In this criminal digest three cases in Monaco are reviewed, involving an expelled criminal, a limping thief, and a travelling Parisian con artist.
Case 1: Criminal Expelled
Inadmissible to the country, he ends up in prison.
A man was driving his van, on 22 February 2016, on Boulevard Albert I with three people on board. It was 1 o’clock in the morning and nothing suspicious was happening at this stage. But during a check, the police discovered that the driver, a Romanian of 29 years, was inadmissible! This is a particularly effective tool among the measures of removal that the Principality has at its disposal in order to repress an undesirable foreigner, which would be explained to the Correctional Court. Absent at the hearing, the accused was still sentenced to two months in prison.
At the time he was deemed “inadmissible”, this individual had come to Monaco with weapons. Immediately, a deportation ruling was served to him on 31 July, 2000. In re-reading the report of arrest, Judge Jérôme Fougeras-Lavergnolle recalled the statements of the guilty party. “This building clerk, established in Nice, had come to take a walk in Monaco with friends. He thought that the measure was intended for a period of three years. This is false, it is a definitive measure! Only the Minister of State can lift this prohibition after making an application. In his French file there are three convictions of theft.” Anyone who has contravened the legislation on entry and stay must be convicted by the prosecutor Cyrielle Colle. “In particular, when you see this person’s files, and since he drives a vehicle without the agreement of the owner, this man must no longer be allowed into Monaco. For him to understand once and for all, he will be sentenced to three months in prison.” The court reduced the requisitions of the public prosecutor by one month.
Case 2: Stealing to Eat
“I’ve been stealing to buy food! With the money, I also pay off my debts. I worked on a construction site a few days, but I soon found myself without money: 25 euros in my pocket, so I know the shops to find and steal money. But I knew that coming to Monaco with all the cameras, I was going to get caught, but I have not hurt anyone. I have to pay my usual expenses for groceries, petrol, cigarettes. I will not cry for the victims, or ask for any favours…”
On the stand, handcuffed, Abdel-Krim, a French 60 year old from Golfe-Juan, summed up his life as a thief before the Criminal Court. It has in fact been the real profession of this mason for decades, with thirty-eight entries on his criminal records, including thirty-one convictions with prison time. He appeared in court for “visiting” two restaurants in the Principality, despite a deportation measure against him on 5 October 2003.
“You have a limp”
Facts: On the night of 5-6 March, he broke a window of the Bouchon restaurant, on Avenue Princesse Grace at Larvotto. Once inside, he emptied the tip jar and forced open the cash drawer. Profit: 3,015 euros! Between 29 and 30 March, he attacked the Giudi’s restaurant, from Albert-II Avenue, in Fontvieille. After smashing the door, he took a sum of 865 euros. Though the alarm worked well, the staff believed that the siren had been triggered accidentally.
“Today,” said Judge Florestan Bellinzona, “these offenses are recognised as simple thefts. Normally, when there is a break-in, the Criminal Court passes a maximum of five years imprisonment. Certainly, it was difficult to identify you on the videos with a hood on the head. But you have a limp and it was possible to get the number of the license plate when the vehicle arrived in front of the restaurants. Though the car belongs to your brother, we quickly connected the theft to you.”
“Need to steal to live”
The police spotted the car parked in Grimaldi Street. Then, they hid and compared the individual who slipped inside with the images of video surveillance. Same limp! Even the same colour outfit! The public servants took action. In the trunk, two bags, with 865 euros and the tools of the perfect burglar: crowbar, large screwdriver, pliers, and torch. The driver acknowledged the facts and described his actions.
“What are you going to do with yourself?” asked the magistrate. “This has been going on for forty-three years. Since 1975, how much time have you spent in prison?” The accused does not know. The attorney-general Jacques Dorémieux evoked a sort of “gentleman burglar, visitor of the south-east and great nomad who absolutely needs to steal to live,” it is impossible for him to accept his way of life with only a car and a preference for local shops. So, what is the solution? “A long incarceration. Two years would be best, at least during this time he will not commit more burglaries …” The court followed the requisitions of the public prosecutor and will grant respectively to the civil parties the sums of 5,149 euros and 1,500 euros.
Case 3: Trip to Dubai
Some €3,666! This is the loss caused to a travel agency in the Principality by a young Frenchman from the Paris region. Facts often referred to before the criminal court. Moreover, it is not the first time that this tour operator has come to claim its due before Justice. For his part, this scammer, part of a much larger fraud, took advantage of a trip to Dubai by booking his tourist visit on the website of a tour operator in Monaco. Obviously, he used a sham bank card to carry out the operation. When the company noticed the deception, it was too late! The guilty party was gone…
It was predictable: the accused was absent at the stand to inform the judges on the offense committed. Then, the court referred to the interrogation conducted by French police officers. “The defendant disputes any scam,” noted Judge Jérôme Fougeras Lavergnolle. “He claims to have reserved his travel on the site ‘Le Bon Coin’ and then paid the sum of about €1,300 during an appointment set in Paris by a person he did not know. He claims he has never set foot in Monaco.”
The magistrate was even more sceptical about the description of the facts declared, when he consulted the French criminal record of the offender. There are six convictions for theft, driving without a license, etc.
At the hearing, the travel agent filed a civil claim and claimed reimbursement of the benefit plus the costs. That was a total of €3,910. “It may not have been him the crook initially,” admitted prosecutor Cyrielle Colle. “But he knew exactly what it was: he enjoyed a trip via the website in question and he met someone at the Porte Maillot whom he never saw! His guilt is beyond doubt, three months in prison!” The court followed the requisitions of the public prosecutor and will condemn, by default, the defendant to a prison term at Le Rocher. It turns out it was, after all, an expensive price to pay for a tour in the premiere city of the United Arab Emirates.