Young women being predominantly targeted in “troubling” scheme
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Authorities have reported an increase in fraudulent marriage matters in The Bahamas, noting that the “dangerous and troubling” affair has resulted in numerous people being charged and prosecuted.
The Financial Crimes and the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force has pledged to crack down marriages of convenience, among other financial and corruptions crimes, and warned the public to be careful.
During a press conference at police headquarters, Corporal Jared Turnquest said authorities have found that young Bahamian citizens have been paid to marry other persons, namely non-Bahamians, and predominantly Haitians, in order to use the marriage certificate to obtain status.
“This is a very dangerous and troubling trend for us because in order to obtain some of these documents, whether it be citizenship or work permits, fraudulent documents are now being used to apply for these benefits,” Turnquest said. “So, what we have been doing is the persons involved have been getting arrested and also persons who were approaching these people were also arrested and brought before the courts.”
Acknowledging that incidents have become more prevalent, Superintendent Matthew
Edgecombe said young women are typically being targeted for marriage schemes.
He said, “Some of them are not well educated and some of those persons may not be working, so they look for a quick buck.”
Turnquest added that the police force recently dismantled an elaborate fraudulent credit card ring that was operating throughout The Bahamas. He said patrons of hotels, restaurants, and other places of business have been victims of employees using skimmers.
“You have the employees of these establishments; some of them are dishonest and they are using credit card skimmers or taking photos of the credit cards. If they skim the card, they are able to obtain the information, which is embedded on the magnetic strip on the back of the card.”
In addition to fake checks and credit card scams, Sergeant Donald Rolle said that the force has seen an increase in third-party fraud.
“There are some very complex fraud rings out there and just try and protect yourself,” he said. “Any information that you have where persons would have tried to approach you to use your account or to try to get you to cash a check that you have no business with, report this information swiftly to police.”
Police are asking anyone with information in relation to fraudulent schemes to contact them at 919 or Crime Stoppers at 328-TIPS.