Former lawyer admits stealing $1.9 million
A judge yesterday set bail at $250,000 with three sureties for a disgraced lawyer who has admitted to stealing $1.9 million from his clients.
Ralph Jan Ward of Paradise Island, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to three more stealing by reason of service and fraudulent breach of trust cases, when he appeared before Supreme Court Justice Vera Watkins.
Ward, who was disbarred in 2009, has now acknowledged culpability in seven cases involving the theft of $1.9 million. Ward has another matter pending in which he is accused of stealing $61,750 on September 6, 2010, more than a year after his disbarment.
Ward admitted to stealing £500,000, or US$986,446.39, from Robert James Lloyd between January 26, 2006 and August 21, 2007. Prosecutor Vanda Mackey-Williams told the court that Lloyd wired the money to Ward for the purchase of property at Ocean Club Estates. Lloyd later discovered that Ward did not purchase the lot and used the funds for his personal use, Mackey-Williams told the court.
Ward also pleaded guilty to stealing £350,000 – roughly US$690,594.66 from Pochins Plc – a British construction and development group between March 28, 2006 ad August 21, 2007.
According to Mackey-Williams, company director Anthony Pochins wired the money to Ward’s client account for the construction of low-cost homes. After Pochins saw no progress in his investment, he asked Ward to return his money.
Ward also admitted to stealing $55,100 sent to him by FirstCaribbean International Bank on behalf of Deanne Laing and Michael Roache, who had planned to purchase property from Wayne and Joan Wilson.
The court heard that the check sent to the Wilsons’ lawyer bounced and to this date they have not been paid for the property.
Ward has promised that he will compensate his victims by October 17 when he is scheduled to appear before the court for a status hearing.
A sentencing date will be set at that time.