Fraudster gets 4-year jail term and over €174,000 repayment to victims

Luke Zerafa

A man will spend four years in prison and will have to repay over Lm75,000 (over €174,000), he conned two men out of over a decade ago.

Building contractor Antonio Vassallo had defrauded two businessmen out of the sum of money for land in Birżebbuġa known as ‘tal-gass’, back in 2006. Although money changed hands, the promise of sale did not happen.

Vassallo is understood to have continually made excuses for why the sale had not materialized, one of which being that, ‘someone was at Mount Carmel [psychiatric hospital].’

Within that time, Vassallo is understood to have used some of the amount Lm25,000 (€58,234), to place a down payment on a boat.

When both men concluded that they had been swindled, they filed a police complaint against the contractor.

Despite being prosecuted, the contractor pled not guilty to the crime.

During the court, presiding Magistrate Ian Farrugia explained that given it had been six years since he had been given the case, the court, ‘would waste no more time with this case.’

The court determined that the accused had created, ‘a planned and convincing swindle’ against the two complainants to take their money.

The court also took into account previous property transactions between the accused and the complainants.

Ultimately, the accused was sentenced to 4 years in jail and forced to repay the Lm75,000 (€174,702), back to his victims.

The prosecution was led by Assistant Commissioner Ian Abdilla.