Court's message to get rich-quick scam victims: Get a job

The magistrate stressed that the law was increasingly being called upon to defend imbeciles

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A magistrate had strong words for people who have fallen for get rich quick scams as he denied bail to a woman accused of fleecing seven families out of some €105,000 in a scam involving detergent sales.

Childcare worker Tania Borg, 35, was charged by Inspector Anna Marie Xuereb and Elton Taliana with seven counts of fraud of over €5,000 each, misappropriation and falsification of documents, knowingly making use of falsified documents, relapsing and committing an offence during the operative period of a suspended sentence.

Xuereb told Magistrate Joe Mifsud how the police had been informed by a report from a one victim who had invested €30,000 and had been promised weekly returns. The victim went to the police after only receiving an iPhone for their trouble. Another couple, who Borg used to care for, were also fleeced out of €35,000.

Another woman, a nurse, had invested €30,000 with Borg which went up in smoke, the court was told.

The woman's final victim was coaxed into investing and had also convinced her family to join her. Her father had invested a life policy, worth over €100,000, which he had taken out for his children. This, too, was lost.

Borg pleaded not guilty to the charges. Her lawyer, Franco Debono, asked for bail.
“I understand the charges are what they are, but she is paying back the money. She has three children. Bail is in everybody’s interest as she would be able to work,” argued the lawyer.

Inspector Taliana said the victims had already given her time to pay them back and all she gave them were empty promises. The investigation is still ongoing and the risk to police witnesses of being suborned is real, he said, arguing that bail should be withheld at this stage.

The court noted that authorities were dealing with an increasing number of similar cases, to the point that the staff at the Economic Crimes Unit needed to be beefed up.

The court, without delving into the merits of the case, said it felt that it must appeal to society that “to make money, go to work or invest in serious institutions that truly leave returns and not enter into risks to make a quick buck and accept the bait of a person fishing for their money.”

“You must be an imbecile to invest in these scams. The law ends up defending imbeciles,” protested the magistrate. “ I want to tell these people to be careful and not come to us after getting bitten.”

Bail was denied.