Trio bought electronics with stolen credit card – Ageing fraudster could be sent 4 years to jail

POSTED: 10/12/12 1:22 PM

St. Maarten – Public prosecutor Tineke Kamps demanded 48 months imprisonment against Alfredo Barossi F. and 24 months against Andrea C.-C. and Gabriella Maria B. for defrauding two electronics stores and one car rental company for more than $12,000 by making payments with a stolen credit card. Attorney  Geert Hatzmann considers the demand much too high. Judge Tamara Tijhuis will pronounce her verdict on October 31.

The prosecution considers 68-year-old Alfredo F. as the mastermind of the crimes. He waited with his 28-year-old partner Andrea C.C. outside while 35-year-old Gabriella B. went into the stores to purchase the items F. wanted. The gang hit Klass Electronics twice, on May 12 and May 14, and Blue Point as well on May 14 and June 11.

On that last day, the three were arrested outside the store. They had spent $12,336 on electronic gadgets at both stores and in May they had also rented a car at Safari car rental with a stolen credit card.

mr. Hatzmann said that paying with a false or stolen credit card is not theft, as the defendants are charged, but fraud. The difference: the maximum penalty for theft is 6 years, for fraud 3 years.

The attorney conceded that his client Alfredo F. is the mastermind and that Gabriella B. did the purchases. But Andrea C.-C. was not even in the store when this happened on several occasions, mr. Hatzmann said. To convict her as an accomplice requires that a suspect contributes in some significant way to the crime. “In the case of a robbery or ill-treatment someone’s presence can amount to a so-called numerical strengthening and be punishable for that reason alone. In a case of credit card fraud this does not play,” mr. Hatzmann said. He concluded that Andrea C.-C. should be acquitted of all but one of the charges.

Prosecutor Kamps contended that Andrea C.-C. knew what the others were up to and that she did not distance herself from it. Therefore the defendant is an accomplice, the prosecutor said.

Prosecutor  Kamps contested Hatzmann’s logic that the defendants cannot be charged with theft. She likened paying with a stolen credit card to taking money from an ATM with a stolen or false bank card.

In mr. Hatzmann’s opinion that comparison is incorrect. “In a store where someone pays with a false credit card the goods have been wrapped up and they are handed to the suspects. That is not a case of taking away something. That happens when you walk into a store, grab an article and go outside again.”


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