A man who saved a woman’s credit card details on his mobile phone and used them to book a hotel and a flight, was on Friday jailed for eight months after he admitted to his wrongdoing in court.

Edison Carlos Perez Acosta, 33, an unemployed Peruvian national residing at a hostel in St Julian’s, was escorted under arrest and charged with using false and deceptive means to make an unlawful gain.

Prosecuting Inspector Jonathan Ransley explained how a woman had filed a report on September 29, claiming that her bank card had gone missing. She had later got a call from the bank informing her that some €600 had been directed towards a hotel and flight reservation.

Investigators eventually tracked down the accused who came up with a fantastic story, claiming that he had been in a relationship with the woman, a fellow-lodger at the hostel, and that she had wanted to pay him back for cheating upon her. 

The man’s allegation had almost resulted in charges being issued against the woman for allegedly filing a false report against the accused, explained Inspector Ransley.

Further investigations led police to discover that the man had apparently committed similar wrongdoing in various countries abroad, prompting restrictions on his mobile phone, the court was told.

Legal aid lawyer Francine Abela pleaded with the court to deliver a suspended sentence, adding that the accused would leave the country. 

However, the court, presided over by magistrate Joseph Mifsud, after hearing submissions by both parties and in view of the accused’s own admission at an early stage of the proceedings, condemned him to an eight-month effective jail term.

The court also ordered him to refund the €600 within six months.

“All in our country, both Maltese and foreigners, should feel safe and it is not right for a visitor to defraud a third party, get a suspended sentence and then take his leave. The court cannot send out such a message,” was the magistrate’s final word.