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Law student to spend 6 mths @ HMP for stealing over $44K

- Shekimah Lettsome Joseph converted $$ received for selling someone else’s property to her own use
Shekimah Lettsome Joseph was sentenced by the Magistrate's Court on November 23, 2020. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The dreams of becoming a lawyer for Shekimah Lettsome Joseph may have just been shattered after she was convicted of theft and operating a business without a trade license.

This is because someone who has been convicted of a crime cannot be a practising lawyer, the court heard. Despite this, Joseph said she would still complete her degree and use it to help others in any way she could.

Joseph appeared via Zoom on Monday, November 23, 2020, from a hotel in Road Town for her sentencing that took five years to materialise, because she has been living in the United Kingdom pursuing her legal career, as well as the hurricanes of 2017, among other adjournments.

Prison term

The 35-year-old, who is just months away from completing her law degree, will now spend six months at Her Majesty’s Prison for stealing $44,500 from Earnest Gumbs, a serving police officer at the time of the offence in 2015.

She was also given a six month suspended sentence for the same offence, which would be suspended for one year.

$1,600 fine

Meanwhile, for the offence of operating a business without a trade license, the court fined her $1,600 to be paid by December 22, 2020, or in default, she would spend four months in jail.

Joseph had entered guilty pleas to the two above offences when she appeared before the court some years ago.

Joseph was also slapped with other indictable charges stemming from the same incident. They are obtaining property by deception, forgery and uttering forged documents.

She was not required to enter pleas for them as they are to be tried before a judge and jury.

Circumstances of the case

The court learnt that Gumbs approached Joseph, who was at the time operating a real estate business, to have a piece of land in Johnson’s Ghut sold for $44,500 for him.

For her services, she was paid $5,000.

However, after the property was sold, Joseph reportedly sent a letter to CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank requesting that the cheque for the transaction be written out to her and she would in turn transfer it to Mr Gumbs.

About two months later, without his $44,500 in his account, Gumbs reported the matter to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

The matter was then investigated and Joseph was arrested and charged.

The court heard that Joseph took the cash to pay bills.

'I shouldn’t have done that'

During her plea, Joseph told the court to temper justice with mercy.

“I am literally asking for your mercy,” she said.

She also issued an apology to Mr Gumbs for stealing his money, adding that she has often questioned herself for her actions.

“I shouldn’t have done [that],” she remarked.

Her actions, she said, has affected her family.

Attorney Reynella Rawlins represented her during the criminal proceedings.

Attorney Kael London represented the Crown.

