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May 20, 2016

Sentencing in Bulgarian ATM Scam Reserved

On May tenth, two Bulgarian nationals were charged for an unusual theft – using fake credit cards to withdraw cash from Belize Bank ATMs. Jeorgi Petrov and Halid Aptula would have gotten away with it too, but on May seventh when they visited the Belize Bank ATM on Albert Street to make an illegal withdrawal, a bank auditor happened to be withdrawing cash at the same time. The bank had allegedly been investigating the men, following reports of similar withdrawals using fake cards from other clients. The auditor recognized the men from surveillance footage and caught the attention of a passing policeman, and the arrest was made. On May tenth, the men were arraigned on only one count of theft, but today when they appeared in court an additional seventeen counts were added. Both Petrov and Aptula had pleaded not guilty during their previous appearance, but today they pleaded guilty to all counts. But Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazier could not come to a decision on sentencing by this afternoon, and remanded both men until she does on June eighth. Attorney for Jeorgi Petrov Christelle Wilson spoke to the media as they departed the courtroom.


Christelle Wilson, Attorney for Jeorgi Petrov

“Today we had additional charges levied against our clients, bringing the sum to about eight thousand dollars for my client, Jeorgi and six thousand plus for Mr. Halid. So what we did we made submissions to the Court to the effect that since the law prescribes, the Summary Jurisdiction Offences Act provides that if somebody is convicted of theft they can be charged with a fine as opposed to imprisonment, so our submissions were along the line that they’ve pled guilty, they are aiding the Court by saving the Court time. Instead of going through a very lengthy trial and putting the bank to prove it, they have accepted liability even though they might not agree with some of the facts they’ve accepted liability and now they are willing to pay a fine and go home. But as you all know today that was not the end result in the Courtroom this afternoon because the Judge is reserving her decision for the eighth of June.”


Christelle Wilson


“Were you all surprised by the Prosecution indicating that they would move to seize all the money and other things found?”


Christelle Wilson

“It caught me very much off-guard because the last time we appeared in Court eleven days ago they made no indication that they were going to do any type of seizing order. They waited to her our submissions. They waited until the Judge was about to deliver her ruling to come and say oh just so you know I want to give you notice that we are going to be putting in an application to seize their money and goods under the FIU Act. I think it was an ambush, and I am just grateful that the Magistrate is giving us time to review the submissions that they have made, the application, and come prepared to argue that submission because they really took me off guard when they brought that.”

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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2 Responses for “Sentencing in Bulgarian ATM Scam Reserved”

  1. John says:

    so this idiot lawyer thought they could keep the money? She was surprised prosecution wanted it seized? she should have shut up rather than confirm she’s a moron. I hope the prosecution levies at least one more count on June 8 so they spend more time in jail and still have to pay back the money. The judge should not even have to wait for an application-they pled guilty the judge should just say pay the bank back all their money and then see where they get bail or fine money from.

  2. David P says:

    You can’t possibly expect the court to allow a thief to pay a fine with money he stole.

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