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Man with “links” jailed for defrauding women

OFF TO JAIL: Neil Benjamin

A man who obtained $1.4 million from two women by telling them he could get them a car, house and land since he has links to the Housing Ministry and an auto dealership was Wednesday sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment for obtaining monies by false pretense.

56-year-old Neil Benjamin of 254 Section C Enterprise, East Coast Demerara was slapped with two charges when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Courts. He pleaded guilty to both charges.

Between June 2020 and December 30, 2020 with intent to defraud, Benjamin obtained the sum of $1.1 million from Odessa Bobb, by falsely pretending that he was in a position to obtain two houses and a land from the Ministry of Housing for her, knowing same to be false.

Between December 19, 2020, and January 8, 2021, at Carmichael Street, Georgetown, with intent to defraud, he obtained the sum of $300,000 from Vanetta James by falsely pretending to her that he was in a position to purchase and delivered a motor car to her, knowing same to be false.

In Bobb’s matter, the court heard that the two are known to each other for several years and that in mid-2020, Benjamin contacted Bobb and informed her that he knows someone working at the Ministry of Housing and told her about ‘Turn Key’ houses in Perseverance, East Bank Demerara.

The woman became interested in purchasing and Benjamin told her that the house costs $4.2M. She then paid him $600,000 to facilitate the processing fee.

However, one day while the woman was at work, a colleague showed her previous news articles about Benjamin being charged for several fraud-related offenses.

The woman then went and report the matter to the police. An investigation was conducted and Benjamin was arrested and charged with the offence.

In James matter, the court was told the two met  through Facebook and they subsequently became friends. Benjamin was over at the woman’s house when he overheard her saying that she was saving her money to buy a car.

He asked the woman what type of car she was interested in, and told her that he has “links” at an auto sales company from which she can purchase a car at an affordable price.

According to information, James paid Benjamin $360,000 as a downpayment towards her car. After a few months, the woman never received any car and she later found out that Benjamin was charged for several fraud-related offences.

She too reported him to the Police. The prosecutor informed the court that more charges will be laid against Benjamin since more victims are coming forward.

 In the end, the Chief Magistrate after listening to the facts sentenced Benjamin to two years behind bars for defrauding Bobb and 18 months for defrauding James. The sentences will run consecutively.

In 2012, Benjamin was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for a similar offence. He was charged twice- in 2016 and then again in 2018 for fraud-related offences.