St. John Tradewinds News

Felon Faces New Accusations

ST. THOMAS — A St. John woman who plead guilty to charges of impersonating a federal agent in 2014 was brought back to District Court this week, accused of a similar offense. At the time the new accusations surfaced, the woman was serving probation on the earlier case.

Defendant Alana Liburd, 36, and co-defendant Yamini Potter, 31, appeared Jan. 18 hearing where authorities said they violated the terms of supervised release issued by the court. The alleged violations occurred in 2016.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia Smith presented a probation officer familiar with the history of both defendants. In July 2015 the pair pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to defraud 11 people by representing themselves as FBI recruiters.

In the latest instance, Potter is accused of telling a woman on St. Croix he was the son of Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter and could help the woman get a government job. Federal probation officer Joia Peters produced police reports filed by the alleged victim.

The complainant also said she made contact with Liburd after paying money to secure work, as instructed by Potter. Peters said a phone number the victim was allegedly given to check their hiring status was traced back to Liburd.

Individuals placed on probation by the court as part of sentencing have a list of rules they must follow. Among them is to report any contact they have with law enforcement officers or police within 72 hours of contact. They are also instructed to obey all local and federal laws.

But the judge was dissatisfied after hearing the probation’s officer testimony. Gomez said he could not rule in the latest case against the pair until he saw a key witness in person.

Smith told the judge that allegations made on the witness stand by Peters were admissible. But Gomez said if the case became subject to appeal, a higher court would want to make sure the defendants had a chance to confront their accusers.

In another accusation Potter was accused of running up a hotel bill on St. Thomas and leaving without paying.

Both Potter and Liburd were also accused of violating probation by associating with known felons. In their case, each other. Defense lawyers representing them objected, saying the couple is in a longstanding personal relationship.

The judge ordered a continuance in the case.