Couple charged over fake banking app that scammed customers out of €9,000

The couple scammed a group of BOV customers out of thousands by creating a mobile app, impersonating the bank

File photo
File photo

A Filipino couple have been charged with scamming a group of BOV customers out of thousands by creating a mobile app, impersonating the bank.

42-year-old Arvin Guerrero Silos and his wife Jemelyn Aliga Silos, 40, both residing at Pieta, were arraigned before magistrate Joe Mifsud on charges of fraud and money laundering.

Asked what they did for a living, Arvin told the court that he was a deckhand and Jemelyn said she was a carer, although she was registered as a housekeeper.

 The court was told that the couple had allegedly scammed five individuals out of a total of €9,000 with their fake mobile banking app.

 Defence lawyer Joe Giglio told the court that Arvin Guerrero Silos was admitting the fraud charges, but not those relating to money laundering, while Jemelyn Aliga Silos was denying all of the charges. Giglio said that although some apps were registered in her name, she had not been aware of what was going on.

The court upheld the prosecution’s request for a freezing order over the couple’s assets.

Giglio requested bail for the accused, arguing that they had strong ties to Malta, had two children here and had been living here for the past 14 years.

The prosecution did not object to the defence’s request for bail, despite voicing concerns about the fact that the man worked on a boat. The defence replied that the boat in question was 33 metres long and could not easily be used to escape.

Giglio added that the owner of the boat was prepared to prevent the accused from disembarking the vessel, which is currently berthed at Manoel Island.

 The accused were released on bail against a €2,000 deposit and a personal guarantee of €20,000 each. They were ordered to sign a bail book every day, observe a curfew and not to leave Malta without the court’s prior permission.

Police inspector Clive Brimmer from the FCID and Police Inspector Marcus Cachia from the Cybercrime Unit prosecuted, assisted by lawyers Andreas Vella and Nathaniel Falzon from the Office of the Attorney General.