Who Is Jean Ann Panton? The Lady Who Allegedly Stole Usain Bolt's Money
At this moment her father must be trying to break loose from the grave to stand by his wife of so many years, as she bears the ignominy brought by the revelation of Jean Ann’s serial-thief personality.
In these circumstances one must ask the question, what more could a parent have done?
The Pantons were a model family in St. Mary. The parish held Dr Panton in the highest regard, particularly when he held the high office of Chaplain to the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Mrs Panton was a model guidance counselor and language teacher at St. Mary High School, where Jean-Ann attended.
From all indications, they were a humble family who, by rural Jamaica standards might have been just around the middle-income mark. The siblings did not seem to be in need during high school. They came from a good Christian home and the influence of their antecedence was pervasive.
All who knew Jean-Ann have been blindsided by the revelations she made in her confessional statement given on January 7, 2023, regarding the systematic theft of clients’ monies at SSL.
Jean Ann was eye candy at school. Boys of all ages looked past the fact that she walked with a limp because she was pure beauty, with an infectious smile and a very agile mind. She seemed mature beyond her years and she got the respect she commanded.
Oh how she must now be willing herself back to those days, having become the pariah of Jamaica’s financial system over the past few days. If ever she grew a shame tree it must be flowering wild and out of shape as she seeks to shroud herself under this mountain of embarrassment.
We love the saying in Jamaica – “See me and come live with me a two different story”.
Many who have known Jean-Ann for over 35 years are still pinching themselves. “No way, this cannot be. They must have had her mixed up with someone else.”
That argument held some weight until the now widely circulated business card emerged on social media with the infamous tagline – “My clients trust me; I earned it”.
It seemed that trust was the biggest item in her well-equipped toolbox, because there are many familiar names on the list of clients she admitted to defrauding, among them schoolmates from St. Mary High.
Now that her statement has been made public, many of her acquaintances who had their heads in the sand have been expressing on private platforms…”Jean-Ann, you tief bad!”
As said before, Jean-Ann is a very bright woman. This is evident in the enterprising manner in which she conducted this long-term, sophisticated fraud. She studied the system and knew its weaknesses and simply used her position and influence to recruit others who unwittingly aided in her criminality, not even aware that they were participating in defrauding their own accounts. That was ruthless!
I must declare that I have already made contact with Netflix to put together the story and screenplay for “Jean-Ann, the beautiful crook – how I masterminded one of the biggest frauds in Jamaican banking history.”
The title will be fine-tuned, but yes, you get the drift.
But seriously, what has taken place at SSL is no joke matter. It has put Jamaica’s financial system clearly in the crosshairs of cynics once again. After Finsac, Olint, Cash Plus it would have been reasonable to think that the Financial Services Commission was on top of its game as a regulator in ensuring that all banking platforms were conforming to the rules, at the very basic level, the dual signatory system.
The unbanked, mattress savers in the country are having a hearty laugh, while those who thought their nest eggs were secure, must now be demanding up-to-date statements and poring over old ones to see if their accounts had been hemorrhaging as well. Many people are not resting easy, and doctors must be on alert for rising blood pressures and psychotic episodes.
Jean-Ann did not list Usain Bolt among the people she defrauded. However, she took from Norman Peart, Bolt’s longtime business manager. Bolt fired Peart last year and it is said that talk of the fraud began emerging from then and auditors were called in to investigate Jean-Ann who was fired. What kind of job was Peart doing for Bolt if he was not even on top of his own investments? Obviously he was no match for the clinical Jean-Ann who stole at will, with precision.
Bolt’s lawyers have written to SSL demanding the return of his US$12 million within 10 days from January 17. We wish them luck with that. Disgraceful and scandalous as it is, word is emerging that the funds were not insured so there is no automatic recourse.
With the FSC having sent in a receiver, it will be interesting to see what SSL’s own business accounts look like. Maybe there will be some recompense from there.
It cannot be lost on the public that Bolt’s lawyers have copied the Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, Finance Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, the Financial Secretary, the FSC and the BOJ on the demand letter to SSL. It is possible that they could be named in a lawsuit, should the 10-day ultimatum not be met.
At this point, it is not clear who at SSL is responsible for Bolt’s sordid affair but the investigators have said it is very unlikely that it was a solo job. Those parties should avoid the courtroom mess, join Jean-Ann on the road to Damascus, and come clean.
Perhaps the DPP and the courts will show some leniency in the matter if there are confessions, restitution and contrition all around.
It is expected that there are some Putin-esque bombs to come and those who are close to the top of the matter on the regulatory and the institution side have been trying to sanitise as much as they can to make the fall as easy as possible.
Whatever the outcome, this is the death of SSL, and the investment banking sector in Jamaica is going to have to work overtime to rebuild trust.
Have you ever wondered why most of Jamaica’s top artistes live outside of the country? Apart from the ease of travel, many do not trust the Jamaican banking system.
This story has gone global simply because it involves Usain Bolt, a true patriot who has believed in his country and its institutions and has been shafted for playing by the rules. Jamaica already has a major international problem with corresponding banking arrangements and this will make the problem even worse. Add to that the country’s reputation as scamming paradise and the scenario looks bleak.
SSL and its main players are already under public conviction by the Jamaican public. There is no scope for recovery.
As for Jean-Ann, like the historic EPL football club Liverpool, rest assured – “You shall never walk alone”.
Say what you know about the operations at the bank and the thievery that has been going on for so long. Beat the others to the DPP’s phone and spill the beans, make restitution, ask for safe passage for you and your poor daughter to an unfound corner of the world, fade with the sunset and hope that your mother will survive this horrible ordeal you have brought on your family and be able to live out her nominated days, even with the dark clouds you have lodged over her innocent head.
This article is based on the statement given by Jean-Ann Panton, former employee of Stocks and Securities Limited, sworn before Justice of the Peace for the parish of St. Andrew Kamal S. Gilzene (001771) on January 7, 2023.
CREDIT : Jamaica Times