BVI News

Australian fined $10K | $107K release back to offender

Warwick James Reid, the Australian who was caught with multiple currencies totalling US$107,005.24 at the TB Lettsome International Airport has been fined a total of $10,000.

Reid was fined for failing to declare monies’ and ‘untrue declaration’. If he fails to pay the said fines, he would spend six months at Her Majesty’s Prison.

Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo also ordered that the $107,005.24 which was seized during the Australian’s arrest be released back into his possession.

“This case has special circumstances given the particulars. This was the black sheep among the other white sheep,” Magistrate DaBreo said during the sentencing on Thursday.

No forfeiture hearing was held after the Crown indicated that local police were satisfied that the currencies were not proceeds of crime and it was in fact withdrawn from Reid’s Indonesian Bank account before he travelled.

Reid’s Attorney Patrick Thompson had previously argued that there were supporting documents to prove the source of the funds as well as emails to show proof of intent to purchase a vessel.

What the court heard happened 

The court heard that Reid was an in-transit passenger travelling from Indonesia to Antigua.

He flew into the territory via the TB Lettsome International Airport from Puerto Rico on August 30, which was around the time the territory was bouncing back from Hurricane Dorian.

Upon his arrival, he reportedly filled out the Customs Declaration Form and allegedly denied having more than US$10,000 or its equivalent in his possession.

The court further heard that he was unable to continue on his travels the same day due to the inclement weather and had to overnight in the territory as a result. 

While attempting to leave the following day, his belongings were rejected as it passed through the territory’s security checkpoint scanner. 

A physical search of his bag was subsequently conducted. During that time, he allegedly informed customs officers that he was carrying a large quantity of cash.

The court heard that after he failed to produce the proper documentation for the cash which was said to be in several bundles, he was taken to a private room and questioned.

Prosecutors alleged that the accused then explained that he did not declare the funds because he was an in-transit passenger when he arrived at the Beef Island-based airport.

He was subsequently arrested and charged.

Multiple currencies

Prosecutors said the money which amounted to US$107,005.24 was in seven different currencies.

He allegedly had €96,700, $237,000 in Indonesian currency, $1,075 in Australian currency, $3270 in Thailand currency, $332 in Malaysian currency, $40 United Arab Emirates currency and $38 in Singapore currency.

During a cautioned interview with police, Reid reportedly said he declared the funds in every stop along his journey including in Texas in the United States. 

He, therefore, said he did not see the need to declare it in the British Virgin Islands because he was in transit.

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13 Comments

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  1. Faithful says:

    That $10,000.00 fine seems a bit steep to me. I am happy to see his money was returned to him.

    Like 37
    Dislike 2
    • Reply says:

      I agree…
      looking at the circumstances, I don’t think he intended to do anything wrong. HIS FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED!!! He had no intention on staying in the BVI.

      Like 22
  2. son of the soil says:

    but the local lost all of his, gone to jail and still have to pay a fine? We need our own local lawyers, judges and magistrates to work on our own cases at all times

    Like 9
    Dislike 20
  3. Joseph eayne says:

    I just don’t get it. You are traveling with cash to purchase an item.
    Why would you risk losing 10,000,
    Couldn’t he have used the banks to transfer the funds? Or I’m missing something here.
    Please educate me someone.

  4. Astounded says:

    A bit harsh for a misunderstanding

  5. Astounded says:

    Surely the airport staff who managed this person when his flight was cancelled should be partly responsible for his predicament. Arrested, jail court cases, solicitors and costs, fines and travel delays. Not a good look or visitors.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  6. Astounded says:

    Surely the airport staff who “helped” him when his flight was cancelled at partly responsible for his predicament. What an ordeal for him, being arrested, interrogated, hailed, court cases, solicitors and fees and slays in travel plans. Great personal and financial cost to him. Not a good look for visitors to the area.

    Like 13
  7. Anonymous says:

    These ppl always with some dumb f—ery

  8. AGREED! says:

    My understanding about the Law and breaches of it has to do with Damage being done to someone or country. Yes, you can have a law stating just about anything. Is it to set an example for others who might plan to enter or pass through the Bvi with $100,000 ?

    In a case like this, no one was hurt or even Embarrassed. I fail to see or understand the rationale about. There are accidents all the time (scooters being banged uo, fender benders to cars etc. Has anyone been charge a fine for accidentlaly hitting and causing damage to another’s vehicle?suppose we are broke and need to make up for a part of the uncreated 1000 jobs in 1000 days

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  9. IMPRESSED NOT says:

    Seems a lot like a money raising exercise. Wonder if he got a discount on the fine for the amount of time spent in prison?

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