Jamaica’s executive director of its Financial Services Commission has had to resign following the disappearance of US$12.8 million of sprinter Usain Bolt’s savings. But at least a source of where some of the money has vanished has been detected because a former Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) Jamaica employee has owned up to stealing clients’ money over many years.
The 100m-world record holder has given SSL up to Friday to pay the US$12.8m that he said was in his account up to October 2022 or be sued. Bolt’s attorney, Linton Gordon, wrote to SSL on January 16.
The threat of a lawsuit comes after reports that Bolt had fired his long-time manager, Norman Peart. Peart, who was with Bolt since he emerged as a teenager in 2002, told Radio Jamaica Sports that he and the eight-time Olympic gold medallist had “parted company amicably in late 2022.”
Jean-Ann Panton, the self-confessed swindler of over $4 million, stated in a January 7 statement, that she worked at the company for 25 years and admits she began “borrowing from client accounts” after her father was diagnosed with cancer and had to go outside of Jamaica for treatment. She continued stealing when he passed away to cover the funeral expenses and to commit her brother to a “home” after he threatened to kill their mother.
Panton said she also continued using clients’ funds during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. She said she used various scams to take money from clients in alleging cooperation with four others. They acted as bearers and would be issued the checks by SSL, visit the bank to collect the funds and then those funds would be delivered to her. The total she claims to have stolen amounts to US$4,323,073. This does not account for the huge sum Bolt says he lost.
Everton McFarlane, who until recently was executive director of Jamaica’s Financial Services Commission, went on leave Friday and will step down January 31. A top official with Bank of Jamaica will take his place as the investigation continues into Stocks and Securities Limited, a firm based in Kingston.