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Accused fake lawyer busted Arrested after reportedly collecting more than $5 million for real estate transactions

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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A woman who allegedly pretended that she was a lawyer and defrauded two people out of more than $5 million after collecting their money in a real estate transaction is expected to face more charges following reports that five more people have come forward with similar complaints.

This was disclosed yesterday by the investigating officer in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court when the accused, Collette Williams Grant, 34, of Hellshire, St Catherine, who was employed at a law office in Kingston, reappeared in court.

In the meanwhile, Williams, who is facing two counts of fraudulent conversion, had her bail extended for her to return to court on February 19, 2019.

When the matter was mentioned, Attorney Davorna Williams maintained that her client was innocent and that she never entered into any contractual arrangement with the two complainants or collect any money from them despite their insistence that they gave her money and had proof.

Consequently, Judge Maxine Ellis instructed the prosecutor to make full disclosure to the defence before the next mention date.

In the first case, it is alleged that in November 2017, the complainant, who was desirous of purchasing a house, was recommended to the accused by a development company.

The complainant reportedly met with Williams Grant at her business place on Old Hope Road in St Andrew, where they talked, which resulted in the complainant making a payment of $2,110,000. This was reportedly done via three manager's cheques, which were made payable to the development company as a down payment towards the purchase of a house in Portmore, St Catherine.

In March 2018, the complainant was reportedly told by the accused that the occupants of the house had filed documents in court objecting to its sale, as a result the complainant signed documents to cancel the transaction.

In June, the accused reportedly informed the complainant that she would be refunding the deposit. However, since July she reportedly became elusive and numerous efforts by the complainant to locate the accused proved futile, so the matter was reported to the police and she was subsequently arrested and charged.

In the other case, allegations are that between March and July of this year, the complainant made payments totalling $4,600,000 to the account of the development company, on behalf of her father who lives overseas.

The money was reportedly part-payment for a property in Seville Meadows, Phase One, Spanish Town, St Catherine, which was being sold for $10 million.

The complainant's father had also applied to the National Housing Trust (NHT) for a loan and in September the complainant allegedly received a package from NHT, which included documents indicating that the sum of $4,600,000 had been paid over to the vendor's attorney by Williams Grant.

But checks made by the complainant reportedly revealed that only $1,030,000 had paid over to the vendor's lawyer.

The accused was contacted and reportedly promised, on several occasions, to pay the money in full to the lawyer but failed to do so, and reportedly made herself “scarce”. The complainant subsequently reported the matter and the accused was charged.

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