Up to 15 years for knowingly renting premises to scammers – MOCA | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

In reference to the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Transactions) Act, 2013, the Major Organised Crime & Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) is alerting the public to be extremely vigilant for persons who are renting properties in upscale communities order to carry out their illegal activities.

In fact, MOCA is advising that owners, occupiers or any other person responsible for the management of any promises who permit the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under the above-mentioned Act, could face up to 15 years in prison If found guilty in the court.

In a release on Wednesday, Detective Inspector Antoinette Morrison, Press Officer for MOCA, said the agency has noticed a worrying trend of persons, particularly those involved in lottery scamming, renting upscale Airbnb apartments and using the premises as staging grounds for their crimes.

“We want people to be aware of these persons and their activities,” said Morrison.

“Not only to alert them to the practice, but also to inform or remind them that under the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Transactions) Act, they themselves can be arrested and charged if found to be aiding and abetting the commission of these criminal activities by knowingly allowing the use of their premises,” she added.

Under the Act, which came into effect on March 28, 2013 (amended on April 7, 2014), it is an offence for the “owner, occupier or any other person responsible for the management of any promises… to permit the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence.”

Morrison was quick to point out that it is very important that landlords take reasonable precautions before and whilst letting their premises, as she said willful blindness towards the criminal activities of tenants will not absolve them from prosecution.

The release said since the start of the year, MOCA has made several arrests of persons involved in lottery scamming, and seized a number of identity cards, electronic devices and other paraphernalia that are related to the crime.

The agency said it also recently signed an MOU with the Financial Investigation Division (FID) as part of a collaborative effort to fight major organised crime.

MOCA is urging members of the public who have information on persons who are involved in lottery scamming, corruption and other major organised crimes, to submit the information via the MOCA Online Tip Portal at www.moca.gov.jm