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May 10, 2016

Pair of Alleged Bulgarian Cyber Thieves Arraigned in Magistrates Court

Halid Yuksel Aptula & Jeorgi Petrov

Two nationals from Bulgaria appeared late in court this evening and were charged for theft from the Belize Bank.  There was a delay in their arraignment because the court was looking for a translator. The duo is being implicated in an international scam in which they used fake ATM cards to withdraw cash from the Bank. The Bank had been alerted of the transactions and had been monitoring the duo since last year when they started making frequent trips to Belize. On Saturday, an alert cashier at the Bank detected one of the suspects. Police are investigating twenty-eight year old Jeorgi Petrov and twenty-five year old Halid Yuksel Aptula for several different fraudulent transactions. But in court today, they were charged for only one count of theft for five hundred dollars. Petrov initially pleaded guilty, but later changed his plea. Petrov is being defended by Christelle Wilson and Aptula by Oscar Selgado.

 

Oscar Selgado

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Halid Yuksel Aptula

“What the nature of the offenses are is as follows. The Belize Bank is alleging that on Saturday the seventh of May instant, these two gentlemen went into ATMs from the Belize Bank located on Albert Street and North Front Street and used phony withdrawal cards, debit cards, to access cash from the bank. And the Belize Bank is further alleging that they were already on alert because similar conducts were reported to the bank by clients whose credit cards were used or whose accounts were withdrawn from without their knowledge. So the bank was on the lookout and an employee of the bank on Saturday coincidentally saw a male white Caucasian—he’s not saying it is any of these persons, but a white male Caucasian—in the bank and alerted the police that this persons was a person of suspect that the bank was holding.”

 

Reporter

“Now Miss Christelle, your client initially pleaded guilty to the five hundred dollar theft. Given the nature of what has been alleged, you would make the assumption or draw the conclusion that he’s opening Pandora’s Box because if we accepted guilt here, who’s to say that he is not guilty of all the rest of offenses, given that they are saying that they have video and picture evidence that proves that he is the person that committed these crimes.”

 

Christelle Wilson

Christelle Wilson, Attorney for Jeorgi Petrov

“Initially he did plead guilty, but as you clearly can see from the way they spoke in court, there was a language barrier there first of all and second of all, the facts of the case were never disclosed to us as their attorneys or to the clients. So when he pled guilty, he could have been saying yes, I did use the ATM. Whether or not he took monies that the bank is now saying was fraudulently taken is another issue. So after alerting the judge that this was the first time we are now learning of these alleged facts that are being put before my client, he has to be given an opportunity to change his plea, which he was allowed and we are grateful. So he has pled not guilty to the facts put before the court today. And as Mister Selgado rightly said, we are still in negotiations with all parties involved here so we don’t want anybody to be making any hasty pleas until we have sought the matter further.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Pair of Alleged Bulgarian Cyber Thieves Arraigned in Magistrates Court”

  1. Steve says:

    I hope our police beat their asses good so they never want to return- if not- I call on our belizean brothers in jail to do it- and also their big mouth sorry big generally lawyer

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