News

Police open probe into claims of car buyers being duped

Corporate area business accused of duping clients

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 08, 2013    

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SEVERAL members of the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force were among other professionals left holding their collective breath for hours yesterday, as police from the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID) launched an investigation to ascertain the legitimacy of a Corporate Area company to which they had paid millions of dollars for motor vehicles and services, which they never got.

By late afternoon, the owner of the company was led from his office in handcuffs and taken into custody by the Cross Roads Police. At press time he was still being questioned.

Operations at the Kingston-based financial institution were brought to a halt earlier in the day as disgruntled customers descended on its office, claiming that they had been shafted.

They said they had been left with nothing but empty promises after paying over large sums of money to the company, which offered several financial aid packages, including motor vehicle loans.

“Hundreds of people have been left stranded by this company. Dem tell the people that they could get dem top-of-the-line motor vehicles on hire purchase, and after two months of waiting, all now we are yet to get the vehicles,” said one angry woman.

Along with clients being concerned about how they would be reimbursed their money for failed car deals, others — who had signed up for the company’s training and job placement services — said they, too, were left with nothing, having paid over $3,000 in registration fees.

“We were told that if we made the payments we would be offered training and then given employment. We are yet to see this happening,” said one recruit, who almost fainted when she heard that the programme was under investigation.

Yesterday, as police prepared to send a team in to interview the owner of the company, several employees also raised concerns about conditions of work and the alleged non-payment of salaries.

“I have been working at the organisation for several months and I am yet to get paid,” said one employee.

She said she, too, had paid $3,000 to secure a spot in the training programme with the hope that she would eventually be employed to the company as a telemarketing representative.

“I paid over my funds and I still can’t hear anything. I want back my money! And every time I come here to get back my funds I am told another story,” said the employee, who threatened to take legal action.

“People from all professions have fallen victim to the promises made by the company, from lawyer down to doctor, even members of the police and military,” she added.

Yesterday, head of OCID, Superintendent Clifford Chambers, said he and his team had started probing the matter.

“Police have launched an investigation into claims made by persons regarding the operations of the company,” Chambers said.

The probe's conclusion, however, depends on whether the owner of the establishment is able to resolve the claims of its customers. Sources told the Jamaica Observer that reimbursement to clients had begun yesterday afternoon.

“Persons have raised concerns about getting back their money and, at this time, payments are being made,” said one policeman investigating the case.

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