The Walloon Brabant Correctional Court on Tuesday convicted seven persons for fraud committed in 2016 and 2017 in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Jodoigne and Braine-l’Alleud. The seven – Florin C., Rembo C., Denis C., Alin-Fernando D., Florin D., Moise V and Corina V. – pretended to be deaf-mutes to beg alms on roads and around shopping centres. They asked for signatures and showed documents in the name of a fictitious association.
Two of them had already been convicted in September 2016 in Tournai to one-year suspended sentences.
In February 2016, the authorities in Colruyt d’Ottignies had called in the police after chasing away the false deaf-mutes, who had been collecting money from people, and their car’s French license plate was written down. They were then held for questioning in Louvain-la-Neuve, where they had been showing passers-by a placard in the name of a “certified regional association for deaf-mute and poor handicapped children”.
Some of the accused were also arrested in Braine-l’Alleud in April 2016, then in Jodoigne in July 2017. Each time they used the same vehicle and the same ploy to invoke the pity of passers-by. Florin C., Denis C., and Vasile M. already had convictions for similar acts. The first two received suspended one-year sentences in September 2016 for their crimes.
This time around, the Walloon Brabant Correctional Court has added a suspended sentence of three months to their previous conviction. Rembo C., who has a heavier criminal record, received a suspended sentence of three months’ imprisonment.
The money found on their persons at the time of their arrest was confiscated.