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Two jailed for buying goods worth £30,000 using fake credit cards

Pic by Johnny Bugeja

Two UK nationals who defrauded several local businesses out of high-value luxury goods such as cosmetics, perfume bottles and Apple goods worth more than £30,000 using fake credit cards were jailed by the Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

London resident, Ansumana Jabati, 40, was jailed for six months, while his co-defendant, Ancilla Lucille Saba, 50, was sentenced to four months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation.

The court heard the pair were arrested as they were waiting to fly back to the UK in the departure lounge at the Gibraltar International Airport last month.

The pair were in Gibraltar and had spent large amounts of money on goods in Newton Systems and Maison Beautique, the court heard.

It was when they returned to Newton Systems that they were recognised and the matter was reported to the police, Crown prosecutor Johann Fernandez said.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and subsequently charged.

Saba faced two charges of fraud by false representation, and Jabati faced one count of fraud by false representation and one count of being in possession of articled used in fraud, namely the various debit cards.

They pleaded guilty to all charges.

Officers found them in possession of credit cards in their names and of other unknown people, Mr Fernandez said.

But during the sentencing hearing, defence lawyers Suresh Mahtani, who appeared for Saba, and Jeevan Daswani, who appeared for Jabati, told the court the pair were set up by a third party “in order to settle a debt”.

Mr Mahtani told the court his client, Saba, was the sole breadwinner of her household but due to various physical and mental health issues, was unable to meet the repayments of “pay day loans”.

She was working for a call centre as a cleaner when the owner of the call centre, only referred to as John, told her he was planning to open another call centre in Europe.

“Saba was told to buy IT equipment from Gibraltar, and if she agreed to come here, he would forgive her her debt,” Mr Mahtani said.

“She was unwittingly dragged into the machinery of an organised crime network.”

“She was so eager to have her debt extinguished that she agreed to come here.”

Mr Mahtani told the court Saba was given physical and virtual corporate credit cards in her name, which “made her believe they were legitimate”.

She was given a flight booking, hotel stay and told where to go to purchase goods to take back to the UK, Mr Mahtani said.

It was only when her cards began to get declined that she began to suspect that the transactions were “fraudulent in nature”.

Jabati, meanwhile, was unemployed and also owed a debt which was promised to be written off in exchange for coming to Gibraltar, Mr Daswani said.

Mr Daswani told the court the much like Saba, Jabati was also a “foot soldier” in the offending.

He said Jabati had pleaded guilty to the offences at the first opportunity and had shown remorse for his actions, adding that all the items had been recovered.

But while sentencing, Stipendiary Magistrate Charles Pitto, said he could not ignore their past convictions involving dishonesty offences.

He added in this form of economic activity “both have had recourse in the past”, and this time it was their facilitator, John.

Janati was sentenced to nine months in prison, but this was reduced to six months for entering a guilty plea.

Saba was jailed for six months, but this was reduced to four months for pleading guilty.

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