Trinidad national security minister denies fraud allegation

Trinidad and Tobago National Security Minister Edmund Dillon is accused by an elderly “incapacitated,” American man known as Neville B. Piper of “financial abuse, exploitation and fraud.”

Responding to accusations of defrauding an incapacitated 88-year-old man of a high-rise condominium in Manhattan, New York, Dillon yesterday claimed that he is a close friend of the man.

Dillon also claimed both share a close friendship spanning more than 45 years and said it was this reason why he was given the property.

Speaking after a press conference for the Fused Response bilateral exercise with the United States government this morning, Dillon said that he was given the property by Neville Piper who he claimed was a close family friend and explained the property was procured through legal means.

Addressing calls for his resignation, Dillon said he was not going anywhere as there was no evidence to substantiate accusations made by Piper or his niece, who brought the matter before the New York Supreme Court.

In a civil matter filed the US Supreme Court documents alleged Dillion attempted to defraud Piper of his money and his Manhattan, New York, condo (valued around $2 million) last year, the Trinidad and Tobago Express reported on Friday, March 23, 2018.

An order filed by his attorneys claim that Piper, an alleged incapacitated person (AIP), transferred 50 percent of his condominium, located at 301 Cathedral Parkway, Uptown Manhattan to Edmund Dillon.

The court document said; “the purportedly signature of Piper on the deed and transfer documents does not appear to be Pier’s signature and the elderly man denied ever executing such documents and denies any recollection of the transaction.”

In a 13-page report submitted to the court by court evaluator, attorney Patricia Powis, who visited Piper at the New Jewish Hone in Manhattan where he is undergoing medical treatment, Piper said he “did not have any recollection of having given an interest in his apartment to Mr. Dillion.”

He had a copy of the deed in his possession with his signature. What the document showed, according to the Express, in one instance was the closure of an Oppenheimer invest account and some US$459,504,09 withdrawn on Nov. 10, 2017.

It also showed some 50 percent interest was deeded to Edmund Dillon, subject to turnover proceeding by temporary guardian for the condo in the sum of US$900,000.

In addition, the report pointed to unexplained withdrawals from Piper’s Citibank account in August 2017 totaling some US$5,000 and also a teller’s check to Ernest Wilson (Dillon’s attorney) for some US$50,000 and also on Nov. 11, a check written to Edmund Dillon in the sum of US$5,000

The document also indicated: “a review of this power of attorney, dated Aug. 21, 2917, indicated that Neville Piper did not give Edmund Dillon a statutory gift rider and authority to give gifts. He did not also give Edmund Dillon the authority to do banking transactions. This power of attorney and any other prior advanced directives were revoked by this Court in an order dated Dec. 5, 2017.

The court ordered in its conclusion that Dillon returns all misappropriated assets and funs. And in the restraining order, it indicated Dillon and Wilson were “prohibited and restrained from transferring, secreting or disposing of any monies or assets which either or both of them took or received from or on behalf of Piper and or documents and records relating to Piper or his assets which are in the custody, possession or control of either or both of them.”

Dillion is former major general in the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force and is a member of National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.

He was appointed National Security Minister when the PNM came into office in 2015.

The Express said several calls to Dillion’s mobile phone went unanswered.

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