedly prepared in the name of a non-existant company and valuator.
A warrant was issued for the couple when the discrepancy was discovered by Criminal Tax Investigator Adesh Ramdeo and his colleagues at the BIR’s Criminal Tax Investigation Unit, Inland Revenue Division.
In his application for bail, the couple’s lawyer asked that they be released on their own recognisance because police prosecutors admitted they both had clean criminal records. Mrs. Ayers-Caesar disagreed, saying strict bail conditions were necessary due to the nature of the charges.
The accused is an attorney for over 37 years, was granted $750,000 bail while his wife, a retired chemist, received $500,000 bail.