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Charged Defense Force Soldiers Spend Divali Behind Bars. Bail Likely Tomorrow.

Charged Defense Force Soldiers Spend Divali Behind Bars. Bail Likely Tomorrow.

Bail in the amount of $375,000 each has been granted to two soldiers attached to the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force. The men, Lance Corporal Jason Richards, of Edinburgh 500, and Private Josimar Belgrave, of St Ann’s appeared before Senior Magistrate Nanette Forde-John in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court on a total of 162 fraud charges. The soldiers are accused of defrauding the T&T Defence Force (TTDF) of over $1.4 million through a payroll scam.

The soldiers were yesterday remanded to the Golden Grove State Prison as their family members were unable to secure court approval for bail, from the court staff, who had already left work for the day. The

Richards, a payroll clerk with the Defence Force, was slapped with the majority of the charges as he was accused of stealing the money by inflating his and Belgrave’s rent allowance between February and July.

Charged TTDF soldier, Josimar Belgrave

He was also charged with wilfully falsifying the TTDF’s human resource records in a bid to cover up the crimes and was given a charge for each time he disposed of the money by transfers from his account to those of his relatives and through ATM and traditional withdrawals.

Belgrave, a striker with the TTDF’s TT Pro League team, was only slapped with charges for disposing of the money through various transfers and withdrawals.

Both men were not called upon to plead to the charges which were laid indictably.

The case was adjourned to November 14 with some of the charges which arose from transactions in areas other than Port-of-Spain were transferred to other dates.