A GOSPEL radio station announcer pleaded guilty in the Princes Town Magistrates' Court yesterday to the possession of counterfeit US currency.
Davan Singh, 29, of Gasparillo, said he knew the money was not genuine when he tried to change it to get local currency for his mother to pay for a computerised tomography scan (CT Scan).
Magistrate Rae Roopchan told Singh the crime he had committed was an "overly serious and prevalent matter which carries a penalty of up to 14 years' imprisonment".
Singh was fined $5,000.
Police prosecutor Krishna Bedasie said Singh was held last Saturday afternoon in a sports utility vehicle at Naparima/Mayaro Road, Tableland.
Singh had concealed 15 US$50 bills in the folds of his pants.
Singh's attorney, Richard Valere, said he was employed at a Stonewall Recording Music Studio and as an announcer at 99.5 gospel radio station.
Valere said Singh's mother was ailing with cancer and she was scheduled to have a CT scan this week.
He said: "He (Singh) had purchased the money while liming from someone in Port of Spain and he attempted to change it and was informed that it was not good money. He was swindled. He should have gone to the bank and buy it properly. He used the wrong means to try and get the money to help his mother."
Roopchan said, "He did not go to the bank. As an announcer he could have made a plea to raise funds for those in need. Have a barbecue. He should trust in God and go the right way. He put his mother in further distress."
The magistrate fined Singh $5,000, or the alternative to serve 12 months in prison with hard labour. He was ordered to pay $2,000 forthwith.