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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » PROMINENT SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED JAMAICAN CPA PAMELLA WATSON, SENTENCED TO 78 MONTHS ON FRAUD CHARGES!

PROMINENT SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED JAMAICAN CPA PAMELLA WATSON, SENTENCED TO 78 MONTHS ON FRAUD CHARGES!

Pam Watson (Photo by David Muir)
Prominent South Florida and Caribbean American Chartered Accountant Pamella Watson, 61, was sentenced to 78 months in Broward Federal Court on Thursday morning. Watson who in October pled guilty to wire fraud faced up to 20 years on this charge.

However, based on her agreement to provide restitution of some $1.5 million of over $3.68 million she defrauded the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by falsifying tax returns she originally prepared for her clients, her sentenced was significantly reduced. At Thursday’s sentencing hearing both the Watson’s lawyer Bruce  Rogow and the prosecuting attorney seemed to be in agreement in recommending a 48 month sentence for Watson. However, the judge decided on 6 years and six months likely to be served in the Federal Correctional Complex, Coleman 50 miles northwest of Orlando, Florida.

Watson was a prominent member of South Florida’s Caribbean-American community, serving on several community organizational boards, who operated her tax accounting business in North Miami since the early 1990s. She was arrested on May 20 on several charges including tax fraud, money laundering and wire fraud. However she accepted a plea bargain, and after agreeing to plead guilty to the wire fraud charges the other charges were dropped.

Pamela Watson

Pamella Watson

At her sentencing, her spouse Eric, and other prominent members of te Caribbean-American community including Joan Seaga –Gonzalez pleaded with the court to be lenient on Watson. All those who spoke in her support said they never knew Watson to anything less than honest and professional in her personal life and business dealings. Watson wept openly as her supporters spoke on her behalf.

Her attorney also received strong letters of support from several members of the South Florida Caribbean community, and from prominent Jamaicans in Jamaica, Watson’s country of origin.

Watson also addressed the court, and apologized to the community, her clients, relatives and friends “for being selfish, and creating such a mess.”

Rogow informed the court that Watson has agreed to make restitution from proceeds the sales of property in Miami and Jamaica. Watson was sought to increase the restitution through potential proceeds from the sale of her $1.5 million home in Davie, Florida, however this offer is still pending while the court asses the financial status of the property.

Local attorneys contacted after Watson’s sentencing said her sentencing “was more or less fair” especially since she agreed to make partial restitution. One attorney said since under federal sentencing requires a convict to serve at least three-quarter of their sentence she could be released after serving four years.

Watson has also been sentenced to serving three year supervised probation, on ending her time in federal prison.

Following her sentencing Watson family members expressed gratitude to those members of the community who offered support and prayers on Watson’s behalf. They also expressed relieve  that the sentencing was not the 20 years that she could have received.

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