(CMR) Cassandra Jasmine Ebanks (34) was sentenced to a total of 14 months with 7 to be served immediately and the remainder on suspension for two years after the court heard that she stole over $100,000 from her employer to fund an extravagant lifestyle which included purchasing ganja in the United States for her boyfriend.
Ebanks was sentenced in October 2021 when it was revealed that she worked at Cayman Dental Services Ltd. Ebanks where the theft occurred. She faced four charges including theft, forgery and uttering a false document.
No compensation order was issued after it was determined that it would take her 16 years to pay the funds back. Justice Cheryll Richards found that the likelihood of repayment was very slim. However, she noted that she hoped her consciousness would lead her to do the right thing if she found herself financially able to do so.
Ebanks pleaded guilty to count one of stealing CI$101,403.00 and Count two of stealing a further US$1,190.00 between March 1, 2018 and November 30, 2018. Count three which was forgery for writing out some thirty-five (35) checks to herself and count four for uttering a false document to Scotiabank were left on file.
Her employers noticed that the Cayman National Bank account had some $150,000 less than was expected in it around November 13, 2018. They began to make some inquiries and soon discovered that Ebanks had written a number of checks out to herself without any authorization or anyone's knowledge.
One of the business partners for the dental business resides overseas and would leave signed checks with the office manager in order to cover expenses in their absence. The checks were left in an unlocked office that Ebanks had access to. The owners then realized that outside of her bi-weekly salary payments were being made frequently on checks payable to Cassandra Ebanks that were then cashed at the CNB Camana Bay location or paid directly into her Scotiabank account.
They were also not in the handwriting of the office manager.
Upon Ebanks arrest and en route to the RCIIPS Detention Centre she claimed that she had taken the money because she was in need of funds to pay her rent, utilities and other debts. The mother of three explained that as a former NAU client she was still struggling to pay her bills at CI$16 per hour. She had worked with the company since November 2017.
Initially, she only admitted to stealing about $3,000 that she claimed was owed to her because she was being underpaid for what she did and had therefore written one of two checks to herself since August 2018.
However, a forensic analysis of her phone demonstrated that Ebanks was living a lavish lifestyle that included funding trips to the United States for her and her boyfriend, purchasing jewelry and numerous items from Amazon. Her phone contained photos of the jewelry and other items.
In October 2018 she secured a car loan from Scotiabank for a Chevrolet Trax vehicle for a $25,495.00 using a fake job letter with incorrect salary information, hence the charge for uttering a false document. Phone records further revealed she was planning on purchasing property with the stolen funds and has sent money to purchase ganja for her boyfriend in the United States.
The pair were traveling back and forth from the states importing goods into the Cayman Islands.
She also made one check out to her sister Kendra Parchment for $1,000 and Fritz McPherson for $2,500. McPherson shared that he was charging her that money to assist with her obtaining a loan and did not think much of it when the payment came directly from her employer. She had told him that they owed her money. Likewise, her sister was owed money and did not question why the check came from Cayman Dental and not her sister.
The investigation revealed that Ebanks was an NAU client and between April 2016 and November 2018 and had been paid some CI$31,416.43 during that time.
The Crown had originally rejected her not guilty plea on counts 3 and 4 because she only admitted to some $30,000. A revised plea of admitted to taking $60,000 was agreed with the remaining counts left on file. Ebanks will be subject to a suspended sentence supervision order which includes:
- Attending a female empower services program
- Registration with WORC department
Time spent in custody was to be deducted. The matter was handled for the Crown by Crown Counsel Garcia Kelly and her defense attorney was Prathna Bodden.