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#364532 - 01/19/10 06:59 AM American Fugitive Busted with Stash of Cash
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American Fugitive Busted with Stash of Cash

Thirty three year old US national William Russell Jewett is wanted in the United States for the crime of felony, weapon possession and fraud. But he was caught on Belize on Friday – and he was found with hundreds of thousands in US dollars. We are not sure just how long he’s been wanted in the United States, but reliable information tells 7News is that a few days ago he came into Belize on this luxury sailboat named Latitude Adjustment and anchored the vessel at Cucumber Beach Marina at Old Belize on the Western Highway.

A police report states that just before 11 on Friday morning, one of their teams visited the location in search of William Russell Jewett Jr. The police officers boarded the vessel and conducted a search and they found a large quantity of cash in various currencies concealed behind a panel inside a closet in the boat’s master bedroom.

The stash comprised one hundred and twenty thousand US dollars, four thousand two hundred and eight euros, five thousand and twenty dollars in pesos, two hundred and twenty five quetzals and twenty three dollars and thirty seven cents in Belize currency.

Today thirty three year old William Russell Jewett Jr. was scheduled to appear in Magistrate’s Court on the charge of money laundering but court reports are that when the accused showed up in court room number one, he was remanded back into police custody. Court reports are that something was defective with the body of the charge and therefore William Russell Jewett Jr. will now be arraigned in court on Tuesday morning. He is defended by attorneys Ellis Arnold and Dickie Bradley.

Police report is that following the conclusion of the money laundering case, William Russell Jewett Jr. will be expelled from Belize. More than likely he will leave by air instead of sea and what now becomes of the property of the Latitude Adjustment remains unknown. Unconfirmed reports are that the accused had travelled to Belize with his fiancée but that the couple had gotten in an argument and it is unclear whether she is still in the country.

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=16001
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#364720 - 01/21/10 06:59 AM Re: William Jewett Remanded to Prison [Re: Short]
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William Jewett Remanded to Prison

Today US fugitive William Russell Jewett appeared in Belize City Magistrate’s Court. The thirty three year old American is charged with laundering of US$120,000 and two Custom and Excise Department offences. A request for bail was denied today by Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie. But it wasn’t as simple as that; Jewett’s attorneys Dickie Bradley and Ellis Arnold tried mightily to secure bail.

Attorney Bradley stated that there is no evidence that William Russell Jewett will flee if granted bail, that his assets are far beyond what is required for bail and that stringent terms and conditions can be set when offering bail. Attorney Arnold said that one of the considerations the court needs to look at is the quality of the evidence of the prosecution because the prosecution has failed to show the court that it has strong evidence.

Counsel Mikhael Arguelles who represented the Financial Intelligence Unit strongly objected to bail. He said the facts show that William Russell Jewett entered Belize without a US passport and that the passport he has is not genuine. Counsel Arguelles also submitted a warrant the US has for Jewett’s arrest because Jewett failed to appear on August thirty first, 2009 in the southern district of Alabama in connection with a gun charge.

Chief Magistrate McKenzie upheld the objection to bail because of the warrant for Jewett’s arrest. William Russell Jewett was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February nineteenth.

Belize Police took William Russell Jewett into custody on Friday, January fifteenth after they searched his boat, latitude adjustment. The vessel was docked at the Cucumber Beach Marina at Old Belize on the Western Highway. Police acting on a tip searched the boat and they found the $120,000 hidden behind a panel inside a closet in the boat’s master bedroom.

Apart from the charge of money laundering, William Russell Jewett was charged with failure to declare the importation of his vessel valued at seven hundred and sixty four thousand, four hundred and fifty one dollars and knowingly evading Customs duty by not reporting his vessel.

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=16024
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#364801 - 01/22/10 06:21 AM Re: Chief Magistrate Rejects Guilty Plea [Re: Short]
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Chief Magistrate Rejects William Jewett's Guilty Plea

Today US national thirty three year old William Russell Jewett pled guilty to the charge of money laundering when he appeared in Belize City Magistrate’s Court. Court reports are that the time William Russell Jewett had pled guilty to the charge he had fired both his attorney’s Dickie Bradley and Ellis Arnold. How do we know that? Because he slipped the media a note saying that he had fired both his attorneys! And according to court reports that is one of the reasons why Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie stated that she would not accept the guilty plea.

The Chief Magistrate further explained to the accused that she does not think that he understands the gravity of the charge. She further stated that members of the Financial Intelligence Unit are not the ones who should be talking with him because they are the ones prosecuting him. This comment was based on the fact that the case was adjourned several times for FIU members to advise William Russell Jewett on what course he should take.

Court reports are that Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie then told the accused that she will adjourn the matter until Wednesday, January twenty seventh, to give him time to consult with somebody independent of the FIU. According to court reports William Russell Jewett was hesitating about his guilty plea after he was told by the Chief Magistrate that the minimum fine is fifty thousand dollars and that it can extend up to two hundred thousand dollars.

