Car electrician admits to scamming customers to fund drug addiction

A Mellieħa resident admitted to fraud and misappropriation charges for scamming customers who paid him for car tuning and electrical repairs he never did

File photo
File photo

A car electrician and tuner has been released on bail, pending a pre-sentencing report, after he admitted to scamming a number of his customers by withholding down payments for work which he failed to carry out, to fund his crack cocaine addiction.

The 25-year-old defendant, who cannot be named due to a court-ordered ban, had advertised services such as car tuning, remapping, supplies parts and other electrical repairs.

Several individuals had filed police reports informing the authorities that they had paid deposits for the electrician’s services and products, but had never received any products or services in return. Calls to his phone number went unanswered, they said and he would also change his phone number regularly.

Inspectors Doriette Cuschieri and Jonathan Cassar charged the Mellieha resident with several counts of fraud and misappropriation.

A guilty plea was filed by the defendant.

Defence lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Jacob Magri requested the court order a pre-sentencing report, suggesting that the defendant’s mother would refund the victims in full in the meantime. The prosecution agreed with this suggestion.

The defendant had already started to address his drug problem by himself, argued Azzopardi, adding however, that both the defendant and his mother, who was present in court today, wanted him to be kept in line by the long arm of the court.

The prosecution declared that it was not objecting to either of the defence’s requests, in view of the early guilty plea and the stated intention to repay the victims.

After taking these arguments into consideration, Magistrate Abigail Critien upheld the request for bail and imposed a temporary order of supervision over the defendant for the duration of the criminal proceedings against him.

A ban on the publication of the name of the defendant was also issued, after both parties

approached the bench and discussed this matter in private.

The court was informed that the defendant was unable to deposit his ID card in court, as it had been “seized by the Irish authorities.”

“I am being very lenient here,” remarked the magistrate as she granted the man bail, pending the report’s completion, against a €500 deposit and a €2,000 personal guarantee.