A former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) employee accused of defrauding the electricity company of just under $1.9 million, yesterday denied the allegations against him when he made his initial appearance in a magistrate’s court.
James Dean, 31, a former fixed asset officer at BPL, was charged with 41 counts of fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and 11 counts of falsification of accounts.
His co-accused, attorney Che Chase, 35, of Fox Hill, was charged with seven counts of fraud.
It is alleged that he defrauded BPL of $214,086.25.
He also pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Chase was further charged with conspiracy to commit fraud. He denied involvement in conspiracy.
Dean and Chase, who were represented by Elliot Lockhart and Dion Smith, elected to have their case tried in the magistrate’s court instead of the Supreme Court.
Prosecutors allege that Chase and Dean were concerned with others when they committed fraud.
It is alleged that they obtained the money from Bahamas Power and Light’s Scotia Bank account.
It is further alleged that Dean, in his position as a fixed asset officer of BPL, falsified multiple payment records to various businesses in a combined amount of $670,056.19 between January and May 2017.
Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt remanded Dean and Chase to prison as she lacks the jurisdiction to grant bail.
She advised them of their right to apply for bail before the Supreme Court.
Lockhart said it is a waste of judicial time to go before the Supreme Court for bail for a matter that is being heard in the magistrate’s court. He added that the law is skewed.
The matter was transferred to court eight following a request from the Crown.
Smith confirmed that Dean and Chase were granted bail by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs.
Dean was granted $20,000 bail and Chase $15,000 bail.
Dean and Chase return to court on March 26 for trial.