And what about that note? Our court reporter viewed the note in which he made serious allegations against officials from the US Embassy in Belmopan and FIU officials in Belize. William Russell Jewett alleges that on Wednesday while he was at the Belize Central Prison he was visited by the officials and was allegedly told to fire his attorneys and plead guilty to the charge of money laundering.

Jewett also alleges that he was told if he refuses the FIU was going to charge his wife with money laundering. And that’s the interesting part. Jewett believed that his wife and two year old daughter who had left Belize after he was taken into police custody were in Cancun, Mexico. But now Jewett alleges that a US Embassy official brought his wife and daughter to Belize City and he says that they are now using his family against him.

Jewett is also charged with disembarking a vessel without a consent of an immigration officer, failure to declare the importation of his boat valued at $750,000 dollars and knowingly evading Customs duty by not reporting his vessel as required by Customs laws. He is now being required to pay three times the boat’s value. That amounts to two point two million dollars.

Today his former attorney Dickie Bradley seemed still very much on the job. According to Bradley, Jewett arrived lawfully on his boat along with his wife and young daughter on Christmas Eve. Bradley says that the day after being taken into police custody Jewett was approached by officials from the FIU and that is when he contacted him and Ellis Arnold He also spoke with 7News about the serious allegations made by his former client which Bradley says is why Jewett decided to plead guilty.

Richard Dickie Bradley, Former Attorney

“He arrived in this country on the 31st of the December lawfully at Hunting Caye by boat and was stamped in. He gave his correct name, his correct particulars, and his wife gave the correct name and the correct name of their child. That is not the behaviour of somebody who is trying to evade immigration and anybody that is looking for them. They gave their correct name and they are right there in the open. He could have gone to San Pedro or gone somewhere else but he is right in the open at Old Belize Marina.

He said on Saturday the FIU was pressuring him, you need to plead to guilty otherwise we will charge your wife and take away your child. On Sunday when he sent for myself and Ellis Arnold, we explained to him what is the law in relation to money laundering, what are the consequences and the penalties and so on and that they may bring Customs charges but for sure he would defeat those charges as he would defeat the matter of the money laundering. Coming to Belize with US$100,000 is not money laundering.”


Jacqueline Godwin,

“But he should have declared the amount.”

Richard Dickie Bradley,

“That is not money laundering; you just failed to declare your money. And one spell he even said to me, you know Mr. Bradley, I stopped off in Mexico, here is my stamp, I was in Guatemala, the reason why is I was advised leaving America to be careful and do not declare that you are travelling with that kind of money, you and your family can end up dead, man.

Travelling with US$120,000 is not money laundering. We need to make that clear. There are several cases here that have gone before the court, went all the way to the Court of Appeal. There is nothing illegal to large amounts of money. You’d have to prove that that money comes from some bank robbery or some illegal thing.

On Sunday he told us he will tell his wife to please leave Belize. While she is here they will hold that over him. If she goes, he is able to stand up to the matter because as recent as this morning he is saying they have nothing against me on money laundering, I can fight that case. We operate on instructions, I can’t go and swear for anybody. I operate on instructions. He advised his wife to leave on Sunday. He says they can bring all the charges they want. He came on Monday, he was returned on Wednesday. This is a man who has stood up in the Magistrate’s Court and told the Chief Magistrate I am not guilty of money laundering, I am not guilty of importing my boat into this country.

He informs us today that yesterday he was visited by officials from the FIU and from the United States Embassy and he is really mad with the US Embassy. They are telling him you think your wife got away, we have your wife right here in Belize and you better plead guilty to money laundering or you will spend 11 years in prison and she will spend 11 years in prison and we will take away your child. He was left with his mouth open. Who are we as lawyers to tell him they can tell you anything, they can even charge your wife, and we will get you off. We can say that and he says he doesn’t want his wife to spend a day in this place. So we said what will you do, he said if it involves my wife and my child I will not have them come to prison. What else can he do?

The very next day he is brought here quietly and pleads guilty. It is his prerogative but having plead guilty to money laundering, that is quite a big step for anybody to take because he loses his money under our laws, he loses his boat, and he loses all his assets in whatever country he has them.”


As we mentioned at the top of the report, those are serious allegations made against US officials from the US Embassy in Belmopan and officials from the FIU. 7News did try to get in contact with representatives from the US Embassy’s Regional Security Office and officials from the Financial Intelligence Unit but we were unsuccessful. We were however assured by a representative from the US Embassy that on Friday there should be some response from the US officials to the allegations made against them by William Russel Jewett.

And in the meanwhile, Jewett remains in a kind of legal limbo. Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie did not accept his guilty plea – and we aren’t sure whether his attorneys are coming or going. The matter has been adjourned until Wednesday January twenty seventh and things should be clearer then.

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=16034
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Live and let live

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#364885 - 01/23/10 04:30 PM Re: Chief Magistrate Rejects Guilty Plea [Re: Short]
Danny2 Offline
Very interesting story. So sad to put a small child in the middle of such things.

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