Tonight one young accounting clerk is in jail, and other up and coming young office workers could be headed his way after police cracked a major embezzlement ring.
Late this afternoon, Justin "Ducky" Lacroix was arraigned in Belize City magistrate's court on 58 counts of forgery related charges. Lacroix is a staffer at a local accountant's firm. And while he was coming up as an auditor, tonight, he's in jail. That's because he was arraigned late in the evening, when the court cashier had already closed up for the day. So even though he was offered fifteen thousand dollars bail, it couldn't be arranged so he was sent to jail.
We are told that at least two others, also up and coming young professionals are in police custody and face a multitude of forgery related charges.
So what was their target? Only Belize's biggest hotel, the Radisson Fort George. Reports are that a former junior payables clerk inside the Radisson was the ring-leader and that he involved a circle of friends by getting them to go cash cheques for him. And It was plenty of cheques! Over 13 months between August of 2012 and September of 2013, the ring allegedly embezzled 180 thousand dollars!
And while LaCroix and other low level functionaries are facing the charges and the loss of their jobs, we are told that the ringleader who is one of their peers has left for the United States.
And so how did such a young man mastermind the misappropriation of so much money from a place like the Radisson? Well, apparently he used his smarts and his sixth form education to get around the system at Radisson by putting invoices into the system - invoices that mimic those of known suppliers. After that, cheques would be written, and his friends, the same ones who are now facing charges, would go cash them for a fee - reportedly also taking those cheques to a friend inside the bank.
We'll keep following the story as more charges against other persons, are expected to follow.