A Jamaican woman who assumed another woman’s identity pleaded guilty on Wednesday at a change-of-plea hearing.
Marlene Stephens initially denied the claims at her arraignment on March 17.
Officials uncovered Stephens’ crimes when she tried to renew a National Insurance Board (NIB) card in the name of Lakera Poitier on March 11, 2020, prosecutor Inspector Lakisia Moss told the court.
However, Lakera Rolle had reported losing a card with the same number in 2018. Also, the photos in the NIB database did not match the one on the card that Stephens presented, Moss said.
Stephens then presented an affidavit averring that Lakera Rolle and Lakera Poitier were the same person.
Police were called and when they arrested Stephens, they found her in possession of a Bahamian passport in her name and Haitian passport for Frantz St. Louis.
Stephens told investigators that Rolle gave her the NIB card along with her birth information.
Consequently, Stephens said she obtained a learner’s permit and used that document to get an NIB card. She then got a voter’s card and applied for and received a Bahamian passport.
Rolle denied Stephens’ claims of her complicity when police held a confrontation.
In a plea in mitigation, defense lawyer Bernard Ferguson asked for leniency. He said the mother of five was “not a bad person” but was seeking a better way of life.
Magistrate Samuel McKinney, in sentencing, said the crimes were very serious and attracted a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
After considering Stephens’ guilty plea and her previously clean record, he imposed a two-year sentence, which takes effect from March 17.