Thursday, November 26th, 2015. BMG: David Nanes Schnitzer, the American fugitive wanted for his role in a multi-million dollar ponzi-scheme, is probably sitting on a beach somewhere sipping a margarita patting himself on the back after Belizean authorities managed to let him slip away so effortlessly.
Schnitzer, who is wanted in Mexico, apparently has a bit of the “El Chapo” flair in him, having evaded authorities in the United States, Mexico and of course, great Belize. Needless to say, authorities in those countries are fuming at the level of incompetency Belize’s justice system has shown.
Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action (COLA) and the opposition have both voiced concern over the way Schnitzer’s case was handled.
The guy is a multi-millionaire (which probably has something to do with him escaping justice) international fugitive; authorities knew it when they arrested him; he was found with a multitude of fraudulent documents including Belizean nationality documents including a passport, permanent residency card, voter’s ID, both San Pedro Town and Belize City driver’s licenses, a boat captain license and even a Social Security card , so of course the natural thing to do was to grant him bail because obviously he wasn’t a flight risk.
Mexico has had an arrest warrant for Nanes Schnitzer since 2011 for unauthorized securities transactions within the country. He allegedly defrauded Mexican investors of US $42 million.
Belize officials, however, refused to allow his extradition Schnitzer faced charges here in Belize for producing a forged document. He first appeared in court on Friday, November 6th, where he pled guilty to the charge of having a fraudulent driver’s license (SP-2269) which was found on the day of his arrest.
On his second hearing on Friday, November 9th, Schnitzer changed his plea from guilty to not guilty under advice from his Attorney-at-law Liesje Barrow Chung in hopes of being granted bail. Magistrate Smith, however, did not grant him bail, stating that he was a flight risk, and as such he was remanded to Central Prison.
It was not until his third court appearance that Nanes Schnitzer was granted bail by Justice Hanomansingh, who indicated that he was doing so as he did not believe Schnitzer was a flight risk. The bail was set at $10,000 plus one surety of the same amount, which he easily met.
Being out on bail for forgery required Nanes Schnitzer to surrender all his traveling documents and report to the San Pedro Police Station twice a week, and surprisingly, he never did.
The concern that COLA and the opposition has raised is that either Belize’s government departments are so incompetent that they failed miserably to identify Schnitzer’s fraudulent documents and provide him with nationality or simply that they were implicit in his illegal actions.
Whatever the case may be, most likely no-one will be held accountable, the activist groups and opposition will quiet down in a matter of weeks or days, the public will forget this case and everyone’s attention will be turned elsewhere while Schnitzer finishes that margarita on the beach, under his new identity, which he most likely has or will assume with the help of crooked officials in his next destination.
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