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Pawn shop Cashwiz under the microscope as Circuit case continues

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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POPULAR pawn shop Cashwiz is one of the entities that was used to dispose of stolen property obtained by the Uchence Wilson gang, the Home Circuit Court was told during an ongoing trial last week.

Two of the company's employees were among the 22 alleged gang members who were remanded last Wednesday.

Lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor made the revelation as he outlined the role of each accused in the 40-member gang that has been accused of wreaking havoc in seven parishes over the last two years.

Taylor told the court that Jermaine Stewart was employed to Cashwiz in Cross Roads.

“He disposes of the stolen items through the business knowing that they have been stolen. It is a pawn shop, my lady, cashwiz that is,” Taylor told judge Georgiana Fraser.

Taylor further outlined that Stewart would pawn items which he knew were stolen on behalf of the organisation.

Taylor said based on the evidence that was brought to him by the cooperating witness, Stewart pawned a PlayStation Four, Dell laptop, Samsung Olympus camera, television set, HP laptop, and a ASUS laptop.

In addition to that, the prosecutor said Stewart also dealt with jewellery that was handed to him by the alleged gang leader Uchence Wilson and Shantol Gordon.

Richardo Sergu, who was also employed to Cashwiz, is also accused of disposing stolen items knowing that they have been stolen.

For Sergu, Taylor said that an arrangement was made with him that he would pawn the items when Stewart was not available.

Sergu reportedly pawned two cellular phones and a laptop that were taken to him by Gordon in September 2016 and jewellery in December 2016.

In February and August 2017, Sergu fenced two motor cars that were taken to him by his co-accused, Fitzroy Scott, who is alleged to be second in command of the gang.

In April 2017, Sergu also fenced a stereo and cellular phone that were taken to him by Scott.

Between July 13 and July 31, 2017, Sergu allegedly dealt with cellular phones, televisions, laptop, and a surveillance camera that were handed to him by Gordon, who is the mother of Wilson's child.

Sergu and Stewart are charged with providing benefits to a criminal organisation.

Like Gordon and Scott, Tashina Baker reportedly disposed of stolen items through Cashwiz.

The court was told that Baker, who was in a relationship with Scott up to the time of her arrest, knew him as Civon.

Baker, who is charged with knowingly obtaining a benefit to a criminal organisation, became acquainted with Michael Lamont through Scott, whom she played matchmaker for.

Lamont, otherwise called Judge, is charged with being a part of a criminal organisation, rape, robbery, and illegal possession of firearm.

Baker, who was employed to a call centre in New Kingston at the time of her arrest, said in her statement to the police that Scott, who worked with his brother as a handyman from time to time, would take home flat screen television sets, small box component sets, laptops, and even a 2012 Honda Civic motor car that she pawned at Cashwiz.

Taylor said that, in 2017, Baker and Scott went to Cashwiz to fence a stolen Suzuki Swift motor car.

In May 2017, Lamont reportedly pawned a television set at Cashwiz.

Derron Taylor, who is charged with knowingly obtaining a benefit to a criminal organisation and five counts of illegal possession of firearm, reportedly pawned jewellery at Cashwiz in March 2017.

Machel Goulbourne, who is charged with being a part of a criminal organisation, two counts of illegal possession of firearm, knowingly obtaining a benefit to a criminal organisation, and six counts of facilitating serious offence by a criminal organisation, reportedly pawned a television set and a tablet at Cashwiz in February and September 2017, respectively.

According to the police, the gang gained more than $400 million from its illegal activities across the island and was responsible for 12 of the 15 licensed firearms that were reported stolen during 18 robberies.

All the accused were remanded last Wednesday, except Shadae Beckford, who was pregnant at the time of her arrest. She had her bail extended with her own surety.

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