Man charged with defrauding people out of €9,000 in a property rental scam

Mark Mallia has pleaded not guilty to defrauding a number of people in a property rental scam in Żabbar

A man has been remanded in custody after being charged with having defrauded several people out of at least €9,000 in a property rental scam.

Mark Mallia, 35, from Żabbar, was arraigned before Magistrate Ian Farrugia on Thursday.

Police Inspectors Darren Buhagiar and Keith Xerri charged Mallia with having, last November, defrauded a number of people by deceiving them into paying deposits for the lease of several apartments in Żabbar, which did not belong to him.

Mallia was also charged with defrauding a local cab company and misuse of electronic communication equipment, after gaining access to its online booking system.

The defendant had initially insisted on pleading guilty, but later retracted his plea after the magistrate explained that he could potentially be jailed for a considerable period of time.

Mallia consulted with his defence lawyer, Sue Mercieca, before confirming that he was pleading not guilty to the charges.

Bail was not requested.