The Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has sentenced a woman from La Laguna to a year in prison and to return 2,400 euros, the victim of what is known as ‘asphalt scam‘, which consists of providing construction and reform work well below the market price.
In the case of the defrauded woman, the sentence considers it proven that the defendant, with the aim of obtaining an illicit financial benefit, agreed in early 2019 with the victim to carry out a asphalt work in the patio of his home located in the Geneto neighborhood, in La Laguna.
The Chamber considers it proven that from the beginning the man had no intention of carrying out any work, despite which he collected 1,400 euros in cash with the excuse that he needed the money to start the work.
But that same day he returned to the woman’s home to collect another 400 euros, this time claiming that he needed that amount to be able to close the deal with the asphalt factory.
Three days later, the woman gave him 600 more requested euros with the excuse that she needed them to obtain a permit from the City Council that she never processed.
Shortly after, the defendant sent laborers to the home, who were in charge of cleaning the patio and digging the ground, never to appear at the house again.
In short, the Court considers it proven that the defendant “neither carried out the agreed work nor returned the money to the woman, but incorporated it into his personal assets.”
In the appeal filed, the defendant denied that from the beginning he acted with the intention of not fulfilling the contract and in fact maintained that he had executed it in part and if he did not do so in its entirety it was for reasons beyond his control.
He gave as an example the attitude of some neighbors against the works and the alleged breaches of the woman who later filed the complaint, to whom he attributed not having paid all the agreed money and maintained that it was a civil case, not a crime of fraud, despite the fact that he had already been convicted of this last crime on a previous occasion.
Arguments that the Court rejects, from which it is believed to have been demonstrated that no material was ever acquired, nor were municipal permits processed or works carried out, except for the preparation of the land carried out over two days by two laborers. The payment made to the latter would mean “a very small fraction of the initial payment of 1,400 euros.”
In short, it is considered proven that the defendant acted from the beginning without any intention of fulfilling the contract that he actually used as an instrument to deceive the injured party and obtain the money delivered.
“It was simply intended to create an appearance of beginning to comply with the agreement that would hide the fraud or scam that was being carried out. It is not believed that there is any evidence that the residents protested and in fact it is considered that there could hardly have been opposition to some works that in practice never really began, beyond a few initial works.