The Malta Independent 20 November 2017, Monday

Woman guilty of fraud given suspended sentence, ordered to pay over €100,000

Friday, 20 October 2017, 12:32 Last update: about 30 days ago

A 49-year-old woman has been given a suspended sentence after defrauding a man between 2004 and 2005.

Grace Gatt was accused of defrauding Gozitan John Attard.

The Gozitan man worked for the Department of Education in Gozo, and said that he first made contact with Gatt when he hired her to collect debts from a third party. She was paid for this work.

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At around this time, the court noted, a dispute arose between the victim and another man who worked worked with him, and also had an interest in the same debtor. The accused convinced Attard that his colleague was going to take some form of retaliatory action.

The accused said she would fix the problem by intervening through the minister, as she knew people close to the minister, but the victim would need to pay her. The court noted that it was a certain Lourdes Castillo who would pick up the cash for the accused, amounting to around Lm60,000.

The court also noted that Attard also got to know a friend of Castillo, who at the time was a minor and thus her name cannot be published, sending her inappropriate mobile phone messages. Attard alleged that the accused and Castillo got to know about these messages and threatened that if he does not pay a sum of money, they would report him to the police. They requested Lm20,000.

Castillo, the court noted, had admitted to acting on the instructions of the accused.

The accused was found not guilty of trading in influence, but found her guilty of fraud. She was found not guilty of threatening John Attard due to time-barring.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke sentenced Gatt to two-years imprisonment suspended for four years, and ordered her to pay back the sum of €102,492, equivalent to Lm44,000 in six months.

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