Indictments against the Buncampers show: Forgery, tax fraud and destruction of evidence

POSTED: 01/12/15 10:41 PM

St. Maarten – The prosecution accuses former Public Health Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus and her husband Claudius of membership of a criminal organization which objectives were forgery, incorrect and incomplete filing of tax returns and intentionally destroying evidence. This appears from the indictments that became public during a pro forma hearing in the Court in First Instance yesterday.

The Buncampers appeared in court together with three co-defendants, who are also accused of membership of a criminal organization – notary Francis Gijsbertha, Eco Green managing director Theodore Oniel Walters and Ivan H, of St. Maarten Building Supplies (SBS).

The indictments against the Buncampers are identical. The prosecution charges that they failed to file tax returns for profit tax for Eco Green NV between October 7, 2011 and November 20, 2012. The charge implicates that not managing director Oniel Walters, but the Buncampers are the true owners of Eco Green.

The prosecution furthermore charges that Eco Green filed incomplete and incorrect tax returns for Eco Green over the years 2009, 2010 and 2011. “Eco Green and its co-conspirators intentionally filed an incorrect and too low amount for the profit tax.”

The indictments state that the Buncampers gave instructions for these actions or that they directed them.

A second charge against the Buncampers concerns the by now infamous notarial deed of December 19, 2008 whereby it sold the land it held in long lease on Pond Island across from the Melford Hazel sports complex (currently in use by SBS) for $3 million to Eco Green NV. The deed mentions a down payment of $1.6 million, to be followed by “ninety (73)” installments of $18,750.

Another forged document is according to the indictment the commercial lease agreement Eco Green signed in December 2008 with SBS. It states that there was already a verbal agreement to lease the property to SBS from February 1, 2005 to January 31, 2015, that the rent for the land would be $18,750 per month, and that SBS would pay $750,000 in non-refundable “key-money.”

The dates are interesting, because Eco Green was established on December 16, 2008 and therefore could not have made any agreement about a lease in 2005.

There is also a bogus mortgage deed Eco Green signed on December 19, 2008 for an amount of $2 million.

On December 19 2013, Eco Green signed a deed for the sale of the right of long lease – presumably for the same piece of land – for $345,000.

Eco Green’s so-called managing director Oniel Walters is also on the hooks for the notarial deed of December 19, 2008, for the commercial lease agreement between this bogus-company and SBS, and for the mortgage deed of $2 million. The same charges apply to notary Francis Gijsbertha.

SBS-Director Ivan H. is on the ropes for the commercial lease agreement, and the deed about the sale of the long lease right for $345,000.

The Eco-Green scandal became public after Today published an article on December 8, 2010 under the headline, “Minster Buncamper sold leased land on Pond Island for $3 million.” The article was based on information from the notarial deed of December 19, 2008 that this newspaper obtained from the public register of the Cadastre.

National Alliance leader William Marlin said in December 2010 that the case smelled of money laundering, but based on the indictments, it appears that the prosecution found no evidence for this. Buncamper-Molanus was forced to step down as minister of public health, social development and labor a few weeks after the story broke, on December 23, 2010.

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