No charges laid on local businessman found with large amount of cash

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Editors’ Note: This story is republished from The San Pedro Sun issue dated April 23rd at the request of Attorney of Law Estevan Perera.

Police-NewsOn Tuesday, April 7th San Pedro Police carried out a search in the home of 59-year-old American businessman, Scott Harnish. Harnish is the owner of the well-established island business, Palapa Bar. According to police, the search was a request on behalf of the Belize Customs Department. While the search did not lead to the discovery of any goods that would violate the Customs Laws and Regulations, police did find a large amount of cash.
Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit, Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott, stated that at 12PM, police visited the home of Harnish in the northern area of Ambergris Caye. Nothing illegal was found in the home, but police discovered $177,283.BZ stored away in a bucket. As such police detained Harnish and his wife, and took them to the San Pedro Police Station where they were questioned on the origin of the cash. The money amounted to $22,505 in Belizean currency and $77,389 in US currency. After preliminary investigation, police handed the cash over to the Financial Investigation Unit and Harnish and his wife were released on Wednesday, April 8th. Since the incident, police can confirm that there are no illegalities with the money, and as such, no charges were laid. The money was said to be family savings.
The San Pedro Sun contacted Harnish for a statement regarding the incident. Attorney of law, Estevan Perera, who represents the Harnishes issued an official response on Monday, April 27th. The release stated, “There were no charges filed against Mr. or Mrs. Harnish by any of the Government Departments, including the Police Department in Belize and with the assistance of their attorney Estevan Perera, their assets were returned to them. Once the funds were returned in was deposited immediately. Furthermore, both Mr. Harnish and his wife are known throughout San Pedro as upstanding, successful, friendly and hardworking persons in Belize and are greatly respected by the locals on San Pedro. The actions of the police were unjustified and that we hope as a community that other business owners and investors in Belize are not treated the same by the police on San Pedro in the future.”

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