Man misappropriated €8,000 worth of ice-cream products to pay off loan shark
A man who stands charged with misappropriating more than €8,000 from his employers had told investigators he needed the money because he had borrowed money from a loan shark, a court heard yesterday.
Police Inspector Sarah Magri was testifying in the compilation of evidence against former delivery driver Fernando Sammut, 36, who allegedly strayed from his designated route and made undeclared and unauthorised sales of ice-cream products.
Mr Sammut had already been handed a suspended sentence by retired Magistrate Carol Peralta in 2014 but an appeals court had found that the sentence was premature as the compilation of evidence had not yet been concluded. The case continued and has since been transferred to Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech.
She heard this morning that Mr Sammut was previously employed by Francis Busuttil and Sons Ltd – a food and beverage import company. Financial Controller Joseph Hili said the company had noted discrepancies in the stock in Mr Sammut’s van. On one occasion there was a discrepancy of around €7,500 between what was marked as sold and what remained from the original stock. On another occasion around €650 worth of product went missing.
The company’s vans were all equipped with trackers and it was noted that Mr Sammut often visited locations that were not on his designated route.
Mr Hili said Mr Sammut had started paying the company back and had paid around €450 so far.
Inspector Magri said the case came to her attention in August 2013. Mr Sammut was tasked with delivering in the Mellieha area but his superiors noted that he was visiting other shops that were not in his designated route. These included a visit to a shop in Zebbug, where he delivered goods but did not produce an invoice. On another occasion he was seen delivering several boxes but the invoice he produces listed a much smaller amount.
Interviewed in 2013 Mr Sammut had denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he sometimes left the van unlocked and that the items might have been stolen from inside the vehicle. When the police spoke to him again in 2014 he admitted that he had a usury problem and was selling ice cream to make money to pay the debt, the inspector said.
Lawyer David Camilleri is appearing for Mr Sammut.
The case continues.