Woman who faked oil and gas training gets $680,000 bail
Simone Fortune, the woman accused of operating a fake oil and gas training course was granted $680, 000 bail when she appeared in the New Amsterdam Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Fortune who is being represented by attorney-at-law Ryan Crawford appeared before Magistrate Renita Singh and pleaded not guilty to the 17 charges brought against her for obtaining money by false pretense.
The Magistrate granted bail in the sum of $40,000 on each charge. Fortune was also required to lodge her passport and is required to report to the Central Police Station every Friday. The matter was adjourned to January 26, 2021.
Fortune who is the General Secretary for the Inland and Offshore Recruiting and Clearing Agency (IORCA), had advertised training courses for Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers at a total cost of $160,000.
Persons were told that they would receive competency and endorsement certificates from Honduras and Panama that would guarantee employment in the petroleum sector.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recommended that charges be laid against Fortune.
So far, 17 persons have come forward and filed official complaints after they did not receive their certificates. The course was done between January 13 and 17, 2020.
Fortune reportedly held a meeting with the men in early August and asked for more patience and stated that within five days the men would receive their certificates or be given a refund.
A PDF version of their certificates was subsequently sent via a Whatsapp group but it was not from Panama or Honduras but a company Macosnar Training Institute Corp.
The woman then reportedly sought to explain that the original agreement for the certificate to be procured from the companies in Honduras and Panama was no longer in operation but the certificates issued were more authentic.
However, when the men emailed the company to inquire about the authenticity of the certificate and also ask for the original copy, the company replied that the certificates were fake and invalid.
After weeks of no response from Fortune, a report was made to the Regional Commander at the time, Calvin Brutus who got ranks to start an investigation into the matter. After the investigation was completed a file was sent to the DPP for advice and subsequently sent back for additional information.