Former VDSM head detained in Tarpon investigation

Gino Bernadina Spokesman for the Public Prosecutor Office
The former head of the St. Maarten National Security Service VDSM James A.J. Richardson
James A. J. Richardson, former Head of the St. Maarten National Security Service VDSM

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The former head of the St. Maarten National Security Service VDSM J.A.J.R. (41) has been arrested on Tuesday, July 19 by members of the National Detective Agency assisted by officers of the St. Maarten Police Force KPSM. His house in Ebenezer, Cul de Sac was also searched in connection with the ongoing investigation concerning embezzlement and money laundering called Tarpon, led by the National Detective Agency.

A search was also done in a hotel room and at a moving company. Documents, money, valuables, a car and data carriers were confiscated. Neither the hotel nor the moving company are suspects in the investigation.

J.A.J.R. is suspected of embezzlement and money laundering for the amount of NAf. 800.000,- which took place from January 2011 till mid-2013. Money laundering is considered a continuous offence from which the suspect has possibly been profiting until today.

The National Detective Agency has been busy since  mid-2015 with the Tarpon investigation. The long duration of the investigation is, among other things, due to the fact that, in particular when the investigation started, the National Detective Agency had a very limited capacity and was constantly confronted with other large-scale and time-consuming investigations.

The Tarpon investigation is also targeted on recovering proceeds of crime. It’s the first time that the National Detective Agency is conducting such an investigation. Recovering proceeds of crime fits within the National Detective Agency’s new policy, equal to that of the Prosecutor’s Office and from now on more of such investigations can be expected.

J.A.J.R. is currently detained  while the investigation continues. More arrests cannot be excluded.