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Real estate developer to be sentenced January 30

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Real estate developer to be sentenced January 30

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 25, 2019

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Real Estate developer Devon Evans, who collected $8.5 million from a couple as part payment for a proposed development on a property which he did not own and had no plan of developing, is to be sentenced on January 30 in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

Evans was reported to the Real Estate Board in 2010 after he failed to return the couple’s money.

However, on January 9 Evans of North American Holding Co Ltd, who was arrested and charged on July 23, 2017 was found guilty by Parish Judge Maxine Ellis on January 9.

The prosecution presented evidence that in 2008 the couple made a down payment of $8.5 million to Evans on a proposed apartment unit on Wellington Drive in St Andrew, which should have been completed in 2009.

However the couple, after receiving several revised dates for the start of construction which did not materialise, demanded a refund of their deposit. The demand was not met.

Consequently, the couple reported the matter to the Real Estate Board and the police, which resulted in Evans being arrested and charged.

After his arrest, Evans offered the couple an alternative unit which required an additional payment of $7.425 million.

The coupled said they unwillingly accepted to pay for the new apartment and in 2013 paid the money to Evans. However, it was not until 2016 that were given possession of the unit.

Consequently, the court found that in dealing directly with the couple, Evans deliberately sought to take and convert $8.5 million downpayment under false pretence, given that the development never commenced and neither the developer nor his company owned the land which should have been the subject of the housing complex.

The court further found that Evans should have returned the couple’s deposit when it was requested, since no development had taken place.

In the meantime, Evans’ conviction has been greeted by the Real Estate Board as a major victory on behalf of purchasers.

“This is a significant victory as the board wants to send a loud and unequivocal message to all developers or anyone in the real estate industry who callously and blatantly tries to swindle innocent persons out of their hard-earned money. What we have here is a case of wanton disregard for the purchasers which often robs persons of a lifetime dream which they have sacrificed so much for,” said Real Estate Board CEO Sandra Garrick.

Evans’ bail was extended for him to return to court following his conviction.

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