Woman drains elderly lady’s debit card to pay for her own expenses – no money left for funeral
A woman who drained the debit card of an elderly woman whom she used to take care of, to use it to pay for her own expenses, was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for four years and fined €25,000.
Doris Borg was charged that between January and October 2016 she stole the debit card of Benedetta Agius and made more than €5,000 profit to the detriment of the 85-year-old woman. She was also charged with theft and money laundering. Borg spent the woman’s money on buying shoes, mobile phones, paying for telecommunication services, glasses, beauty treatments, for shopping and to purchase a car equipped with all the extras. As a result, Agius was left without a penny to her name, and not even enough to pay for her own funeral.
From evidence presented in front of Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, the case began to be investigated by the Police following a report filed by Agius. The elderly lady told Inspector Robert Vella she had €9,000 in her account from an insurance policy. Her pension also used to go into this account. However the woman ended up with just €8 in the account.
The woman informed the police of her suspicions about Borg, but when she was interrogated she denied that she had used the woman’s card. However, the Police discovered that Borg had drained the debit card in purchases from various shops, including a confectionery, a pharmacy, a beauty salon, a shop which sells eyewear, a company which offers telephony services, and even a car from an auto dealer.
All the shops confirmed that Borg was their client and that she had signed the receipts from the electronic Point of Sale.
The elderly woman chose to testify but because she began to suffer from dementia, Magistrate Frendo Dimech did not take it into consideration, although she made it clear that she would rely on the woman’s previous testimony.
“The money I had save for my funeral all disappeared”
Among other things, the elderly woman expressed her regret that the money she had saved for her funeral had disappeared.
Borg chose to testify, insisting that the elderly woman had given her the card to withdraw money and she had always given her the money back.
In a detailed 50 page sentence, Magistrate Frendo Dimech concluded that although it had not been proved that Borg had stolen the card, enough evidence had been presented to show that the accused had spent money from the bank account to purchase various things.
The Magistrate found Borg guilty of money laundering when she bought the car with money coming from a criminal act, in this case, from theft.
Magistrate Frendo Dimech also remarked that Borg demonstrated “cruelty and malice” when she gave the elderly woman the impression she was there to take care of her, and instead robbed her of everything she owned.
She noted that Borg did not show any remorse for her actions and although in her Police statement she had offered to give the woman her money back, she did nothing in the lifetime of the victim to return the money.
“In the fragility and vulnerability of this elderly lady, Borg saw an opportunity to fleece her”
“In the fragility and vulnerability of this elderly lady, Borg saw an opportunity to fleece her. She continued to drain her finances, to get rich off her back. How can the Court ignore the cries of this woman in front of various witnesses in moments of desperation and heartache when she learned that she did not even have enough money left for her own funeral? She realised she had been deceived and robbed by the very person whom she trusted and cared for!”
Magistrate Frendo Dimech said that she would not be doing her duty if she did not remark that the shops also failed to follow bank regulations on the use of debit cards.
Apart from the suspended sentence and fine, the Magistrate also ordered that €5,766 should be confiscated and handed over to the Government, and that Borg’s mobile and immobile property should also be confiscated.
The Magistrate also ordered for a copy of the sentence to be sent to the Minister of Justice, Minister for the Elderly and Active Ageing, the MFSA, the Malta Critical Infrastructure Protection Directorate and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).