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Police seized computers in BPL fraud probe

Police seized the computer of former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Fixed Asset Manager James Dean during their investigations into a multimillion-dollar fraud against the company, a court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors allege that Dean received $1.9 million from BPL’s bank account and falsified multiple payment records to various businesses in a combined amount of $670,056.19 between January and May 2017.

Dean, attorney Che Chase Campbell, former banker Reno Bethel, Anthony Strachan and Orvano Symonette are all accused of participating in the scheme.

They have denied the allegations against them at their trial before Magistrate Ambrose Armbrister.

Testifying yesterday was Stuart Taylor, BPL’s manager of information technology services.

In response to a question from prosecutor Cassie Bethel, Taylor said employees accessed the company’s integrated computer system with a unique username and password.

According to Taylor, Dean did not have the ability to print checks, but he had access to the general ledger application.

Taylor said clerks, senior managers and directors were all able to create vendors in the system.

Taylor said that he was instructed to conduct multiple queries of BPL’s database from May 11 to June 19, when computer systems were eventually required.

Asked to specify, Taylor said the computers handed over to the police were used by Dean, Dandre Saunders and Devon Miller.

Taylor said that officers required additional information and removed hard drives from other computers.

Wayne Munroe, QC, asked if the system automatically timed out after non-use.

Taylor agreed that it did and said the system logged out after five to 10 minutes.

Munroe asked if it was possible for someone else to use a computer that had been left unattended without logging out.

Taylor said this was possible before the system automatically timed out.

Attorney Roberto Reckley asked Taylor if the hard drives of at least another 10 BPL employees were given to police.

He agreed that this was the case.

Dean’s lawyer, Shaka Serville, asked, “Mr. Dean did not print checks; he did not have the authority to print checks?”

Taylor replied, “No.”

The trial continues Friday afternoon.

Cordell Frazier is also prosecuting.

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Artesia Davis

Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.

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