49 Responses to “Law student to spend 6 mths @ HMP for stealing over $44K”

  • good (24/11/2020, 12:03) Like (18) Dislike (6) Reply
    Glad for her she’s a criminal
    • Jones (24/11/2020, 15:31) Like (6) Dislike (49) Reply
      35 years old and still studying! Go get a job and pay your way in life. Should have done that years ago from wasting time, its grow up time now.
    • tola (24/11/2020, 15:45) Like (34) Dislike (1) Reply
      Didn't your Mother ever told you not to rejoice over another man's downfall?
    • NezRez (25/11/2020, 21:57) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      How is this man supposed to get his money and property back? That bank employee is responsible for all of this and should be fired. The bank owes this man everything he lost and this fake lawyer needs to go to prison. Who in the world will trust her...except to steal for them?
  • WHAT!!! (24/11/2020, 12:23) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
    Hope we the tax payers are not paying for her education.
  • Sarcasm (24/11/2020, 12:26) Like (25) Dislike (34) Reply
    She must be from some where else. BVI Islanders don't commit crimes.
  • officer (24/11/2020, 12:44) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Did she repay her debt to the policeman?
  • Servant of the Most High God Christ Jesus (24/11/2020, 12:46) Like (35) Dislike (3) Reply
    Dear Mrs. Shekimah Lettsome, theft is wrong any position you, ours, and I view it from, and you been held accountibility for same is justified. I as far as I know in this world, many self proclaim christians not excluded, the crime of theft is the norm. Many will bad you for this. others will distrance themselves from you. But God loves you just as you are. Connected with Him. He will see you through this and more. Accept my advice. Leave this Lawer thing alone. seek another way to make ends meet. even if you become reformed by God's power, most of the people will never forgive you. They will continue to see you as a human rat, but not themselves as one. May you use you time in prison wisely. And please, going forward, think more, talk less, do good. Remember, in case you have forgotten; It's not over for you before your life ends.
    God blessings to you, and yours, and to those that granted you a measure of Godly mercies.
    • Tola (24/11/2020, 15:52) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      And let the church say..... AMEN!
    • I would agree (24/11/2020, 19:49) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yeah I agree, leave the Attorney thing alone. No one will ever thrust you to represent them as an Attorney. IN THE LAW WORLD YOU ARE SO DONE.
    • ROugh (24/11/2020, 22:56) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
      the government fault locals steal....things hard, pay small, bills high sky......everybody want them money on the first
  • foot (24/11/2020, 12:48) Like (1) Dislike (18) Reply
    She made a honest mistake by stealing $ 44500. She used the money to help the needies . She will be a good lawyer.
  • Patriotic (24/11/2020, 12:51) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
  • Bad boy (24/11/2020, 13:06) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    She is from right hear the BVI, not just island people alone steal .
  • butty (24/11/2020, 13:19) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
    And the complainant remains without his $ 44,000 or his land and no recourse?
    Once and awhile,street justice is the only solution.

  • Asking For Myself (24/11/2020, 13:22) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Question 1: Does the below apply to every country in the world?
    "This is because someone who has been convicted of a crime cannot be a practising lawyer, the court heard."

    Question 2: She stated that she will complete her degree and use it to help others in any way she could. Help others to do what - be a fraudster or not to be a fraudster?
  • Who she fah (24/11/2020, 13:24) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    Pic Please
  • hmmmmmm (24/11/2020, 13:26) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    CIBC need to go to jail too for aiding and abetting???

    "However, after the property was sold, Joseph reportedly sent a letter to CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank requesting that the cheque for the transaction be written out to her and she would in turn transfer it to Mr Gumbs."
    • @ Hmmmm (24/11/2020, 16:48) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      At least they should give him a refund...not clear how they could do what they did without his permission..
    • Exactly (25/11/2020, 00:17) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
  • boy O Boy (24/11/2020, 13:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    "She also issued an apology to Mr Gumbs for stealing his money, adding that she has often questioned herself for her actions."

