A property developer from Iklin who pretended to return deposits on promise of sale agreements with cheques linked to unusable accounts has pleaded guilty to fraud and misappropriation charges.
Inspectors Jonathan Ransley and Ritienne Gauci arraigned 49-year-old Jeffrey Attard from Iklin before magistrate Victor Axiak this morning, accusing him of fraud, misappropriation and other fraudulent gain from three individuals. The offences took place between 2019 and January 2021.
The police say Attard had purchased items and pretended to return deposits on promise of sale agreements with cheques connected to accounts which were either overdrawn or closed.
Clients of Attard’s, who had entered into a promise of sale over the properties in question, had gone to the police after the promised development was not built, the court was told.
Attard pleaded guilty, confirming it after being given time to reconsider his plea and consult with his lawyer.
The man confirmed his guilty plea, after the court gave him time to consult with his lawyer.
In his submissions on punishment, defence lawyer Mark Fenech Vella told the court that he had been assisting the defendant in civil cases for several years, but that this had been the first time that Attard had been charged with a criminal offence.
The cheques he paid with had indeed been ‘referred to drawer,’ and so the offence had happened, observed Attard’s lawyer, asking the court to order a social inquiry report into possible usury.
“Here we have a case of a businessman asking for a loan and whoever loaned it to him is asking for double the amount back,” he said.
The defence also requested a pre-sentencing report be commissioned in order to confirm whether the accused’s assets, described in court as “substantial,” exceeded his liabilities. The court pointed out that It didn’t appear to be the case.
But the lawyer insisted, explaining that the institution of separate civil cases was making the problem more complex.
The court was told that the total amount allegedly misappropriated was €92,000. The prosecution said that no repayments had been made.
Inspector Ransely objected to the request, telling the court that the accused had claimed to have more assets than liabilities during questioning.
The court upheld the request for a pre-sentencing report, explaining that this was necessary for it to be able to form an opinion on the ideal punishment in this case.
Inspector Ransley did not object to the defence’s bail request, but asked that the defendant be ordered to sign a bail book every day and that the court impose a substantial bail deposit.
The court upheld the bail request, releasing the defendant from arrest until the conclusion of the proceedings against a deposit of €100 and a personal guarantee of €30,000.