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Builder was told to keep invoices below $3,000, fraud trial hears

A construction boss told a court he was arrested and accused of fraud after being hired by Works and Engineering boss Kyril Burrows to build a house.

John White said Mr Burrows told him the three-storey property his firm was erecting at Turkey Hill in St George’s, featuring a swimming pool and a basement car park, would be a Government office.

Mr Burrows arranged for Mr White’s company, J&M Construction, to be paid taxpayers’ dollars to renovate it, the witness told Supreme Court on Friday.

The court has previously heard that home in fact belonged to Mr Burrows and his wife Delcina Bean-Burrows; the prosecution alleges Mr Burrows stole up to $500,000 Government cash to pay for its luxurious upgrade.

Mr White, 36, said he initially approached Works and Engineering looking for masonry work in the summer of 2005 or 2006.

“They told me to check Kyril. He said, yes, he had some work for me,” Mr White told the jury yesterday.

Mr White said a few days later he met Mr Burrows at Turkey Hill and was shown a plan of a house.

“He said it was a home office. He said it’s for Works and Engineering so I just go ahead and work,” said Mr White.

Mr White said of the drawings he was instructed to follow: “It’s a nice house. The design was good.”

The witness said Mr Burrows instructed him to keep all his invoices under $3,000. As an example, he said, instead of submitting a single invoice of $30,000, he was required to submit ten or 15 invoices of $2,800 or $2,900 each.

The prosecution has previously said Mr Burrows was authorised to spend no more than $3,000 on Government projects.

Recalling how police arrested him over the project in 2010, Mr White told the court: “They asked me about some invoices sent to Government.

“They arrested me. They said they would lock me up for fraud. I was told to speak the truth or I will get in trouble.”

Mr White said he was told unless he cooperated he would be charged jointly with Mr Burrows.

Mr Burrows, 48, and Mrs Bean-Burrows, 49, are accused of defrauding Government of more than $553,000 between them.

In addition to the home renovation, Mr Burrows is accused of directing Government funds to his wife’s company Ren Tech under the false premise it would carry out construction work at schools in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence; and that he spent Government cash on televisions later discovered in the couple’s home.

They have pleaded not guilty to 35 charges between January 2005 and July 2008, encompassing allegations of cheating, obtaining money transfers by deception, obtaining property by deception, money laundering and false accounting.

The trial continues.

Giving evidence: Construction boss John White.

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Published March 12, 2012 at 10:00 am (Updated March 12, 2012 at 10:01 am)

Builder was told to keep invoices below $3,000, fraud trial hears

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