(CMR) Canover Watson, former board chairman of the Health Services Authority (HSA), was made to relinquish almost $1million in assets as part of a confiscation hearing following his conviction for defrauding the Cayman Islands government.
The details were recently made available via a court transcript of the February 2018 confiscation ruling. Watson was jointly charged with Jeffrey Webb with two counts of conspiracy to defraud, breach of trust, conflict of interest and fraud on the government.
Watson was convicted of being involved in setting up a company along with Webb as beneficial owners. They then used that company to obtain a contract with the HSA for a Carepay system for the government health insurance company CINICO. Their conduct jointly led the parties to receive payment of over US$6.7million.
The Crown noted that they could not trace a substantial portion of the money. Some US$600,000 in cash was untraceable and additional funds were transferred to other entities and individuals; some outside the jurisdiction.
For the purposes of a confiscation hearing, the court has to determine on a balance of probability whether the Crown has shown that Watson received a benefit as a result of his criminal conduct or in connection with that conduct. The court found that:
“The facts of this case are not of a man who unwittingly entered into an enterprise but of a man who may have actually conceived of it himself and then did all in his power to ensure that the unlawful enterprise came about. The timing of the setting up of AISC cannot be coincidental in light of what followed. The fact that he chaired the committee that recommended the award of the contract to AISC and signed the contract with AISC on behalf of the HSA cannot be downplayed as “well he was the Chairman”
The court found that he was “intimately involved with the company” and the trial judge had found that the “evidence against you was overwhelming”. Watson was found to have benefited from his criminal conduct in the amount of US$6,796,096.50. It was a joint benefit with his partner, Webb.
However, they were only able to recover CI$925,995.58 comprises of several properties in Loganville, Georgia, two vehicles, local bank accounts (Bank of Butterfield and CIBC) along with some life investment policies.
Watson was originally sentenced to seven years in prison in February 2016 for his role in the CarePay fraud.
The matter was heard by Honourable Justice Marlene Carter, Acting Judge of the Grand Court. There appeared to be a lengthy delay in releasing the written transcripts.
Watson is currently being charged in several other cases related to CONCACAF and FIFA.