Police Investigate Scam at the Traffic Department in San Pedro - 04/09/21 10:51 AM
Several former and current employees of the traffic department in San Pedro have been detained by the police as an investigation continues into a traffic sticker scam in the island town. Today, Mayor Wally Nunez spoke with News Five about how some residents were conned out of their money in exchange for fake traffic stickers; even worse is that some persons knew that the stickers were fake, but nevertheless engaged in the crime. News Five confirmed with the mayor that several raids have yielded incriminating evidence and there seems to be insurance fraud too.
Wally Nunez, Mayor, San Pedro Town
“Based on information, San Pedro police did some search and they went ahead and searched these persons who had in their possession some of these stickers. In their computer, they found more evidence and so they had to detain both of them. Based on that information, we had to take the decision to close down the traffic department so that we could have a further investigation and to backup the system on the computers. At the moment we have had two persons that were employees and two persons that are civilians who actually had stickers with them.”
“Now is there anything to suggest that there was collusion with persons still employed at the traffic department?”
“Yes some of the information that has been given to us states that there are some people still involved so that’s why we are doing this investigation and we are not going to let them come to work. We want to do a full investigation. We don’t have an exact figure; we just know that it is not only licenses, but insurance as well. So both the insurance companies and the town council will have to look into this matter very seriously because it is revenue loss and we need to look into it so that we can get to the bottom of it because this is something that seems to have been ongoing for quite a while.”
So as you heard, there were also fake insurance documents being issued. Mayor Nunez says that the investigation continues to determine the extent of the scam as well as the total amount of money that was fraudulently acquired in the obvious breech of process. But what happens to those who unknowingly purchased these fake stickers and insurance? Will they get their money back and be a legitimate sticker re-issued?
The new town council in San Pedro has unearthed what looks like a well organised white collar crime operation.
Reports reaching 7News tonight are that a case of systematic fraud has been discovered at the San Pedro Town Council's Traffic Department. It appears that fake license stickers have been sold to vehicle owners in that town.
The investigation, which we are told is still unearthing evidence, has started revealing the existence of fake stickers. It is believed at this time that these counterfeits were produced somewhere outside of the Traffic Department.
We are told that residents are starting to come forward with complaints that they might have been scammed into procuring these fake stickers.
When we spoke with the Belize Rural South Area Representative, Andre Perez, via telephone today, he stressed that this investigation is still live and he could not reveal details at this time. He did tell us though that persons could be facing criminal charges. We've since been looking closer at the case, and we were informed that this man, Kai Zetina, was recently arraigned at the San Pedro Magistrate Court for 6 counts of possessing false documents. He was able to meet bail of $5,000, and he must report back to court on June 9, 2021. Zetina is a former employee of the island's traffic department.
Our colleagues from the San Pedro Sun Newspaper report that island cops were alerted to these fake stickers during their Easter Weekend policing efforts. While stopping vehicles at different checkpoints, they came upon registration and insurance stickers that appeared suspicious. They quickly initiated an investigation in collaboration with the island's traffic department. That investigation reportedly led to raids on several homes, which turned up incriminating evidence.