From the court: Internet fraud and cocaine bust
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From the court: Internet fraud and cocaine bust

In this article we present details of two particular cases of crime in Monaco involving stolen credit card details and possession of cocaine.

Story 1: Credit card details used to pay for purchases

In the case of Internet fraud, the most frequently seen instances involve the theft of credit card details. This is the fraudulent use of the numbers on the front and back to make payments on the web, while the cardholder is still in possession of the card. In this context, victims quickly file a complaint and swindlers often find themselves in the criminal court. As is the case with a young Moroccan student, an intern at the Grimaldi Forum, who was able to note down the credit card details of several clients in order to satisfy his passion for online gaming. For having stolen some 1,201 euros, this young man was sentenced to three months suspended imprisonment and charged with a fine of 880 euros.

Multiple PayPal payments

Between last July and August, the video surveillance allows us to trace the facts. The first offense began on 18 July. A woman arrived at the ticket office of this famous cultural centre in Larvotto. In order to guarantee her payment, she left acredit card imprint. A few days later she noticed transactions on her statement which had nothing to do with the expenses incurred.

Grimaldi Forum
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On the records, the investigators noticed the accused lingering longer than usual with the card. Soon after, they checked the computer where multiple PayPal payments appear to have happened at the same time.

On the stand, when questioned by Judge Jérôme Fougeras Lavergnolle, the young man could not conceal his lack of conscience against a backdrop impunity and immaturity. “Yes, it was me, I took time to note down the details. I was a seasonal worker and at the time I didn’t think anything of it. I used that money to play online. Anyway, I knew I was going to get caught one day or the other. I also took advantage of the details of three other credit cards.”

Credit cards
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The magistrate was especially concerned about the number of transactions. “You used this electronic means of payment thirty five times for a total amount of 1,201.93 euros. You also took big risks by using this money to offer gifts to other players.” The answer from the accused was that “This was an unfortunate experience that has helped me to grow up.” The gravity of having committed such acts at the offender’s workplace did not escape the attention of the prosecutor Alexia Brianti. “Everything would have continued in the same manner, perhaps until the end of his probationary period if the victim had not filed a complaint for thirty-three transactions on her account statement. There have been many others of which there are no traces. As he seems to have reflected on his behaviour, one must not destroy his future. The sentence shall be no less than five months’ imprisonment with suspended sentence.” The court will reduce the requisitions of the public prosecutor by sixty days.

Story 2: Narcotics at the train station

This thirty-three-year-old man employed with a diving company appeared at the Correctional Court recently to answer for the charges of possession and transport of narcotics. He was sentenced to 15 days in prison with a suspended sentence. The story began on 6 May 2016. The policemen at the SNCF station were patrolling at around 22:25 in the hall when a person began to quicken his pace upon their approach. A feeling of suspicion seized the officials. Very quickly, they found that he had four pockets of a whitish substance on him, which turned out to be 2.29 g of cocaine.

“I made a mistake”

When taken to the Security premises and interrogated, the guilty party confessed to having bought the substance from a dealer without any memory of the location. He said he was an occasional drug user and in fact, he went to the Monaco station to go to his home in Nice after spending the evening with a friend in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. During the search, the inspectors found 800 euros in cash in his pockets. Could that money have come from a drug deal?

bagged cocaine
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The man defended himself and admitted to having received it from his friend who accompanied him to the railway station. The police were not convinced this was the truth. They confiscated the money. When the Judge Jérôme Fougeras Lavergnolle interrogated the accused on the stand, the latter acknowledged that this sum is the result of a paid sexual experience. “The money was paid to me by my friend in exchange for a sexual act with him and his girlfriend.”

Before handing the floor to the representative of the public prosecutor’s office, the magistrate noted that the accused had a clean record in Monaco. But there was a mention for acquisition of narcotics in France. Prosecutor Cyrielle Collethen acknowledged that “the long-term investigation has revealed possession of a deleterious substance with an intent to sell. Does not cocaine wreak enough havoc already? Especially since the defendant bought it at the price of 320 euros. That is expensive! But the price is even higher when it is used. Therefore, 800 euros is the penalty!”

Without a lawyer to ensure his defence, the Mauritanian acknowledged his guilt. “I made a mistake! If I went through the station, it was because I had decided to go home by train. The fine is a little too high…” The court changed the requisitions of the public prosecutor to fifteen days’ suspended sentence.

In the end, when caught with so much evidence clearly against them, both cases in Monaco have resulted in the parties admitting their guilt for the crime of internet fraud and the crime of possessing and transporting cocaine.

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