Published On: Tue, Oct 5th, 2021

More prison time looms for former MP Frans Richardson

PHILIPSBURG — There is more trouble on the horizon for former parliamentarian Frans Richardson, the founder of the United St. Maarten party (USp). On November 16, the Court in First Instance will hand down its verdict against Richardson in the Aquamarine II-trial.

The Public Prosecutor has demanded a 24-month prison sentence. The prosecutor also wants to take away Richardson’s passive voting rights for four years.

In January 2020 the court already sentenced Richardson to a 36-month prison sentence at the conclusion of the Emerald-trial. It took away his passive voting rights (the right to be elected) for five years.

The prosecutor wants to seize $483,100 from the former politician. One part ($113,105) has to do with the Aquamarine-investigation and another $370,000 with the Emerald-case.

The Aquamarine-investigation focuses on kickbacks Richardson solicited from a construction company after an insurance company had paid for damages the building of the Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP) suffered during Hurricane Irma.

The Aquamarine I-investigation is still ongoing. The main suspect in this investigation is BTP-director Anthony Carty, a business partner of Richardson. Pending the completion of this investigation, Carty has been suspended.

In 2020, the court sentenced Richardson for tax fraud and for taking $370,000 in bribes in exchange for his political support for a dredging contract. This conviction is part of the Emerald II-investigation into fraud at the Harbor Group of Companies.