    The Devil knows who he can influence - GREED is a bad thing. Some people (not referring to this young lady) though even when caught, continue in the action of their sins - they have no remorse because of a HARDENED and SEARED heart!
  • Ghost (24/11/2020, 13:50) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    You know this story is sad in the sense that greed now costed her her freedom and having a legal career for she would have a prison record and her name will forever be tarnished as a thief.. the Bible said “a good name is better than silver or gold” and this is true. Once you’re branded, you’re branded.. it always amazes me though that persons would commit wrong doing “knowingly” and again I repeat knowingly but when caught they would be asking the court for leniency.. this would always baffle my opinion she is a very stupid and greedy young lady and to boot she’s studying to be a lawyer to defend others committing crimes and she’s committing crimes herself!!- just shameful on her part.. she knew better and also what she was doing was wrong.I am not disagreeing with her asking for mercy for we all deserve it but I pray she learns from this..
  • Oh No (24/11/2020, 13:56) Like (0) Dislike (7) Reply
    Poor thing
  • tretretrete (24/11/2020, 13:56) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    So she had money to pay for schooling but not to pay him back?
  • Pray for you (24/11/2020, 14:38) Like (5) Dislike (9) Reply
    My dear You are such a nice person. You did what you did and it was wrong. You are a wonderful person. Thanks you. God bless you. Love you!
  • Hmm (24/11/2020, 14:48) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Studying for a career in law and u stole from a whole law man; now ur branded as a conniving thief and you want to finish your degree to help WHO? Make it make sense. You cannot be trusted, who in their right mind would? Sounds like she knew what she was doing every step of the way and now looking for mercy because u got reported and everything is potential to fall apart. I jus dnt get it at all. Good luck my girl!
  • y (24/11/2020, 16:18) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    @ foot I never heard of such thing as an honest mistake that's all lawyer surname t**** don't feel bad
  • y (24/11/2020, 16:23) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    @@ foot she make an honest mistake them she must get an honest person time as well
  • mercy (24/11/2020, 16:28) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    We all fall and have to face our own judgement. Just try to do better girl.
  • u (24/11/2020, 16:34) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    Tolan young people have a weeknes for money it's not funny
  • u (24/11/2020, 17:53) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    How you people mixed up this two words like that thief and mistake that are two different words although do people Go to jail for mistake that go to prison for thief stop all those pitty party she will learn from her stupid mistake as you call it
  • local girl (24/11/2020, 18:52) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    No one is a thief until they are caught, I will not condone what this young woman did, she is wrong, she has to pay for what she did, however once you are branded for something it may not be thief, it would be a stupid white lie , sleeping with someone's husband and got caught, people never forget.
    People make dumb and stupid mistakes, I did things that I am not proud of today, I learned from it, I also know that damage goods can still receive love too, we are all not perfect, one man's downfall can be another man's uprising.
    I'm not a church goer nor a bench warmer, but I hope this young woman pay her debt to society, learn from this, and as Jesus said neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.
  • too many (24/11/2020, 19:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    There are too many people trading in the VI without a Trade License.
  • Damn Girl (24/11/2020, 19:53) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    That is messed up how you scam the man out of everything. That is a low blow.
  • foreigner (24/11/2020, 22:52) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    But buddy who she fah? What she did with the man's money? Did she used it to pay tuition? So why they not showing the old teftus twix face?
    I bet she is from down island, a local Tolian woman would never stole money from anyone, they don't even beg, why these island people fingers always have in crazy glue so? Ah need to take pride in ah yo self and learn to be decent like the local Tolian people.
    BVI do not have any form of corruption and BVI nice.
    • Jack and Jill (25/11/2020, 12:06) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @foreigner you sound like an upside down JACKASS. How many so called locals have been caught for stealing form banks, trust companies, etc. You so called locals( whatever the helll that means) love to live above your means. Have a Nickel but want to spend a dime just to impress people and to keep up with the Joneses. Go and scuba dive without the gears....mustard seed brain fool!!!
  • i feel for you (24/11/2020, 22:58) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    sorry gyal..but shit happens
  • Kombucha (25/11/2020, 00:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    May not ever get to be referred to as a practicing attorney at all, but can atleast be referred to as practicing THIEF.

    Her designation will be something like;
    Shekimah Lettsome Joseph- THF. CRK. 5FINGDIS. LLB
  • Wise Down (25/11/2020, 08:25) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    the man probably needed the money to use and you stole all......not even give him 30,000 and try to stall him with the next 15..but u saw it fit to steal all....smh u need more months in jail
  • mm (25/11/2020, 09:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Y'all can't hear..she lawyer days done.
  • pervert (25/11/2020, 10:18) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    @mm, really her laywer days down? Just for a little mishap like stealing? Is not as if she killed someone, it's just an honesty to goodness mistake, we do not have to take it so far, plus she is a local gal, we need to learn to cushioned and protect our locals no matter what, even if they commit a murder.
    We are all born BVISLANDERS and BVI nice.
  • Sheshe (25/11/2020, 12:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    She is in quarantine in one of the hotel in tola. I urge the management of this hotel to make sure they collect their money from her now . A nice girl who is going in quarantine in Bali for 6 months.

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