Law & Order

Diamonds are Forever and So are Swindlers and Especially Fear

On the Run after Swindling the Casino and Hôtel of over 200.000 Euros

Two Lebanese, well over five years ago had managed to defraud a сasino in Monte Carlo in addition to a prestigious hotel with a well-refined technique. It was subsequently discovered they were wanted by the British authorities for offenses too. By presenting letters of introduction indicating guarantees from their banks, presenting false checks, using a credit card and wiring some funds they managed to obtain playing chips for hundreds of thousands of euros.

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The сasino was to discover later that 150.000 euros in chips for one of the Lebanese remained unpaid and in the case of the other, 50.000 euros remained unpaid. Hotel bills were left uncovered. Eventually when the case came to сourt, the two fugitives took flight. In a case of clear intent to defraud, using premeditated techniques to inspire confidence in the сasino to advance playing chips the сourt was severe with its sanction. It remained solely to identify the leader of the fraud who received a jail sentence of eight months. The lawyer for his accomplice who received a six month prison sentence had attempted to shift the blame on the leader. The Civil actions required repayment of the funds and payment of 5000 euros of legal expenses. Justice done!

Is Rehabilitation Possible For A Repeat Offender Robbing To Support his Drug Habit?

This is a case of the rehabilitation of an Italian who since his 20s had been cited for in the region of 20 offenses, many including robberies and drugs – a pattern of robbery to feed his drug habit. Now in his forties he came to Monaco and forced his way into a restaurant on Larvotto Promenade, destroying windows on the way in and robbing the till. Fingerprinting experts identified him from prints left behind during the robbery. However the police could not trace him to an address. In absentia he was sentenced by the Court to eighteen months in jail. Fast forward to his unexpected return to Monaco to a building site where he was arrested and then imprisoned all the while contesting the prison sentence for the robbery. The Court reconvened to listen to his objection to the earlier prison sentence of 18 months. The judge appeared influenced by the man’s sincerity and the fact that he was enrolled in a strict rehabilitation program across the border in Italy. He was under constant supervision in a residential facility dedicated to rehab. There was hope for reform and the man was clearly willing and able to work. This required a wise “judgement of Solomon”. The Judge decided to “suspend” the eighteen month jail sentence conditional on concurrent good behaviour. Any reoffending would land the Italian immediately back in jail.

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Diamonds May Be Forever but so is Fear

Difficult to forget the jewellery hold-up in the Centre of Monaco – white smoke from a car set on fire as the armed robbers fled. Two of them are about to be sentenced and the other two alleged armed robbers are facing justice.

What we saw in film, sadly others had to experience live. They related their fear to the Court. Fear is difficult to eradicate; it lingers perhaps forever after being targeted by armed criminals. Thus three cars, with innocent bystanders at the day of the big jewellery heist, had each in turn been confronted as the robbers, presumed armed, made their escape through the Principality. Their goal was to commandeer another car or SUV. The first witness, a British man explained how he was hemmed in in traffic and petrified as they tried to take over his vehicle. He was paralyzed with fear. He just remembers a survival instinct taking over and he accelerated in reverse to escape as the car blocking them burst into flames.

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Similarly with a foreman undertaking a five-star hotel renovation. He still has fear at the memory of the two men trying to force him to surrender his car. He locked his doors and prayed that they were not armed. A young Ukrainian woman was petrified seeing the car on fire and two men approaching her. She at first thought they needed assistance – but sensing danger rolled shut her window. Her mother was in the passenger seat with the window open. They tried to drag her out, foiled only because she was strapped in by her safety belt. Imagine the fear. The ladies did not appear in Court but sent in their witness statement by mail. Beyond theft of valuables, the residue of fear bears witness to the permanent damage perpetrated by armed criminals. Valuables can be recovered or insured but heightened fear remains forever.

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