Convicted businesswoman loses over $100m in land to State | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Eva Mae Sterling, the 61-year-old Manchester businesswoman recently convicted of money laundering, her son and sister had over J$100 million in property forfeited to the Crown in the Supreme Court this week.

In May, Sterling pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in a transaction involving criminal property,contrary to a section of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), 2007.

She was fined J$300,000 or nine months’ imprisonment on one count and 12 months’ imprisonment — suspended for 24 months — on the second count for her role in money laundering, the Financial Investigation Division said in a release Thursday.

Her co-accused, son Nicholaus Chang and sister Marline Ledford, pleaded not guilty.

According to FID, as part of a plea deal with Sterling, where she admitted liability for the crime, the Crown offered no evidence against Chang and Ledford, discharging them without trial.

FID said five parcels of land measuring more than 600 acres in four parishes, which were purchased for approximately J$105 million between 2012 and 2014, were forfeited from the trio on June 13, 2022.

The release said two parcels of land — one jointly owned by Sterling and her son and the other by Ledford — are located in St Elizabeth. Sterling was listed as the owner of land in Clarendon, and Ledford was listed as the sole owner of two other properties, one in St Catherine and the other in St Mary.

“The Proceeds of Crime Act aims to deter the occurrence of financial crime by ensuring that those who are found guilty of breaching the Act, lose the benefits of their criminal activities.

“We encourage the public to remain on the right side of POCA. Do not encourage or enable persons engaged in criminal activities. Further, do not interact with any property or cash from their ill-gotten gains. Do not be a conduit for criminal proceeds,” FID’s Director of Legal Services, Courtney Smith, said in the release.