Woman escapes money charge conviction

Thursday July 23, 2015 Written by Published in Crime

An American woman caught with undeclared currency totalling $196,000 claimed her medication stopped her from correctly filling out her departure form. 

Jana Olsen, 47, who resides in California, appeared in the High Court yesterday charged with presenting Customs officers with a false departure declaration. She was discharged without conviction and ordered to pay $30 court costs.

On July attempting to leave the Cook Islands from Rarotonga International Airport, Olsen declared that she was not carrying $NZ10,000 or more. When given another opportunity to declare money in her possession and asked to sign an additional form, she again denied carrying such amounts.

However, when Customs officers searched her bags, they found $US17,805 cash, $US$114,000 worth of cheques and other amounts of cash in various foreign currencies.

Olsen told Customs officers that someone else had packed her bags, or that the currency was implanted, and that someone had got rid of her medication, which caused her be unable to concentrate.

She later pleaded guilty and admitted in court to running out of her medication, Adderall, which she said she relied on to function normally.

Olsen said she had not taken her medication that day, which meant she was unable distinguish fact from fiction correctly and unable fill out documents correctly.

Prosecution for Customs and Border Protection, Adam Sumbak, said they were seeking a conviction.

Sumbak said Customs believed Olsen had knowingly presented falsified documents.

However, defence lawyer Norman George told the court he was seeking a discharge without conviction for Olsen.

He asked that the matter be dealt with quickly so she could get back to her two children.

“She would prefer a clean record, be allowed to go home and come back later to apply for the restoration of goods,” he said.

George said Olsen was ‘petrified’ of a conviction and the impact it might have on her ability to do diplomatic work in the future.

He presented the court with an expired diplomatic passport as proof of Olsen’s previous status, doing diplomatic work in St Kitts, in the West Indies.

Justice Colin Doherty said the effects a conviction would have on her ability to do more diplomatic work in the future, and in any custody battles with her former husband, outweighed her guilt in the matter.


  • Comment Link jess Friday, 24 July 2015 03:46 posted by jess

    Lets all admit it... she had the best lawyer... surprise surprise

  • Comment Link Mary Hughes Thursday, 23 July 2015 16:09 posted by Mary Hughes

    Believe me she is laughing at you Cook Islanders for being stupid. People like her knows how to manipulate the system and use medications for a lame excuse. Oh sorry was she on Ativan for her anxiety? Oh maybe hydrocodone for her chronic pain? Oooopss sorry maybe some Chlonazepam and all other crap that gives her the reason to lie? She is lieing and you all know it! And then Cook Islanders gets penalized for some stupid amount of cannibas? Paore nei kotou!

  • Comment Link Eric Thursday, 23 July 2015 11:35 posted by Eric

    Amazing how this person got away with her scam, if she can't figure out truth from fiction when not taking medication I guess she should be a diplomat! the courts in the Cook Islands are a joke letting this woman off and allowing her to keep all of the money where did it come from? maybe drugs illegal activity? who knows but so long as she can be a diplomat then that's okay... Nice to have some one like that representing your county. If she was caught doing this in any other country she would have not only lost her money but be put in jail where she belongs

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