Dustman conned woman into giving him €29,000 then gambled it away

Street sweeper duped woman into giving him €29,000 to obtain social housing using his non-existent contacts

Let me take that money off your hands...
Let me take that money off your hands...

A conman who duped a woman into handing over €29,000 in return for him using non-existent contacts to obtain social housing for her, has been placed on probation and ordered to repay his victim over 10 years.

Street sweeper Noel Bonello, 38 from Zabbar, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and misappropriation before Magistrate Charmaine Galea this morning.

Bonello is understood to have convinced his victim that he knew someone at the Housing Authority who could obtain social housing for her. The woman had gone to the police after the promised accommodation failed to materialise.

Lawyer Alessandro Lia, defence counsel together with lawyer Pawlu Lia, explained that the man was addicted to gambling. He had not converted the money into profit, the lawyer said, but had used it to finance his gambling habit. 

Lia pointed out that the man had filed an early guilty plea and had a relatively clean criminal record. Bonello was willing to submit to a treatment plan to address his addiction, his lawyer said. The

The court placed Bonello under a three-year probation order and a treatment order. It also ordered Bonello to pay back the €29,000, in monthly repayments of €250 due to his low salary.

“Sir, you had a case for imprisonment,” said the magistrate. “But had you gone to prison you would have had to refund the money anyway. You have 10 years to repay it.”

The court warned the man that he would be jailed if he breached the conditions of his probation. Inspector Doriette Cuschieri prosecuted.

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