DENPASAR ~ Former business and investment adviser Esti Yuliani – known to most of her expatriate clients as Julie Edmond – was this week jailed for two years for defrauding a client of Rp25 billion (US$2.5 million).
Yuliani, 41, will most likely serve only 17 months since she has been in detention for seven months while the case was being investigated.
She was tried on one case, involving foreign investor Don Worthington. He reported Yuliani to police earlier this year when he discovered that $2.5 million he had paid into a Kantor Kita account at the Sanur branch of PermataBank had gone into an open account and not into escrow – where funds may not be withdrawn except under specific, notarised terms.
In fact the account was accessible to Yuliani and certain Kantor Kita employees. PermataBank closed the account when – after Yuliani’s arrest – it was alleged that it had been represented as an escrow account not only by Kantor Kita but also by PermataBank staff.
Prosecutors had sought a three-year sentence for Yuliani on the single charge they brought, but judges, led by chief judge Nyoman Sutama, imposed only the lighter sentence. Judge Sutama said Yuliani had behaved well in court.
Yuliani was convicted of fraud under Article 378 of the Penal Code.
In their verdict, given on Monday, the judges said evidence from Worthington, Pua Christian Lucky and Paradise Property principal Mark Tuck had been conclusive.
The defendant’s own statements and documentary evidence in the form of receipts corroborated the witnesses’ evidence and proved Yuliani guilty.
In a statement made by her defence team prior to the verdict, Yuliani repeated her earlier request to be set free because in her heart she did not feel guilty.
But the judges said there was no justification for Yuliani’s actions and the law did not provide for forgiveness being taken to erase mistakes. Therefore Yuliani deserved a custodial sentence.
“The defendant has caused the victim to lose billions of rupiah,” Sutama said.
Worthington paid the money to Kantor Kita, having been introduced to Yuliani, who represented herself as a lawyer, for two blocks of land totalling 10 hectares at Manggis in Karangasem. He never received title to the land.
Kantor Kita began business as a migration agency but several years ago opened a business advisory arm. The company closed its doors after Yuliani’s arrest earlier this year.
Yuliani is reported to own property in Indonesia and overseas, including in California.