Lloyd Parchment, the co-chairman of the Anti-Fraud Committee of the Jamaica Bankers Association, says fraudulent activities have emerged as an area of major concern in the island in recent years.
“A lot of persons might not realise that fraud is one of the few growth industries in Jamaica right now,” said Parchment, who was speaking during Thursday’s first quarterly meeting of the St James Lay Magistrates Association in Montego Bay, St James.
“Jamaica, I might say, is on the cutting edge of fraud. Whatever is happening out there in the world of fraud, it’s either here or it’s on its way here,” said Parchment, who did not provide data to support the level of growth or rampant fraudulent activities he said were taking place.
“It is a serious business … . A lot of money is lost in the financial sector and out of the pockets of individuals, not just banks, insurance companies and other members of the financial sector,” Parchment pointed out.
He noted that in some cases, people have lost their entire businesses to persons who have made a career out of fraud.
“These are people who made it their business. Every day they get up, just like you, put on their clean clothes and go to work and is fraud dem doing. That is their full-time job; that’s their full-time occupation here in Jamaica,” said the anti-fraud expert.
While some of the fraudsters become known to both the police and the banking sector over time, he pointed out that it is still quite difficult to collar them.
“It is not a lack of knowledge of the people who are doing it. You have to first catch them, and then you have to successfully prosecute them … . That is another thing. It’s a whole new area there because once it’s now in the hands of the police, it grinds its way through the justice system,” noted Parkinson.
“Unfortunately, in my experience, it takes three years before a matter comes to trial from the day of arrest until it gets on the trial list, and by the time it is ready for trial, there are no witnesses as most times, the affected persons are no longer interested or have migrated,” added Parchment.