This article reveals details of two recent cases of crime committed in Monaco by men of Italian origin. Their crimes were quite different in style, with one being a major money-laundering scam carried out by a young career criminal and the other a one-off bag theft by an elderly man with no record.
First case: An Italian crook was convicted by the criminal court for having bought 1,800,000 € of gambling chips in the casino of Monte-Carlo with eighteen fake cheques
A man of Milanese origin, a brilliant young scammer, was summoned to appear before the criminal court. But, in a final act of cunning, Paolo Gigli was absent at the hearing and failed to answer for his criminal acts. He had found a clever way to play the high rollers at the casino of Monte-Carlo without paying a single euro. He was a self-proclaimed expert guardian appointed by the jurisdiction of Lodi (Lombardy) and he resold the assets of those under his protection that had passed through his own bank account. All that was left was to exchange the titles of payment received for hard cash. But his luck ran out in March 2009, when he came to the Principality’s famous gambling house. Seized by a spending frenzy, he wanted 1,800,000 euros worth of gambling chips.
Victims of a false clerk
Thus, the eighteen checks of 100,000 euros each, handed over to the SFE subsidiary of SBM, were found to be false. Three days later, the management of the Casino filed a complaint and a very long investigation began. Initial investigations revealed the accused’s involvement in two fraud and extortion proceedings.
In fact, this risk-taker, supposedly charged by the juvenile court of Lodi to care for those under his protection, actually used subterfuge to divert the money.
“The individual,” says President Jérôme Fougeras-Lavergnolle, “was in fact publicising his mission which consisted of selling the property of deceased parents. The prospective purchasers were summoned to the court of Lodi without the accused being in any way implicated. The people were then received by a false clerk to agree on the transaction. In the case of acquisition, they had to remit to the Italian criminal the sum by check payable to the SFE.”
The dishonesty of the person in question went so far as to declare the company linked to this jurisdiction alone, without ever mentioning the true beneficiary of the forms.
In the end, this great amateur of casinos is also a person who has never admitted guilt. He has always fled and has never been heard by the Monegasque police and or court of justice. He was not even represented at this hearing. Calmly, and with the hope of seeing the accused in the courtroom even one day, Mr. Thomas Giaccardia claimed for the civil party the total amount of the false checks. That is 1,800,000 euros. As for the prosecutor Cyrielle Colle, she estimated that “the facts of fraud and money laundering have been well established. I require two year imprisonment and leave it to the court to issue an arrest warrant.”
After a very long deliberation, the court sentenced by default Paolo Giglia to eighteen months in prison with a warrant of arrest. He must also pay the amount claimed by the SFE.
Second case: Theft of a bag from the Casino of the Café de Paris, three months with suspended sentence
It’s a surprising sight, a 72-year-old grandfather charged with robbery at the Casino de Paris appearing before the criminal court. And yet, on the 9th of August this Italian retiree from San Remo stole a cloth bag containing a driving license, ID, nine bank cards, two mobile phones and 1,050 euros in cash! The Judges sentenced the accused to a suspended sentence of three month imprisonment. The scene took place in the legendary establishment of the SBM near “the Camembert”. That night, a player had come to indulge in his favourite pastime, a game of poker. He settled down at the table and put down his belongings. Around 10 pm, a man of small stature with greying hair sat down at the same table.
As he was forbidden from playing, he watched the hand while keeping an eye on the bag. The cameras detected his demeanour: the man in question approached the bag, glanced left and right while pretending to be interested in the players. Then he seized the object in question… “Very quickly,” noted Judge Florestan Bellinzona, “you were recognised by a commissioner, who alerted the police. It is worth remembering that in the American games, the identity check of the prohibited persons of casino is effective only if these very people leave with a gain of more than 1000 €. When you were searched the bag was almost empty. At the sight of the bank cards, you must have been scared and you threw them away.”
The defendant admitted to this. “And the 1,050 euros?” continued the Magistrate. “There was no money in the bag,” swore the offender, “I’ve been coming to this casino for 20 years and I have never stolen. I apologise for the caused inconvenience. You must believe me.”
The Judge responded drily: “Do not speak of good faith when you took a bag in order to steal its content. All that is found in the street or which is taken even by necessity is still a theft! You have never been charged before. There’s a first time for everything.”
With an equally caustic sense of humour, the senior trial attorney Olivier Zamphiroff added in his requisitions, “Monsieur has passed the age of taking chances for the pure thrill of it! Would he have been in the right by throwing all the bank cards in the bin, as he seems to claim? He committed a serious offense. It is necessary to penalize him: four months with suspended sentence. ”
The defence highlighted the relative good faith of his client.
“He did not rob and his actions were not premeditated,” stated Raphaëlle Svara, “it was rather a crime of opportunity. Was there money in the bag? No one can prove it! Be lenient …” The court reduced the requisitions of the State Counsel by one month.
Two crimes, two very different profiles. These two cases of crime committed by Italian men in Monaco shows the lengths to which thieves may go, whether it’s a spontaneous crime of opportunity or a carefully orchestrated theft on an enormous scale.