(CMR) Two men pleaded guilty to a major fraud at the Cayman Turtle Centre dating back to 2015 when almost CI$500,000 was stolen from the farm through false invoices.
Mark Manderson (41) and his close friend Jeremy Williams (39) admitted to a conspiracy in which Manderson reportedly used Williams’ security company to steal CI$486,791 from the Turtle Centre using fake invoices.
Crown counsel Toyin Salako said the prosecution accepted the pleas of both men, and would offer no further evidence against Shevon McNeil and Ian Gayle, two other businessmen who were also accused of having a similar arrangement with Manderson.
Manderson, who worked at the farm since 2007, reportedly used Williams' company to invoice the CTC for security equipment and issued checks for goods that were not delivered. After cashing these checks, Williams gave most of the money to Manderson.
Auditors KPMG uncovered the financial irregularities in 2017 and referred to matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Manderson was arrested in 2018 and denied the allegations; however, Williams, who was arrested later, admitted to allowing Manderson to use his business accounts to steal the money.
The trial of the four men, which was expected to last for six weeks, has been vacated; however, another hearing is expected before Manderson and Williams are sentenced. They will return to court on Friday.
There have been several investigations of fraud at the Turtle Centre in recent years, with a former accounts officer being charged with stealing over CI$300,000 last year.