‘Inheritance’ scam

The Fraud Squad has recommended to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Geoffrey Henderson that charges, ranging from uttering of forged documents to obtaining money under false pretenses should be laid against Pastor Vishnu “Kitty” Lutchmansingh, sources said last week.

The number of charges to be laid rests with Henderson, who is expected to give directions very soon. At least five people have gone to the police to report that they were fleeced by the Cunupia pastor of a total in excess of $4 million.

There could have been more victims and millions more lost but it appears that pride got the better of the victims, said a source close to the investigation.

One source said that “hundreds of charges” could be laid against Lutchmansingh because of how the fraud was allegedly perpetrated on the victims. It is understood that several payments, amounting to about $100,000, had been paid out monthly by one victim for several services, among them guard duties and medical bills. That victim was allegedly fleeced of more than $3 million over a two-year period.

Also falling victims to fraud in this case were businessmen and retirees who, in some instances, lost all of their retirement benefits.

The investigation into the scam allegedly perpetrated by the pastor began in 2003, after several people were made to believe they would have been repaid from a billion-dollar inheritance by the pastor that investigators found to be non-existent.

The probe took lawmen to the eastern United States to determine whether the inheritance, in fact, existed. Several people linked to the alleged benefactor, Buford Keaton, an American railroad engineer, were also interviewed.

Earlier this year, Fraud Squad officers detained and questioned Lutchmansingh. The pastor was quizzed at length and allowed to leave, pending further investigations.

Lutchmansingh is also facing a civil lawsuit from Nutrimix president Shaheed Mohammed, who in February 2004, was granted an injunction preventing the pastor and his wife Martha, from disposing of their assets, mortgaging or transferring the value of their assets, real and personal.

Mohammed took the pastor to court for allegedly failing to repay a $4 million loan.

Then in June 2003, two Barrackpore companies, Nashville Farms Ltd and Heritage Farms Ltd, both of Subratee Road, filed writs charging that Lutchmansingh removed more than $1.2 million from their premises.

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