Former senator and Minister of State for Immigration Elma Campbell and her son, Che Chase, yesterday denied defrauding the Ministry of Tourism of $1.2 million.
Prosecutors allege that Chase illegally obtained the money on September 6, 2019 by cashing a forged Ministry of Tourism check made payable to Campbell Chase Law.
Campbell, 64, also a former ambassador to China, and Chase, 37, an attorney, of Fox Hill Road, together face 18 counts of money laundering.
Prosecutors allege that Campbell and Chase laundered a significant portion of that money by transferring $465,550 from their joint account to Bahamas Outdoor Media, a company owned by co-defendant Damalus Curry, on October 16, 2019.
Curry, 38, of Tall Pines, also faced a charge of money laundering in respect of that transfer.
Prosecutors also allege that they transferred $44,550 to the account of Chase’s girlfriend, Leah Davis, in September 2019.
Davis also faced two counts of money laundering regarding that transfer.
However, Davis was released from police custody a short time later after Kendra Kelly, a prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, withdrew the charges.
The mother and son duo allegedly laundered the money through transfers between their accounts and to the accounts of others and the purchase of bank drafts.
On September 10, they allegedly bought three drafts: $27,000 paid to Adrianna Fox; $4,500 to Pinder, Reckley and Co.; and $15,000 to the Public Treasury.
The defendants denied the charges at their arraignment before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt.
Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hilton released Campbell and Chase on $20,000 and $30,000 bail respectively.
Curry returns to court today for a bail hearing before Ferguson-Pratt.
The three defendants return to court on March 30 for a status hearing when they will learn which magistrate will hear their case.
The defendants were arraigned in a courtroom packed with relatives and friends. Among them were Robert “Sandy” Sands, “Fast” Eddie Dames and Sandra Knowles.
Elliot Lockhart, QC, and Dion Smith appeared for Campbell.
Wayne Munroe and Bjorn Ferguson appeared for Curry.
Roberto Reckley and Owen Wells appeared for Chase and Curry.
Corporal Samantha Miah prosecuted.