Woman faked insurance certificate
A woman who forged an insurance document to get her car out of a police pound was fined $2,100 in the Supreme Court yesterday.
Ja-Mae Smith, 32, admitted she forged an insurance certificate in July and passed the document off as real to the Transport Control Department and police.
But staff at Colonial Insurance confirmed police suspicions that the document was fake after officers noticed the lack of a signature and the use of the wrong font.
Kenlyn Swan, for the Crown, said officers impounded Smith’s car on July 24 after they found it was unlicensed and uninsured.
Smith’s boyfriend was behind the wheel and she was not in the vehicle at the time the car was stopped.
The court heard Smith went to the Transport Control Department the next day and gave staff a fake insurance certificate to get a one-day pass so she could take the car out of the police pound.
TCD staff accepted the fake document and Smith received the pass.
She later went to the police pound in Pembroke and used the pass, along with the fake insurance certificate, to reclaim the car.
But staff at Colonial Insurance later confirmed the document was a forgery and that the car’s insurance had expired in June.
Smith was arrested and admitted to police that she had created the certificate on her computer and used it to deceive TCD staff and police.
Ms Swan said forgery of an insurance certificate carried a maximum penalty of two years in prison — and the charge could only be heard in the Supreme Court.
But she added that, in the circumstances, a fine of $3,000 would be appropriate.
She added that Smith had no previous convictions and admitted the offence at an early stage, but a deterrent sentence was needed.
Ms Swan said: “She deliberately and calculatingly came up with, and carried out, an underhanded plan, to deceive government employees.”
She added that Smith had also tried to use the forged document to quash her boyfriend’s traffic ticket, but Kamel Worrell, for Smith, said it was a side-effect of her presentation of the document and not her intention.
He told the court his client had made a bad decision in a desperate situation.
Mr Worrell said Smith only found out her boyfriend had taken out her car when he called her after he was pulled over by police.
He added that Smith had planned to sell the car because she could not afford to keep it.
Mr Worrell said: “The car had to be repaired, in order to be sold. She needed to have it sold, in order to raise some much needed funds.
“It was not a situation where my client was trying to avoid legal procedures, in that, at all times she intended to pay, to have the car licensed and insured properly. It was just at that particular time, she didn’t have the money.”
He added that Smith had contacted the insurance company before she forged the document to see if there was any way she could address the situation legally without too high a cost.
Mr Worrell said: “She knew it was wrong, but she had no idea it was so serious. Had she, it would be very likely she wouldn’t have embarked on that course.”
Smith herself apologised for her actions and that she had learnt her lesson.
She said: “It was never the intention to manipulate or deceive any one to this extent.
“I was trying to get my car, to do what I had to do, and keep the ball going.”
Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons said the charge was on the “low end” of the spectrum and, given Smith’s early guilty plea and previous good record, a fine of $2,100 would be appropriate.
• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case
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