Money Laundering Case Collapses In Court
Since 2008, we have presented dozens of stories on the Coye Family, their Moneygram franchise and the money laundering charges against them.
But tonight's story may be one of the last for a while, as the case ended rather anti-climactically today.
Justice Adolph Lucas instructed the nine member jury that there was no case for the Coye Family to answer: That includes 62 year old Michael and 56 year old Marlene Coye, 34 year old Melonie Coye, her husband James Gerou, and brother 32 year old Jude Coye along with two employees Athlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston.
The case started with a bang in December of 2008 when Police found over 1.5 million dollars in suitcases at the Coy's family home on Johnson street.
Well today Judge Lucas said that the Crown didn't prove that the crime of fraud and forgery was committed with the 1.5 million dollars because the prosecution didn't submit the evidence to back this up. The attorneys for the Coye Family told us that it was a just and fair trial.
Arthur Saldivar, Attorney
"Well I believe that was the right decision. Certainly the crown has the burden and had the burden to establish the elements of the offense that they wanted the Coye family to answer to and from day one we were saying that those elements could not be established because really and truly the Coye family as it relates to what was found in their home did nothing wrong. What this case turns on really and truly was the inability of the crown to establish that the monies were actually the proceeds of any crime and especially a specific crime that they were alleging, fraud and forgery. You must appreciate the fact that it is the crown's contention that they had thousands upon thousands of documents but they only brought 19 to court and instead of quantifying what those documents would have amounted to in terms of their cash values to see whether or not they could have been some kind of co-relation between what those added up to and what was found, they never did that. That would have been one step and I don't want to help them but at this point it's not a matter of helping them because the matter is now behind us, it's been determined in that way. Of course they would want to have another day."
Dickie Bradley, Attorney
"They knew that they would be exonerated, they knew that; that the evidence did not disclose that they were conducting any criminal action to lead to the 1.5 million dollars. There is no link between that money and what was happening at Money Gram. There is no link between that money. So you can't, as the judge said in court, you can't come to court on a charge of murder and the murdered person is out there walking around. A key ingredient is missing from the crime and it is based on that that in accordance with the law laid down in the Queen versus Galbraith we both submitted reasons why the trial should not even go to the jury on behalf of the defense."
Arthur Saldivar, Attorney
"To be honest with you the documents is not even certain where those documents came from. There were 3 possible sources, 2 of which were outside the Coye family so it would have been a very uncertain outcome and unsafe outcome if an inference were made solely on the basis on those documents. So really and truly that belies the fact that the prosecution's case was somewhat sloppy and not properly conducted but again I wouldn't be one to venture that path too far because in this profession we all try to attain a standard of excellence and I will never say that that was done deliberately on their path, they did their best I think."
Dickie Bradley, Attorney
"Well I think on their behalf they have said in court God be praised that this long ordeal is over, they are hoping that the crown will not take it too hard that they will want to file an appeal but that from January of 2009 until October 2010 their lives have been shattered. I perhaps need to also say that Melanie gave birth just before the trial started and it must have been the most stressful of conditions: totally broke, all their banks accounts were frozen from last year 2009. They had to be borrowing, the landlord has sent them notice of eviction all the creditors are pouring down on them, so from that perspective in fact they want to quietly go to church and give thanks and praises that it is over. If the crown appeals then the ordeal continues and they would have to wait a long while but we can say with the help of God that in the end they will still be victorious."
And while Bradley and Saldivar were victorious, the prosecution says it will live to fight another day. Head of the The FIU's Legal Team Senior Counsel Antoinette Moore said that while they are disappointed with the outcome there are plans to appeal for which she believes there are ample grounds for:
Antoinette Moore, FIU's Legal Team Senior Counsel
"That's exactly the basis of Justice Lucas' ruling. He made it crystal clear in fact said it several times that there is no question that there was something wrong and illegal going on at that company and with the Coye's. He indicated that there was forgery, that's was at least prima facie evidence of forgery based on all the witnesses that came forward and based on the documents that had been seized from the Money Exchange International office. He made that crystal clear, but in his ruling he said that he was not satisfied with the link between that illegal conduct and the money found at the Coye home on Johnson Street. Well obviously the prosecution is disappointed. However we feel that we have extremely good grounds for an appeal, so despite being disappointed we are not completely unhappy, we understand his ruling and we understand how he reached that conclusion, but we do believe that there are very good grounds for an appeal and we look forward for the Court Of Appeals listening to this matter, it being fully ventilated and having a ruling from a higher court. We don't see it as a failure, we believe that as I said earlier there are grounds for appeal on that decision - on that ruling and I won't go into the specific grounds at this point, but we think that there potentially was error."
Moore, along with Tricia Pitts Anderson and Mikhail Arguelles represented the Crown.