(BVI NEWS) – A man and a woman who were cashiers at Road Town Wholesale’s Cash and Carry in Pasea Estate are being accused of stealing nearly $60,000 from the store.
Charged with theft and false accounting are Fort Hill resident George Wells, and 34-year-old Sharon Forde.
Wells is accused of stealing $37,908 while Forde is accused of taking $21,939.
They were not made to plead to the charges when they appeared before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste DaBreo on Friday (February 2) because their cases will be transferred to the High Court.
It is alleged that the duo stole the monies by fabricating customer refunds at the store.
Allegations are that the store conducted an audit sometime in June/July last year and discovered that a number of curious refunds were being done since January 2017, and a quantity of money was missing.
Management subsequently launched an internal investigation using CCTV footage. It is alleged that the video footage corresponded with the dates and times when the accused cashiers entered ‘questionable’ refunds into the store’s database.
The footage allegedly showed Wells at his workstation on several occasions inputting information into the cash register.
The Prosecution alleged that a receipt would eject from the register on each occasion, and the Wells would hide it in his pocket or discard it.
No customers present
Footage reportedly showed that no customer was at Wells’ checkout station when he entered those refunds into the cash register.
Similarly, footage of Wells’ co-accused Forde revealed that no customer was at her checkout counter when she submitted refunds.
The court was told that the accused cashiers had a pattern when refunding items. They only refunded the more-expensive items such as $500 bottles of champagne, it is alleged.
The court was told that the store’s management confronted the two accused after the probe and both allegedly confessed. Wells allegedly claimed that he stole the money because he was having ‘financial difficulties’.
The matter was subsequently reported to police.
Based on store policy, a refund can only be done when a store supervisor’s code is entered into the system.
Investigations revealed that a supervisor’s code was entered during all the questionable refunds. But, when police interviewed the supervisors whose codes were used, they had no knowledge of the unauthorised refunds.
Police subsequently arrested the accused duo.
During a police interview with Wells, he allegedly said he received the code from a store supervisor to conduct legitimate refunds. He allegedly admitted that used the codes to do fake refunds.
Though Forde told police that she used the codes to conduct refunds, she claimed that she did refunds because customers complained that the store’s prices were ‘too high’.
Both accused were subsequently charged.
Wells, a British Virgin Islands native, was granted $80,000 bail and told to report to the Road Town Police Station on Mondays between 6am and 6pm.
On the other hand, Forde was offered $60,000 bail. The St Lucian was ordered to surrender her travel documents and report to the Road Town Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
They will return to court.