Ex-Defence Force star Josimar Belgrave is one of two former soldiers who were charged with a combined 162 fraud and corruption matters in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Belgrave, a private, and Jason Richards, a lance corporal, were accused of stealing TT$1.4 million from the State by fraudulent means between February and July 2017. Both men are 31 years old and, as per Defence Force rules, were fired from the Regiment once charges were formally laid.
Belgrave, a versatile attacker who can play upfront or in an attacking midfield role, is a two-time Pro League champion with Defence Force while he also led the the Army/Coast Guard combination to the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) crown two years ago and finished as top scorer in the process.
Belgrave himself never played for Trinidad and Tobago at senior international level but his younger brother, Elijah Belgrave, who represents Police FC in the Pro League, won two national caps under former coach Stephen Hart.
His sister, Rhea Belgrave, was a key member of the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team during their Canada 2015 Women’s World Cup campaign and is also a former NSCAA All-American with West Texas A&M University.
Senior Magistrate Nanette Forde-John heard yesterday that Richards, an accounts clerk with the Regiment, allegedly stole over $1 million by inflating his and Belgrave’s rental allowances through the falsification of the human resources record.
Belgrave was accused of wilfully transferring and disposing of the funds, knowing them to be the proceeds of criminal misconduct.
The offences were alleged to have taken place in the Port-of-Spain, Arima, Tunapuna and Chaguanas areas.
Police prosecutor Inspector Winston Dillon objected to bail on the grounds that the accused may interfere with or intimidate witnesses.
However, the magistrate granted bail in the sum of TT$375,000 to the two accused for offences allegedly committed in the Port-of-Spain district. Bail was denied for offences allegedly committed in other districts, though, and Belgrave and Richards were remanded into police custody until they complete their tour of the relevant Magistrates’ Courts.
Belgrave, who was represented by attorney Stephen Wilson, and Richards, represented by Darryl Worrell, are due to re-appear in the Port-of-Spain Court on 14 November.
Belgrave is one of three members of the Defence Force’s title winning 2012-13 team who are in jail at present. Versatile 23-year-old winger Ross Russell Jr and speedy 35-year-old attacker Balondemu Julius were incarcerated last year for the murder of then 28-year-old Diego Martin resident Selwyn Gaff.
On 6 June 2016, Gaff died of a gunshot wound after being found by police barely alive in the Macqueripe forest. He had allegedly been shot in the abdomen on the previous day and left for dead.
Two other 2012-13 team members, Kevon Carter and Rawle Fletcher, passed away in tragic circumstances.
The 30-year-old Carter, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, died of a heart attack on 28 February 2014, after collapsing during a training session.
Fletcher, 31, was murdered on 22 December 2013 outside the Sandy Annan Bar near his home in Preysal, Couva. His close friend, Mitra Maharaj, and a 19-year-old bystander, Anil Diram, were also killed.