Accountant denies $68,419 insurance swindle – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Accountant denies $68,419 insurance swindle

A Sri Lankan accountant has been charged with swindling a Bermuda insurance company out of almost $70,000 by lying that she had surgery in her home country.

Prosecutors allege that accountant Chandima Gangula Arachchige, 37, was really in Bermuda on the three occasions she pretended to have operations in Sri Lanka over the course of January to October 2010.

She was charged with three counts of dishonestly obtaining money from BF&M in relation to three insurance claims totalling $68,419 when she appeared in Magistrates’ Court yesterday. She faces a further charge of attempting to obtain $13,897 relating to a fourth insurance claim for medical expenses.

Ms Gangula Arachchige, who was working as an accountant at HWP at the time of the alleged offences and lives on Woodlands Road, Pembroke, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

According to prosecutor Cindy Clarke, the accused woman sold all her possessions, drained her bank accounts and tried to flee the Island when she became aware she had been caught. She was arrested at the airport on Saturday evening.

“It had been brought to her attention by way of a civil claim against her by BF&M. Two days later, she was found at the airport,” said Ms Clarke.

The prosecutor asked Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner to remand Ms Gangula Arachchige into custody, explaining she may not appear for her trial otherwise.

However, duty defence lawyer Saul Dismont said Ms Gangula Arachchige was travelling to Sri Lanka because her uncle there was sick, and she had her passport confiscated after her arrest.

He said she remained in Police custody between the time of her arrest and her Magistrates’ Court appearance.

“She has no family here to assist her with arranging bail,” added Mr Dismont.

Mr Warner granted her $2

5,000

bail with one surety, noting that “these are substantial charges”. He said she must surrender her passport and report to Hamilton Police Station three times per week.

Ms Gangula Arachchige must return to court for an administrative hearing next month.

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Published August 24, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 24, 2011 at 7:49 am)

Accountant denies $68,419 insurance swindle

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