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Well again, fraud accused back in court

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin

RAVI Arjoonsingh, the estranged husband of fraud- and money-laundering accused Vicky Boodram, appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates' Court yesterday on 109 charges of fraud.

Arjoonsingh is jointly charged with Boodram and her company, Travel and Ship Ahoy Cruise Ltd, with 109 offences. However, Boodram, who is out on bail, has not yet been detained on the new charges.

It is alleged that $1.5 million was taken from 109 people through fraudulent means, and transferred to Boodram, Arjoonsingh and the business.

Arjoonsingh was called before the court at 1.15 p.m. yesterday. He was allowed to sit outside the holding dock. During the reading of the charges his head was bent.

Arjoonsingh had a piece of cotton taped on the right arm.

The previous day, the Port of Spain court was told he was unwell and had to seek medical attention. As a result, the charges were not read. On that day, Boodram was also said to be ill and had to be hospitalised.

Yesterday, Deputy Chief Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan took an hour and 40 minutes to read, stamp and sign the dozens of charges before him.

It is alleged that at La Romaine, with intent to defraud, Arjoonsingh "caused or procured to be delivered, paid or transferred to the said Vicky Boodram, Ravi Arjoonsingh and Boodram's Travel and Ship Ahoy Cruise Ltd from (names and amounts stated) under, upon or by virtue of a forged instrument namely one Wells Fargo Bank irrevocable standby letter of credit dated July 22, 2010 knowing same to be forged contrary to Section 10 A of the Forgery Act".

Rambachan pointed out to the prosecutor that two of the charges had to be amended as they had different amounts in words and numbers.

Police prosecutor Ramdath Phillip said it was out of his hands to have the charges amended in time but the charges could be changed at a later time.

When Rambachan reached charge number 50, defence attorney Jagdeo Singh said he was told by Bassarath that the charges were all the same, and the defence was willing to accept the charges as laid.

He said the process was tedious for the magistrate. But Rambachan said he still had to read the charges.

Ramdath made no objection to bail but he asked that conditions be attached.

Singh said his client, a project manager, had lived in La Romaine all his life. He said Arjoonsngh's passport had been surrendered in the past for matters which are yet to begin in the Port of Spain court. Arjoonsingh was jointly charged last year with Boodram for 14 fraud related matters. He was granted $3.5 million for those matters. Rambachan yesterday placed Arjoonsingh on $2 million bail with the condition that, "The accused is not to leave the jurisdiction without first seeing and obtaining the permission of the court if he retrieves possession of his passport which is presently in the possession of Port of Spain Magistrates Court."

Arjoonsingh is to return to the San Fernando Court on December 6.

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