(CMR) Antonio Paolini (80), convicted of theft in August 2017 is still in business and has been able to obtain another real estate license from the Department of Commerce & Investment (DCI) just months after he was given a two-year suspended sentence.
ANTONIO PAOLINI T/A CARE REAL ESTATE received his current license in early November 2018.
Paolini received a suspended sentence after the judge found him guilty of stealing over $65,000 from several real estate clients at Cayman Real Estate Company (CARE). He was convicted by a jury for the first theft which took place in 2013 and convicted by a judge for another 2014 offense. Justice Philip St. John-Stevens accepted that he had co-mingled the funds and used the money to keep his failing real estate business afloat. He also took into consideration his age when handing down the suspended sentence.
He was last in court in January 2019 for a compensation hearing but no further updates are available on that.
However, this has not prevented DCI from issuing Paolini another business license in November 2018. He continues to operate under the same company name. DCI now requires all realtors to be registered as a Designated Non-Financial Business and Profession (DNFBP) to meet the regulatory requirements under Part XIIA of the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2017.
Paolini reached out to Cayman Marl Road wishing to clarify a few points. He stressed that his business failures have caused him to be a dire situation currently and as a pensioner, he is merely surviving on $850.00 per month. He has sold everything that he had including eight apartments and his vehicle in order to pay back some of what he owed. He also confirmed that he would like to make good on the $80,000 that he owes to his clients but the court has already dispensed with that and he had no compensatory order against him. He stressed that the money taken from his clients was to run his business and pay his staff and not to live a lavish lifestyle:
“I am a simple agent trying to pay the people I have harmed when my company failed. If you read the trial transcripts you will find that I did not take one cent for my own use. I was just trying to save the jobs of 11 Caymanian families working for me. I appreciate you listening to my side of the story. My goal is to fix the mess I made (not on purpose) before I die but has not been easy.”
His current trade and business license he has had for four years now.