A twenty-five-year-old woman from the village of Fontenoy in the parish of St George now faces nine years behind bars or fines in excess of one hundred thousand dollars, has pleaded guilty to three counts of Identification Theft, before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill at the St George’s Magistrate Court on Tuesday.
Chierenzie Phillip, a former employee of Clear Harbour (an online operated business in the South of the Island) represented in court by defence counsel Francis Williams on Tuesday accepted full responsibility for her action, whereby according to the prosecution she used customers’ credit card Information without their consent to make purchases of personal items online.
According to information emanating from the court, the incident took place between November of 2016 and March of 2017. The amount of cash involved according to the prosecution amounts to just over seven hundred United States Dollars.
Base on information given to the police by the company, Ms Phillip had been assigned to the Customer Service department of the company. Her posting, therefore, allowed her to make purchases on customers’ behalf, using their credit card information. That information according to the reports should have been deleted after use, however, on those occasions, they were memorised and reused to bring personal benefit.
The information went on to say, based on complaints made to the company by customers, an investigation was launched into the matter and the police were subsequently called in.
When confronted, the report said, Phillip admitted to the act and gave to the police a number of the purchases she had already made online using customers’ credit card information, which she claimed she had memorised.
Shortly after pleading guilty on Tuesday, Phillip’s counsel, Williams, sought leniency on her behalf citing that she was a first time offender, who did not waste the court’s time. Additionally, he noted that she recognised her mistake and vowed to make good with her life by pursuing a higher level of academic learning through the university.
He further reminded the court that a conviction against her name would only tarnish that dream.
Phillip was however reminded by the magistrate that the charge for which she had appeared in court was a first for Grenada; one that could have serious implications for the state and was a betrayal of trust.
The company’s Human Resource Manager was in court and actually turned down an attempt by the accused to apologise for her actions. In fact, she asked the court that no leniency be extended to Phillip.
With a maximum $ 50,000,00 fine on each count or imprisonment for three years, the final decision rests in the hands of the magistrate who is expected to make her ruling when the matter returns to court on July 13th.