Work permit fraudster has to repay her victims

POSTED: 02/14/13 12:35 PM

St. Maarten – Graciela Ismay Schmidt has to repay $2,181 to two people who entrusted her with their money to arrange their work permits. The Court in First Instance sentenced the 49-year old defendant for fraud to a 6 month conditional prison sentence with 2 years of probation and 120 hours of community service.

Schmidt, who chose not to be represented by an attorney, told the court that she has a cleaning company and a security company and that she has been processing paperwork for third parties since 2003. She charged her clients $600 for processing fees.

Between September 2008 and May 2009, Schmidt took money from three clients with the promise to arrange their work permits, but she never did anything. The defendant, whose husband works in the Dominican Republic as a police officer, has a conviction for bribery to her name dating back to 2003.

Prosecutor Tineke Kamps said that she did not believe the defendant’s statement that the process had been held up because she had a serious car accident in the Dominican Republic. “You promised work permits and you did nothing. The victims paid and then nothing happened. They did not hear anything from you, so your intentions were not good.”

The prosecutor demanded a 6-month conditional prison sentence with 180 hours of community service and repayment of $3,811 to the three plaintiffs.

Judge Tamara Tijhuis agreed with the prosecutor. “You presented yourself as a reliable business while you were not.” The Judge acquitted Schmidt of one charge because in that case the plaintiff had been convinced by the defendant’s sister Irma to hand over his money.

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