Police to launch investigation after Trinidadian cries foul

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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IN the wake of reports that criminology professor Ramesh Deosaran was the victim of credit card fraud at a local hotel, Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson confirmed that an investigation is to begin shortly.

“Please be advised that the matter will be investigated,” General Anderson said in an e-mail yesterday.

In a Sunday Observer story, Deosaran accused staff at a popular hotel in Montego Bay, St James, of fraud after his credit card statement reflected a point-of-sale transaction he insisted he did not make while staying at the hotel for the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) annual conference.

Deosaran, professor of Criminology and Public Safety at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, in an e-mail to the Observer, said that he was invited to chair a panel at the 33rd annual conference, where he also made a presentation.

The professor said when he arrived at the hotel on April 30 to check in, his credit card was taken from him and the registration process took “a relatively long time”. He was scheduled to leave on May 4.

On July 5, 2018, he said he received his Republic Bank Visa card statement and noted that the sum of US$896.26 was drawn on his account on May 1, 2018 for 'Agoda Hotel Reservation Budapest, Hungary'. This is the day after his registration.

“This was shocking. I know nothing about this transaction, except that it was fraudulent. On July 3, 2018 I quickly informed the Republic Visa Credit Card Centre in Port of Spain of the fraud. My bank is Republic Bank, Valpark, Curepe, Trinidad,” Deosaran said then.

The Observer contacted the hotel in question about the matter, but was told by the resort's public relations department that contacting customers beforehand for their credit card information is not a part of the hotel's policy.

Added to that, the Observer was told that the person Deosaran said he interacted with prior to his stay at the hotel does not work there. The hotel also said it has no record of the professor staying there, having searched its database.

However, the professor e-mailed copies of the confirmation letter he received as well as receipts for his stay at the resort to the Observer. He also forwarded the e-mail conversation he said he had with the alleged hotel clerk. The e-mail address for the hotel that he used to communicate with them was the same e-mail address given to the Observer by the hotel. The Observer also learnt that the hotel, despite denying that it asks for customers' credit card information, did in fact ask Deosaran for a copy of his in the confirmation letter they sent him.

— Kimone Francis

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