Black Immigrant Daily News
The board and management of scandal-hit brokerage firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) are denying a claim that they sought to dispose of assets amid an investigation into a multimillion-dollar fraud of accounts, including one held by eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
In a statement dated January 30, 2023, the board and management of the company said they intended to facilitate law enforcement and other professional investigators conducting the probe without making public comment.
The statement outlined a timeline of events, including a claim that its ex-employee visited Bolt’s office seeking help from the sprint legend.
What’s more, according to the statement, no current board members or managers were aware that Bolt had an account because, the account was not held in his name; and the account did not from 2018, have balances which would have flagged it as a high-value account.
SSL said it has become necessary to set the record straight in respect of some “damaging and widely repeated inaccuracies”, which suggest that directors and management sought to dispose of assets to frustrate efforts by authorities to take control of same.
“This is simply untrue,” SSL directors said in a statement obtained from an attorney who was asked to disseminate it to the media.
The statement follows last week’s disclosure by the Ministry of Finance and Public Service that SSL attempted to undertake a members’ voluntary winding up of the company. And that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) sought a court order blocking the SSL from doing so.
However, SSL’s directors have now sought to share “facts regarding that false allegation as well as some other canards”.
According to the statement, SSL’s board and management appointed Caydion Campbell of Phoenix Restructuring, Advisory and Insolvency Services Enterprise (PRAISE) as Trustee under the Companies Act of Jamaica effective, Monday, January 16, 2023. SSL’s directors and shareholders met that day to confirm the appointment, in keeping with the work plan submitted to the FSC by management.
According to the directors, the intention was that their powers and authority be vested in the Trustee and that the affairs of SSL would be under his control, the statement said.
Further, the trustee and his team would conduct an Independent Business Review (“IBR”) and other investigations into SSL’s operations to determine, among other things, its financial state of affairs as of the date January 16, 2023.
“The purpose of the appointment was not, we repeat, not to wind up the company,” the statement from the SSL directors said.
Among Campbell’s key objectives was to ensure that all necessary conservatory measures were in place over the assets of SSL and ensure compliance with the enhanced governance protocols as directed by the FSC, the statement said.
“It was intended that he would also use the results of the IBR to explore the restructuring and reorganization options that were available to preserve and enhance the value of the business, operations, and undertakings of SSL for the benefit of all its stakeholders,” it added.
Once agreed with the FSC, a resolution plan would have been developed and implemented, the statement said.
Below is a timeline of the events according to the statement shared by SSL’s board and management.
SSL commences disciplinary proceedings against an employee after it was discovered that she had produced a false statement to a client.
After investigations and meetings with the client and his attorney, it was confirmed that there was no fraudulent activity by the employee (ie. no evidence of cash being stolen) in relation to that client, although the employee’s actions may well have been preparatory to committing fraud in respect of the client, according to the directors’ statement.
The disciplinary panel ultimately recommended that the employee be dismissed for her negligence and gross incompetence.
December 20, 2022
According to SSL, a client presents a statement that he says was generated by the former employee, and when compared with the portfolio statement, was found to be inaccurate. An investigation is immediately convened into the ex-employee’s activities.
January 6 and 7, 2023
SSL obtains a statement from the former employee, provided in the presence of her attorney, and sworn before a Justice of the Peace. Her confession revealed that 39 clients had been defrauded (not including WellJen Limited), and investigations commenced to determine the precise sum that had been stolen.
Editor’s note: WellJen Limited, the limited liability company through which sprint legend Usain Bolt holds an account at SSL.
January 9, 2023
The matter was reported to the Board of Directors on the first business day after the confession.
January 10, 2023
SSL notifies the FSC of the discovery of apparent fraud and the immediate steps taken to investigate allegations of alleged fraud committed by the former employee serving in the role of Client Relationship Manager.
January 11, 2023
A representative of Usain St Leo Bolt visited the offices of SSL and indicated that the said the [former] employee had turned up at their offices to [allegedly] confess that she had falsified statements provided to them, had stolen money from them and other SSL clients, and was requesting help from Bolt’s management team to repay the clients whose funds she had stolen.
January 11, 2023
SSL was notified of the confession she made directly to Bolt’s team at his office. No current board members or managers.
January 12, 2023
SSL informs the FSC about appointing a trustee, and that discussions were on going.
January 13, 2023
FSC informs of enhanced oversight of one of its licensees Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) amidst reports of allegations of fraud at the investment firm.
January 16, 2023
FSC appoints a special auditor for SSL to assist with its enhanced supervision of the entity and the continuing investigations into its operations.
January 16, 2023
SSL appoints Caydion Campbell of Phoenix Restructuring, Advisory and Insolvency Services Enterprise (PRAISE) as Trustee under the Companies Act of Jamaica. According to the statement, SSL’s directors and shareholders met to confirm the appointment, in keeping with the work plan submitted to the FSC by management.