Inaction over fraudster’s absconding leaves husband frustrated

Croatian fraudster, 35, absconded, after being accused by her husband of abducting their daughter to flee Malta, in spite of a court injunction and criminal investigation

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
27 September 2017, 7:36am
Andreas Wil Gerdes has accused his wife Anika De Vilera of abducting their daughter and fleeing Malta
Andreas Wil Gerdes has accused his wife Anika De Vilera of abducting their daughter and fleeing Malta
Mystery still shrouds the absconding of Anika De Vilera, a Croatian fraudster whose husband accuses her of abducting their daughter to flee Malta, despite a court injunction and a criminal investigation.

The 35-year-old, real name Anika Sljokavica, inexplicably slipped past border control late last December, despite Malta’s family court provisionally upholding a warrant of prohibitory injunction, stopping her from taking the child abroad.

Husband Andreas Wil Gerdes, a German entrepreneur, has said their one-year-old daughter Aurelia, who suffers from congenital hydrocephalus, requires constant supervision and proximity to a Malta-based medical team.

De Vilera is no stranger to the news, hitting the headlines in December 2016 when a Maltese court ordered her to pay over €80,000 to one of her many creditors. 

At least 11 other people have filed fraud reports about her to the Maltese police, starting in 2015. Her victims range from catering suppliers, to shipping, childcare and property rental companies.

On the internet, the website anikadevilera.com even details De Vilera’s history of fraud in a number of countries, together with a psychiatric history of the mother of two. 

The website claims the woman’s history of fraud stretches back 12 years.

In April 2017, De Vilera hit the headlines again for allegedly enticing a 65-year-old Serbian woman to Malta to work as a nanny. The woman claims De Vilera ‘enslaved’ her at her Sliema home.

A German psychiatrist had already diagnosed De Vilera in 2008 with histrionic personality disorder with anti-social and paranoid tendencies, citing a “profound pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships with the tendency to theatrical and fraudulent behaviour.”

Her victims reported a similar pattern of behaviour: De Vilera would convince them to give her money for a believable, though false, enterprise, gaining their trust by initially paying on time. Sooner or later the payments would stop and be replaced by a string of excuses, and finally, silence.

A former boyfriend also filed a criminal complaint with the Malta fraud squad in October 2016. After the relationship ended, he said, she followed him to the Czech Republic with a story about her new boyfriend’s plans to evict her from her Maltese home and her inability to afford sending her son to school. The story subsequently turned out to be false.

His lawyer Joseph Mizzi wrote to the fraud squad in October 2016 saying that De Vilera entered into a loan agreement with a local company for €28,200 in order to pay outstanding tax to Croatia – this was primarily granted on the basis of the good relationship between her boyfriend and the owner of the company.

The date of repayment passed without any payment being made. The company later learned that the Croatian tax department had not received a cent.

In December Mizzi again wrote to Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, asking that De Vilera be arrested upon her return to Malta from Portugal. 

His email had been preceded some weeks before with a warning that De Vilera was planning to abscond from Malta for good.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...