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the Crown indicated that local police were satisfied that the currencies were not proceeds of crime and it was in fact withdrawn from Reid’s Indonesian Bank account before he travelled.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.
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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