Three arrested in alleged USD$1million fraud racket at Jamaica's Institute of Sports (INSPORTS); more arrests expected, police say

By Sports Desk April 20, 2023

Jamaican investigators said more arrests are to be expected following fraud charges laid against three employees of the country’s Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) involving more than USD$1 million on Wednesday.

The Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) announced that they have arrested and charged three men in connection with a USD$1.45M (JMD$222m) fraud racket committed at the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) between 2011 and 2017.

The three – Andrew Wright, Rudolph Barnes and O’Neil Hope - have been charged with a variety of offences including conspiracy to defraud, acquisition, use and possession of criminal property, engaging in transactions involving criminal property and larceny as a servant.

Wright is the promoter of the internationally popular Chug IT and French Connection parties.

All three, MOCA said, are alleged to have been part of a team of former employees of INSPORTS, who wrote, signed and cashed fraudulent cheques for payees who were neither employees nor contracted workers of the entity.

The suspected fraud and other irregularities were detected by INSPORTS in 2017 during an examination of their financial records. The matter was then reported to MOCA triggering an investigation.

Major Basil Jarrett, MOCA’s Director of Communication, expects that there will be additional arrests in connection with the case.  “These arrests are the first set of arrests as MOCA currently has warrants out for several other individuals,” said Barrett, who in a statement praised MOCA’s partners, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), for the critical role they played in the investigations.

“These types of investigations are complex undertakings requiring thoroughness and collaboration so it took a meticulous approach, led by MOCA’s investigative teams, to examine all the leads and uncover all the evidence required to make these arrests and bring these charges”.

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange said the arrests are an indication of the efforts to regularize operations at INSPORTS since she assumed responsibility for the entity in 2016.

“I have noted the arrests and charges brought by the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency as part of a long-running investigation into serious irregularities that took place several years ago at the Institute of Sports. I await the outcome of the process,” she said.

“On my return to government in 2016, I received a Special Audit of the Institute of Sports by the Auditor General, which showed an organization that was continually breaking the law, badly managed and in need of urgent transformation.

I understand that the arrests and charges are linked to that period when INSPORTS was considered a rogue agency.

Under our watch, the Institute of Sports is a completely transformed agency with improved internal controls, is well-run and delivering its mandate of developing sports at the grassroots.”

 

 

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