A court in The Bahamas ordered the seizure of $71,980 from an Atlanta-based tourist as punishment for understating the amount of money he was traveling with.
According to The Nassau Guardian, Ranjodjh Pannu, on January 30, told US Customs and Border agents at Lynden Pindling International Airport the amount of cash he was traveling with was $52,000. He actually had $71,980, meaning he reportedly understated the amount by almost $20,000.
But the forfeiture of the hefty sum wasn’t Pannu’s only punishment for the false declaration as he was also fined $500. The order of forfeiture and fine also came after the Atlanta-based realtor admitted to the offense during his arraignment.
Pannu told Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt it was not his intention to understate his money at the airport. He claimed he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of counting the money at the hotel, adding that it was an honest mistake. The accused also called on the magistrate to consider “dismissing the case.”
Pannu also spoke about his time in jail and suggested the night he spent behind bars before his court appearance was enough punishment, The Nassau Guardian reported. “These jails here are really bad. My dignity is gone. I’m really embarrassed,” he recalled.
But the chief magistrate said dismissing the case was impossible as such an offense was usually punishable by a $2,000 fine and two years’ imprisonment. Pannu, however, was not slapped with the maximum penalty. Instead, he received the aforementioned punishment.
He was eventually released after he paid the fine with a credit card. That was after he told the court that was his only payment option as the court had seized all of his cash.