Guatemalan woman arrested for fraudulent attempt at SSB

A 26 year old Guatemalan woman was detained by San Ignacio police on Friday after she allegedly tried to apply for a Belizean social security card at the SSB branch in Santa Elena. The woman reportedly had a fraudulent Belizean birth certificate and was also in possession of a Guatemalan passport. Police told us more.

ACP Joseph Myvette, NCIB:

In San Ignacio, police received a report from the Social Security Board that one Wendy Castro arrived there at the social security office in San Ignacio on Friday evening and presented a Belizean Birth Certificate for which she intended to apply for a social security card. As a result the police was called and she was interviewed and detained. She was found in possession of her Guatemalan passport and during the course of the investigation the police also found out that in October 2014 she had already made an attempt to apply for a social security card with a Guatemalan Birth Certificate and was refused. She has since been arrested and charged for obtaining a Birth Certificate under false pretense. 

Castro is reportedly almost 8 months pregnant and was detained over the weekend at the San Ignacio jail. Reports over the weekend were that Attorney Michel Chebat and other PUP representatives made their way to the Police station to demand that police give the woman police bail. However, According to Chebat, it is a fabrication by a UDP operative. He says he had never met the woman before Friday and due to other legal obligations, he is no longer her legal representative. However, he says that the woman’s family called him on Friday and he went to the police station as her legal representative. He says due to her condition, he asked if she could be moved to a more comfortable room in the police station until it was decided if she would be charged and granted police bail. Chebat says as the woman’s representative, that was a normal process and he and OC Rosado had an amicable discussion regarding the case. He says at no time did he make any demands or tried to exert any pressure on the police.

Attorney at Law, Michel Chebat

When I left the police station on Friday around 6pm or so about 15 or 20 minutes later I got a text from a reporter at Channel 7, telling me that Alberto August had called in and was complaining that me along with other PUP operatives were pressuring the officer in San Ignacio to release the lady and she was a flight risk. There is nothing further from the truth. That is absolutely not so, that is absolutely not so. The lady, from the information I have, is either married or in a common-law relationship with a Belizean. They live in Santa Elena. The lady has a Belizean child and she’s expecting another child. What I did at the police station is what I do for every single client. I am an Attorney and I make no excuses for that. When we have a client whose detained we try to get them charged and on bail as quickly as the process permits. I don’t know about anyone who can pressure the police into doing anything they don’t want to do. So the allegation that I went there personally to try and pressure the officer in charge to release this woman is false.

Chebat says it is a political game but it is misguided since as a member of the opposition PUP at this point, he has no strings to pull and cannot exert any political pressure on the police.

Attorney at Law, Michel Chebat

I don’t even know if she is in fact in possession of a birth certificate. Right, that’s how much of the case I don’t know. Like I said, I just got involved Friday evening about 4:30 quarter to 5 with this matter. So I don’t know when, where, how, and if at all she is in possession of a birth certificate as they say. When I saw Mr. Rosado the officer in charge I ask him if this was a matter in which he could give police bail and he told me that he was uncertain and he was seeking advice on it. I did not even offer my own legal opinion as to whether or not he could offer police bail. I left it as that. I left it at his discretion.

Again, Chebat says he is not representing the accused Castro anymore. His representation ran from Friday to Saturday evening. He was asked if he has relinquished representation due to political heat. Here is how he responded.

Attorney at Law, Michel Chebat

I relinquish because she had to be before the magistrate this morning and I could not be there and I know she needs legal representation. So I could not be there. I had to be in the Supreme Court this morning and she was to be brought before the San Ignacio magistrate court.

We understand that Castro was arraigned today.

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