Nine 'holidaymakers' jailed for running illegal gambling scheme

Nine people were jailed for three months for running an illegal gambling operation in Valletta 

Nine people have been jailed after the Police disrupted a Romanian gang which ran an illegal gambling operation.

Seven men and two women: Mihail Lupu, 55, Andrei Marin, 32, Ionut-Eduard Moisa, 20, Gheorghe Morarescu, 48, Ioana-Beatrice Budascu 23, Constantin-Bobii Stroica, 28, Laura-Alexandra Cercelaru, 21 and Alexandru-Constantin Enache, 33, were arraigned before magistrate Charmaine Galea this afternoon, accused of participating in an unlicensed and illegal gambling scheme, breaching the Lotteries and Other Games Act and taking bets or wagers without authorisation.

All the Romanians live in the same address at Qawra and have been in Malta for just three days. None of them work in Malta, although some worked abroad.

They arrived on Saturday as a holiday group and were leaving the next Saturday, the court was told.

READ MORE: Ten people arrested in Valletta for illegal gambling

Lawyer Josette Sultana told the court that they wished to file an admission. They had not known that this was a crime, she said, as the eldest man protested loudly to the court in Romanian.

Inspector Daryl Borg, prosecuting together with Inspector Alfredo Mangion, presented the court with over €700 in the group’s takings. He exhibited some cups, a mat and other objects related to the gambling activity. 

The court, after pointing out that the maximum punishment for the crimes was that of five years in prison, in view of the admission, sentenced the group to three months prison. The gang’s illicit proceeds were confiscated.

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