Man sentenced to 20 years for Saudi phone card scam

Al-Jihani found guilty of defrauding thousands in 1.2 billion riyal scheme to sell discounted calling cards at cost price

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  April 14, 2009

A man has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and will receive 1,000 lashes after being found guilty of defrauding thousands in the infamous 1.2 billion riyal ‘SAWA card scam’ that took place in Saudi Arabia five years ago.

Addul Aziz Al-Jihani, a former security guard at Saudi Telecom Company (STC), claimed to have access to SAWA prepaid recharge cards at about 80% of their face value. He then devised a scheme to sell these cards in the market at its original cost price to reap huge profits and promised to distribute money to more than 40,000 investors that wanted a piece of the action.

After hearing all the arguments and evidence, the Jeddah Summary Court has found Al-Jihani guilty of masterminding the scam and sentenced him to twenty years of imprisonment and a 1,000 lashes.

Forty other accomplices, including members of security forces and other public servants, also received various punishments that ranged from property confiscation to a freeze on personal bank accounts.

Al-Jihani’s lawyer, Hisham Hanbouli, described his client’s sentence as “very harsh” and said he was determined to appeal the verdict.

“The verdict is more severe than in other such cases where defendants received prison terms ranging from 10 to 15 years, which were later reduced,” Hanbouli told Arab News.

3715 days ago

Can anyone survive a 1000 lashes ? It seems an awful lot to me.

3715 days ago

I hope this story gets international coverage, since it seems the Western press only gets in an uproar when Westerners are imprisoned. This is a case of good justice, where a Saudi will be punished for ruining many people's lives. This shows the Saudi system is balanced.

3715 days ago
Hani Khalaf

Hello, Given the size of this crime, 20 years in jail is the least punishment expected from the justice system. He's lucky his hands were not cut for this theft.

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