Edward Jesismar Carmano Ortiz and Mady Miguelina Marte Rodriguez took out a mortgage on their family home in the Dominican Republic to fund what they believed to be genuine BVI visas and Labour clearance documents.
But not only were the visas fake, but the intended places of employment listed on their BVI Labour clearance forms did not exist in the BVI, prosecutors told the court.
Rodriquez expected to work at ‘Nigel’s Boom Boom Beach Bar & Grill’ while Ortiz’s form described a bogus cleaning company.
This was revealed during their court appearance on Tuesday before Magistrate Shawn Innocent.
The duo was charged with possession of forged documents and illegal entry, however, those matters were dismissed for want of prosecution.
A fresh charge of possession of a forged visa was laid on them on Tuesday. They pleaded guilty.
What the court heard happened
The court heard that on October 24 the duo was arrested after they produced fake Labour clearance documentation and counterfeit BVI visas to Immigration officials at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island.
However, when interviewed by police, the two claimed that they each took out mortgages to pay the $5,000 fee required to get their BVI documentation.
Rodriguez said she was contacted by a ‘lady’ via Facebook, who promised her a job in a hotel in the territory.
She said she paid $4,000 to a ‘man’ on behalf of the ‘lady’ before they began processing her documents.
Rodriquez said she paid the remaining $1,000 to the same ‘man’ when he brought her the visa documents a month later.
Ortiz, in the meantime, said he was approached by a ‘man’ from his home country who is a friend of a relative (who lives in the BVI).
The man in question offered to help him get his documentation that would enable him to legally live and work in the British Virgin Islands.
The offenders’ attorney Leroy Jones told the court that his clients were victims and urged the court to exercise leniency.
The defendants, in addition, apologized to the court for their actions and pointed out that they assisted the police with the names of the persons who duped them with the false documents.
Prosecutors, however, moved to shut down the defence’s submission that the duo were victims, arguing that they should have taken the legal route to obtain their documents.
They said they considered the increased frequency of fake visa matters and the fact that they have not taken full responsibility for their offences.
The prosecution then urged the court to consider sending the message that the court does not take it lightly when persons enter the territory via illegal means.
The matter was adjourned to Wednesday for sentencing.
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