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VIPD Executes Search Warrants Looking For $1.4M in Embezzled MoneyGram Receipts

alvery smith 99        

               Alvery Smith in his office     

FREDERIKSTED – The Economic Crimes Unit of the Virgin Islands Police Department executed search warrants at the six MoneyGram outlets throughout the territory: three on St. Thomas, one on St. John and two on St. Croix.

The execution of the Search Warrants stems from an investigation into the MoneyGram franchises operated by Alvery Smith and Ana Cristina Garcia (spouse) for the alleged embezzlement of over $1.4  million in revenues from the corporation.

The search warrants include business as well as two residences, of which one of the residences recently purchased by the couple for over $400,000 in the exclusive Estate Bakkeroe area on St. Thomas and is undergoing additional construction.

Agents descended upon the stores confiscating computers, receipts, and bank statements that can be used to track records of all transactions. The MoneyGram services were suspended on August 14, 2015 at Xpress Payment Center & Money Wire Transfer at Tutu Park Mall, Mail Plus at #23 Dronningens Gade, Charlotte Amalie, and Mail Plus at Nisky Center. On St. Croix at Xpress Payment Center & Money Wire Transfer in Plaza Extra Supermarket at Estate Sion Farm and  Xpress Payment Center & Money Wire Transfer in Plaza Extra Supermarket at Estate Plessen and on St. John at  Xpress Payment Center & Money Wire Transfer at 7-4A Cruz Bay.

MoneyGram services at three locations in St Thomas remain operational, as they are under different management and ownership than the suspended establishments.

Anyone with information concerning MoneyGram is asked to phone the Economic Crime Unit at (340) 778-2211 on St. Croix or (340)774-3942 on St. Thomas or the anonymous tip service, Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-(TIPS) 8477 or go to www.crimestoppersusvi.org

ana and alvery

Ana Cristina Garcia and Alvery Smith

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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