Plasterer accused of defrauding €58,000 with stolen checkbook

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A Birkirkara man has been taken into police custody after being accused of stealing a check book and using it to commit €58,000 fraud.

Inspector Christian Abela, along with prosecutors for the Attorney General Karl Muscat and Godwin Cini, accused painter and plasterer Emanuel Xerri, 47, of Birkirkara of fraud, fraudulent earnings over €5,000, embezzlement, tampering signing cheques, stealing a checkbook, money laundering and breaching a conditional sentence.

Xerri pleaded not guilty to the charges.

His lawyer requested bail. The prosecution objected, pointing to the accused’s voluminous criminal record. The defendant had been jailed in the past, Muscat said, arguing the charges were serious, involving falsification of documents and signatures, fraud of €58,000 and money laundering.

“Here, we are talking about charges that are serious,” said the prosecutor, adding that there were civilian witnesses including victims who had not yet testified. “At this early stage, the prosecution is requesting that he be remanded in custody.”

The defense argued that bail was a right and should be the rule, not the exception.

The court, after hearing the parties make bail applications, denied bail due to the fact that there were a number of civilian witnesses who had yet to testify. “The defendant now being officially charged with the offences, there is a real fear that he will falsify evidence”, judged the magistrate.

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