ST ANN’S BAY, St Ann — National Commercial Bank employee Khadene Thomas, who was hauled before the courts on Friday to answer charges of defrauding a client who knew and trusted her, is now being investigated in connection with funds missing from three additional clients’ accounts.
Meanwhile, the sum initially reported in the first case is now almost five times the original figure.
With this additional information presented during Thomas’s first court appearance in the St Ann’s Bay Parish Court, Judge Larona Montague-Williams denied an application for bail and ordered that the 36-year-old woman be remanded until February 2. This, the judge said, would give investigators time to probe the new allegations. Thomas has been employed to NCB for two and a half years.
When the news broke, it had been alleged that the 36-year-old wealth advisor from the bank’s Ocho Rios branch stole US$30,000 from a customer’s account between July and October last year. She reportedly forged the customer’s signature on a debit instrument after which she debited his account and transferred funds to several accounts, including hers. Thomas was charged with larceny and offences under the Cyber Crimes Act on Monday after a question-and-answer session with detectives from the Fraud Squad.
On Friday the court was told the missing sum was US$143,000.
“Those allegations she strongly denies and maintains her innocence,” said Thomas’s attorney, Matthew Hyatt.
He intends to make another attempt to have his client released on bail when she next appears in court.
“We expect that on February 2 the judge will make a decision in regards to bail,” Hyatt told the Jamaica Observer.
As Thomas, head bowed, exited the courtroom she wiped what appeared to be tears from her face. Her relatives who were also present appeared quite disappointed with the decision to have her remanded.
NCB is Jamaica’s largest commercial bank. Word of irregularities at its Ocho Rios Branch came on the heels of an ongoing fraud investigation at investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) where losses are expected to be in the billions.