A Maltese woman has been charged with embezzling three people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and using the money to fuel her casino gambling.
Anna Cutajar, 60, of Zabbar was charged with fraud, fraudulent gain and money laundering, according to Malta Today.
Cutajar was also charged for knowingly benefiting from the proceeds of crime, as well as hiding the provenance property acquired through criminal activity.
Cutajar apparently survived on social benefits to survive. She used several tricks to deceive her victims, including pretending to have cancer and asking for money to pay for treatment. At other times, she claimed to be trying to collect money for a friend’s dying son.
Karl Muscat, a prosecutor at the Office of the Attorney General, told the court that she was a professional con woman.
Admission of Guilt
The Attorney General is investigating the case because the amount of fraud was more than €50,000 ($57,090). Cutajar is accused of swindling the victims out of around €470,000 ($536,552). The court was informed that “not one cent” was recovered, which could be an indication that she was a better con artist than gambler.
Cutajar admitted to all charges during her interrogation. She had threatened to harm herself when she was told that she would face arraignment. Cutajar was then transferred to Mount Carmel Hospital to be monitored as a result of her threats. She was released earlier today from the facility and taken straight to court, where she reversed course and pleaded not guilty.
Magistrate Demicoli noted the woman’s plea of not guilty and bail was not requested. She will be held under psychiatric care at a hospital.
Sean Xerri de Caro, a lawyer from the Office of the Attorney General and Shaun Spiteri, Inspectors Claire Borg & Shaun Spiteri, were also involved in prosecuting the con artist.
Con Artists Always Find a Victim
The casino industry is no stranger to other recent scams.
This past March, Jason Haddigan, a long-time con artist who targeted bookmakers in England and Wales, was banned from the shops for his involvement in a conspiracy to rip off dozens of Ladbrokes offices.
His history dates back almost a decade and he has already served time for his wayward entrepreneurial spirit. However, that didn’t stop him from repeating his activity when he was released, or from capitalizing on it through a book, How And Why I Conned The Bookies.
In another recent case, Matthew O’Callaghan, defrauded individuals to fund is lavish lifestyle.
Last December, O’Callaghan, from Bergen County, NJ admitted to defrauding lenders and corporations of almost $5 million. He admitted to having impersonated two bank executives interested in funding syndicated loans for global companies. He submitted bogus documents to the victim using fake email signature blocks and email addresses that appeared to be legitimate.
O’Callaghan also used email addresses that appeared to be legitimate to send the emails to the aliases. The aliases bore a bank logo, and the form contained the bank’s tax ID number.
Court records show that O’Callaghan directed the victims to wire money to a bank he said he controlled. The US attorney leading the case noted that he converted $4.9 million to himself and went on gambling and traveling sprees with his newfound wealth.
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