* Jamaican banker accused of defrauding investors
* He allegedly ran large Caribbean Ponzi scheme
By Kevin Gray
MIAMI, Nov 18 Turks and Caicos authorities on
Thursday handed over to U.S. custody a Jamaican banker accused
of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors in Florida and
the Caribbean out of more than $220 million.
David A. Smith, who was serving a six-and-a-half year
prison sentence in the British Caribbean territory for fraud
and conspiracy offenses, faces charges in Florida of wire
fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money
A team of U.S. federal agents traveled to the islands to
pick up Smith, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of
Florida said in a statement.
"Authorities in Turks and Caicos handed Smith over to U.S.
authorities pursuant to an official request by the United
States government for Smith to be brought to Orlando, Florida
to face federal charges," it said.
A banker, well-known philanthropist and supporter of a
popular church attended by wealthy Jamaicans, Smith lured
investors with promises his investments in foreign currency
trading would provide monthly average returns of 10 percent,
according to U.S. court documents.
He was charged in an Orlando court in August with four
counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money
laundering, and eighteen counts of money laundering.
If convicted, Smith faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in
federal prison on each count, the statement said.
The case marked the latest high-profile Ponzi scheme to
affect investors in Florida, who have been hit by fallout from
the massive fraud scandals surrounding convicted Wall Street
swindler Bernard Madoff and accused Texas financier Allen
Many prominent Jamaicans, including leading politicians and
doctors, were also among his victims.
Smith set up an investment house in Jamaica called Olint,
offering to pool investors' money. It was eventually shut down
before he relocated to the Turks and Caicos.
He is also linked to a Florida currency trading company.
U.S. prosecutors say Smith used the money to bankroll a
lavish lifestyle, including collections of gemstones and
jewelry as he paid early investors with new cash from investors
in a classic Ponzi scheme.
U.S. officials plan to confiscate a Florida house and
jewelry, as well as tens of thousands of dollars that are tied
to Smith, the statement said.
Smith would remain in custody in Orlando and will be
brought before a federal judge, it said.
(Editing by Pascal Fletcher)