Two accused of swindling €70,000 from elderly man

A man and a woman were remanded in custody after court hears victim felt intimidated after being defrauded


Ali Mohammed Hassan, 33, a plasterer from Palestine and living in Valletta, and Miriam Caruana, 34, a chambermaid from Valletta were arraigned in court today, accused of having swindled €70,000 from an elderly man over the period from December 2016 to October 2017.

The two were charged with having, using trickery and deception, obtained money from the victim, a man in his mid-80s, of having made use of objects meant for defrauding purposes, of having stolen valuables from the man, and of being recidivists.

The Court, presided by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, heard how the elderly man had filed a police report in October 2017, where he said that two people had been constantly demanding money from him.

One of them, Caruana, had been asking for money from the elderly man while she was an inmate at the Corradino Correctional Facility, saying she needed it for someone called “Alex”, who, it transpires, was actually Hassan. 

A number of telephone call recordings between the victim and Caruana were passed on to the police, confirming the elderly man’s claims. Police investigations showed that the two had defrauded the victim out of €70,000 over a ten-month period.

The prosecution objected to the defence’s request for bail since there were still eye-witnesses to the case who had to testify, including the victim who was feeling scared after what had transpired.

The defence argued that if the elderly man felt intimidated, the court could order the accused not to approach him, and could even issue a protection order.

The Court, referring to various national and European-level case law and legal opinions on human rights and continued detention, denied bail for the two accused, and remanded them in custody.

The case continues.

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