11 February 2013

Namibia: French Fraudster's Jail Time Grows

A FRENCHMAN who admitted that he defrauded a Windhoek hotel by using a stolen credit card to pay for his accommodation received a three-year prison term in the Windhoek Regional Court on Friday.

With two years of his latest prison term ordered to be served concurrently with other sentences which he is currently serving, Stephane Roger Francois Moreau (41) has now had his time in jail extended by another year.

Moreau was first sentenced to an effective two years' imprisonment in October 2011, with another jail term of effectively two years added to that in April last year.

In all of these cases, he was convicted of fraud for having used a stolen credit card to pay hotel bills in Namibia.

In the trial which ended on Friday, Moreau was accused of having defrauded Auas City Hotel in Windhoek in an amount of N$62 560 in November 2010.

Moreau initially denied the charge when he went on trial in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court, and claimed that his employer, a modelling agency in Paris, France, had provided him with the credit card which he used to pay for his accommodation.

After the prosecution had closed its case against him he had a change of heart, though, and changed his plea to guilty.

His case was then transferred to the Regional Court for his sentencing.

Before he was sentenced, Moreau related a tale of love and woe to Magistrate Sarel Jacobs.

He said he had fallen madly in love with a Namibian woman in France, and came to Namibia to be with her. The two of them then enjoyed the hospitality of Auas City Hotel, and he used the credit card of a Brazilian man to pay the hotel.

Moreau related that he was so deeply in love that he even had the name of his Namibian girlfriend tattooed on his neck.

Alas, their love was not to last through better and worse. She dumped him after his arrest.

Moreau was aware that he was going to commit an offence when he came to Namibia from France, and he also knew that people would be prejudiced because of the crime he was going to commit, Magistrate Jacobs commented during the sentencing. It is an aggravating factor that Moreau came into Namibia intent on committing a crime, the magistrate said.

Taking into account the fact the Moreau is already serving a period of imprisonment, it would only place an extra burden on the country's taxpayers if Moreau were to be sentenced to a further long period of imprisonment, the magistrate said.

Following his arrest, Moreau enjoyed a short-lived return to freedom in early January 2011, when he escaped out of police custody. He was rearrested two days after his escape, after the police tracked him down to his girlfriend's house in Khomasdal, where he was reportedly found hiding in a closet.

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