(BVI NEWS) – Interdicted police officer and businessman Brian Penn has been convicted and sentenced for multiple counts of defrauding the state-owned Social Security Board (SSB).
Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste DaBreo fined the offender $8,400 for 84 counts of failure to make payments to Social Security. He was fined one hundred dollars per count.
She then slapped the offender with a massive $33,500 fine for 67 counts of evasion of liability by deception. He is to pay $500 on each count.
The Prosecution says Penn failed to make the required payment to the SSB for his employees, over a number of years. This is contrary to Section 10 of the Social Security (Contributions) Regulation which states: “Within 14 days of the end of each month, an employer shall transmit to the Director [of the SSB] … the total amount of contributions due by the employer and his employees during the said month.”
The convicted cop – whose case dates back as far as 2013 – reportedly defrauded the SSB through a company called Vanguard Security where he and his wife Harinder were listed as directors.
Initially, the couple was slapped with more than 200 counts fraud-related charges.
The extent of those charges include obtaining property by deception, false accounting, failing to keep proper records, failing to record contributions, failing to provide the certificate to the employee at the end of the year, failing to file returns by an employer, failing to provide the certificate to an employee on termination of employment, among other charges.
However, over the course of the five-year-old case, his attorney Patrick Thompson successfully argued to have some of those charges dismissed.
Thompson made what is known as a ‘no case submission’. In this submission, the attorney said there was an ‘overlap’ between the ‘evading payments’ charge and the ‘failing to make payment’ charge. Thompson effectively reasoned that his client was charged more than once for the same offence. The magistrate agreed with parts of his submission.
More penalties possible
Penn, in the meantime, is possibly facing even more penalties if the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decides to pursue the charges that can only be heard in the high court.
Those charges include obtaining property by deception and false accounting.
The BVI’s Criminal Code says a person convicted of false accounting is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven years. The law further states that a person found guilty of obtaining property by deception is liable to a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.