Bank scammers sent to jail

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 12-09-2019 10:00:00 · 0 Comments
Bank scammers sent to jail

The Santa Maria da Feira Court has sentenced four people to between six and 12 years in prison for a scam to fleece the Montepio General Savings Bank out of €2.8 million.

The court found that the defendants, aged between 44 and 68, led Montepio bank to grant credit to individuals and companies that were not repaid, appropriating about €1.1 million.

During sentencing, the presiding judge said that, with this conduct, the defendants injured the institution by about €2.8 million, a figure that falls short of the €six million included in the Public Prosecution (MP) indictment.

The most serious penalty was imposed on the main defendant, a former manager of the Santa Maria da Feira Montepio Geral branch, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for 36 crimes of qualified fraud and one crime of money laundering.

This defendant, who is residing in Brazil and was tried in his absence, was also sentenced to pay €2.8 million to Montepio and €1.1 million to the State, in solidarity with the other defendants.

A car and real estate trader who was the main beneficiary of the money was sentenced to 10 years in prison for 20 crimes of qualified fraud and a crime of money laundering.

This defendant was also sentenced for possession of a prohibited weapon carrying a fine of €1,920.

The court also sentenced a lawyer, who is being held in custodyfor another case, and a woman to eight and six years in prison, respectively, for crimes of fraud and money laundering.

The four defendants were also acquitted of the crime of criminal association of which they were accused because, according to the presiding judge, it was not proven that they had formed "a group in an organised and stable manner".

According to the prosecution's indictment, the former manager of the Santa Maria da Feira Montepio Geral branch was responsible for authorising the claims, while the other three defendants acted as recruiters of loan applicants.

The majority of the loans were granted to "on the spot companies" (i.e. companies formed in a very short time) with false documentation. Most of these companies did not even have economic activity.

The investigators found that when the loan money was credited to the accounts of these companies, a considerable part of it was transferred to the bank accounts of the defendants or their relatives.

With this activity, between 2009 - 2010, the defendants appropriated around €1.1 million.


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