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Gambling addict faked kidnapping

Published: 
Friday, May 25, 2018

A Couva housewife lied to the police about being kidnapped along with her son for a $30,000 ransom because she gambled away all her husband’s money.

Sapna Chinyan, 33, gave the excuse when she appeared in the Couva Magistrates Court charged with wasteful employment of police. She pleaded guilty but her sentencing was put off to give her an opportunity to join the Trinidad - Gamblers Anonymous at Rosalino Street, Port-of-Spain.

Prosecutor Sgt Lincoln Bonnett said Chinyan went to the Couva Police Station around 10.40 am where she reported the kidnapping.

She said around 7.30 am last Thursday four unarmed men abducted her and her six-year-old son from their Carli Bay Road home. She said the kidnappers took them in a Nissan Almera to a location along the Southern Main Road, Claxton Bay, where they demanded the ransom.

Chinyan claimed the men allowed her to leave to collect the ransom money but they kept her son until she returned. Chinyan said they were released after she paid the money.

PC Visham Ramoutar of the Couva CID conducted inquiries, including viewing CCTV footage, which did not corroborate her story. When confronted with that information, Chinyan admitted she lied.

Through her attorney Natasha Mongroo, Chinyan asked Senior Magistrate Siumongal Ramsaran for leniency. Mongroo said Chinyan who is married with one child has a gambling problem and spent the $30,000.

“She could not account for it and in her mind, that was the only way,” said the attorney. Mongroo said the $30,000 was all the money in her husband’s bank account.

“She is apologetic. She understands what she did was wrong. She genuinely has a problem,” said the attorney. She said Chinyan gambled before but never this amount of money. Chinyan’s family did not know she had a problem.

She said Chinyan does food catering but she has been out of work since the economy slowed down. Asking for Chinyan to be placed on a bond, Mongroo said she was also willing to submit to any form of counselling. “She wants to reform herself and rekindle her family situation,” said Mongroo.

Acknowledging that gambling is an addiction, the magistrate said the correct approach is to treat the addiction as a disease.

“Let her get in contact with gamblers anonymous and let her come back and tell me she has enrolled herself in the programme. Then I will decide what her sentencing is going to be,” said the magistrate, as he adjourned the matter to June 11.

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