News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Jan. 30, 2013: Rickford Burke, president of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy, (CGID), is denying a report by a Guyana blog that he was arrested for identity theft.
The site, newguymedia.com, carried a headline that reads: “APNU Official Rickford Burke Charged With Identity Theft, Faces 3-7 Years In Prison.” In it, the article claims that Burke was arrested on January 15th last and that US prosecutors are alleging that he bought himself a Range Rover SUV on the credit of another person by falsely pretending to be that individual.
A photo of Burke, standing next to a White Range Rover SUV was published with the story. Burke told NAN the photo is an old one and was taken directly from his Facebook page. He said he previously owned the said vehicle but traded it in two years ago.
The article also claims Burke is charged with first-degree identity theft as “the total amount of goods, money, property or services, credit used, or other financial loss caused thereby exceeds US$2000″ and that he faces up 3 to 7 years in prison.
But Burke said the story is false and meant to cause him harm. He admitted he had an encounter with NYPD officers in January but was issued a traffic violation summons for being an “unlicensed driver” since he did not have his license on him when he was stopped.
He said the matter is currently under investigation by Internal Affairs since he was exiting his parked car and was not driving at the time of the incident.
Burke also claims the encounter led him and the officers to discover that he was the victim of identity theft, as someone or other persons have been driving under his name.
Multiple unpaid summonses, duplicate DMV records and SCOFFS violations and judgments resulting in multiple suspensions had accumulated under his name while the perpetrator/s also opened an HSBC credit card account in Burke’s name, using a false Queens, NY address, he said.
Burke said several websites, affiliated to Guyana’s ruling PPP government, of whom he is an ardent critic, “have with malicious intent,” published and circulated viciously erroneous information.
Burke’s said his attorney, Donnell Suares, has written to the owner and publisher of newguymedia.com, Clinton Dubissette, of 3123 Beverly Road Brooklyn, New York, advising that he has been retained to file a defamation lawsuit, and demanded that the false and defamatory material be removed and a full retraction published forthwith.
Suares, he said, will also file lawsuits against other individuals and entities that have also carried the story as well as the Guyana government’s NCN Channel 11.