The Virgin Islands Police Force tagged fraud charges on a St. Croix duo Thursday who allegedly swiped a half million dollars in COVID-19 relief funds.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested Kenyetta Riddick, 56, as she attempted to board a flight from Henry Rohlsen Airport. She and Andrew John, 43, also arrested Thursday, were charged with violations of the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and more: participating in frauds on creditors, obtaining money by false pretense, fraudulent claims upon the government, access to computer for fraudulent purposes, and grand larceny.
VIPD alleges Riddick and John — who were not government employees, police said — infiltrated a U.S. Virgin Islands Office of Management and Budget account containing 2020 Government of the Virgin Islands COVID Economic Stimulus funds. They allegedly helped themselves to $500,000 over some months. OMB noticed during an internal audit and notified police. The Economic Crimes Unit started investigating June 9, 2023.
Despite the alleged haul, neither Riddick nor John posted $100,000 for bail, police said. They were processed and remanded to the Golden Grove Detention Facility pending an advice of rights hearing.
The investigation continues, said VIPD spokesperson Kishma Chichester.