OM confiscates some US$359,513 over four years; to focus on collecting more criminal funds – StMaartenNews.com – News Views Reviews & Interviews

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten (23 May 2022) – Fighting and preventing further crimes in the community are not only dependent on putting (suspected) criminals behind bars; it is also essential to cut off the ill-acquired funds that drive criminality. The Prosecutor’s Office OM Sint Maarten is putting more emphasis on this front.

Looking back over the past four years, a significant amount of money has been confiscated in various cases, ranging from as little as NAf 10 to US$232,900.

From 2018 to 2021, approximately US$359,513.89 were taken from criminals or criminal-related activities. That total covers the amount also collected in Netherlands Antilles guilders and euros converted at the prevailing currency rates.

Separately, the total amounts per currency for the four years covered are US$344,278.02; NAf 11,780.90 (=US$6,546.94); and 8,145.16 euros (=US$8,688.93). These amounts represent only pure cash, meaning currency bills and do not include confiscation in cases of the Anti-Corruption Taskforce TBO cases.

The OM Sint Maarten, along with its partners, registered the collection of approximately US$52,399 in 2018. An amount of NAf 71 was also collected by law enforcement.

The following year saw the biggest confiscated amount of criminal funds. The largest single confiscation was US$232,900. That amount was found in a house search in Mary’s Fancy in September 2019 and was a significant bust in drug-related case codenamed “Snoek”. Unfortunately, at the time of the bust and thereafter, an erroneous amount of some US$32,900 was circulated in the press; lessening the magnitude of the bust.

Overall for 2019, law enforcement bagged the biggest amount in the four-year period: US$286,893.07; NAf 11,474.90; and 7,310.16 euros.

In 2020, the first year of the global pandemic saw the lowest numbers in confiscated funds. This low number could possibly be attributed to the limited movement of people and illicit items due to pandemic protocols, which included prolonged lockdowns.

Criminals were relieved by law enforcement of US$1,373; NAf 35; and five euros in 2020.

The second year of pandemic (2021) saw an increase in the amounts of criminal funds collected: US$3,612.95; NAf 200 and 830 euros.

The confiscation of funds in criminal cases continues as more instances are investigated and/or uncovered. It is important to note that although the numbers given in confiscated funds are very large; access to the funds for the benefit of the community harmed by the criminal activities is not immediate. This is due to the process of law. That means confiscated funds must be held until the case to which it is related has been completed and the verdict is irrevocable. That verdict also needs to address what is to be done with the criminal funds.

OM Sint Maarten remains committed to cutting off criminal activities and seizing assets and funds derived from these illegal activities. The ultimate goal is for the funds to benefit the Sint Maarten community in positive ways.