The Penniston man accused of defrauding people of more than EC$42,000 has to come up with almost weekly payments amounting to some EC$10,600 by next July or serve 57 months in jail.
But even before his next payment is due Tedroy Mc Cree, 31-year-old chauffeur, will have to prove to the court on Dec. 6 that he has repaid the other complainants, in relation to the deception charges for which he pleaded not guilty.
On Friday at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown, Mc Cree was sentenced on 31 of the 94 deception charges brought against him.
The date of the offences range from February 2016 to July 18, 2016.
If Mc Cree does not repay the funds, he will serve jail terms ranging from one to nine months.
As the jail terms will run consecutively, all told, Mc Cree could spend almost five years in jail.
The charges stem from a scam that Mc Cree, a former cruise industry employee, conducted in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
According to the facts presented by Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche, beginning Aug. 20, 2016, Corporal Biorn Duncan of the Major Crime Unit mounted a series of investigations into reports of obtaining monies by deception.
Several persons made the reports against the defendant, telling police that Mc Cree was posing as a recruiting officer for Royal Caribbean Cruises.
He collected monies from these persons promising them to get jobs as sailors with the cruise line.
The monies, Mc Cree told his victims, were for their registration, medical examinations, obtaining visas, and travel expenses to join the cruise ship.
One some occasions, he would send other persons to collect the monies on his behalf but would always confirm that he received the funds.
Mc Cree told his victims that his name was Kevin and arranged to meet them at different times and locations.
The scam went on for some time before Duncan was able to infiltrate the defendant’s operation and arrest him.
After Mc Cree was arrested, several people, on hearing of the arrest, came forward to Duncan and made reports.
As a result of this investigation, Mc Cree would be charged with 94 counts of deceitfully obtaining some EC$42,057, US$430 and CAD$300.
In mitigation, Mc Cree told the court that he knows he had made a mistake.
He said there is nothing he can do but work and repay his victims, adding that sending him to prison would not benefit the complainants.
He said that he had a job and if given time, he would try his best to repay.
In sentencing the man, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne noted that he did not plead guilty at the first opportunity but eventually accepted responsibility for his actions.
She said that she also considered the expressions of many of the virtual complainants.
“This was their hard-earned money and they were trying to get an opportunity to better themselves and their families and out of the desire to do that, they trusted someone with their hard-earned money and it was all in vain.”
The chief magistrate said that the victims have expressed their desire to get their money back.
She said the aggravating factor in the scam is the way that Mc Cree went about “this high scheme of deception
“You used your knowledge of the industry, you were once a part of that, to manipulate and to con these people out of their money. That is really terrible,” she said.
She, however, noted that Mc Cree spent quite a significant time in custody on remand with regard to the matters.
“I will also consider that,” she said, adding that her sentences would be predominantly because of the expressed wishes of the complainants.
“As the prosecutor said, persons died. The stress of this whole exercise caused persons to die; and lose their jobs. Because one resigned employment on the basis of you having told him that they are going out to a ship now. And there was no ship.
“The stress that caused, and the subsequent health issues that were developed. It’s really terrible
“You have expressed significant remorse for your actions but you know, it’s really sad that when you were living luxuriously off this money you didn’t pay a second thought, you know, perhaps this is going on too long.
In April, Mc Cree pleaded guilty to eight charges committed between Jan. 1, 2016 and July 11, 2016, during which time he netted EC$4,515 from two persons.
He was ordered to repay the money or spend 13 months in jail.