Syndicate jailed for fraud

KING WILLIAM'S TOWN � Thorough and responsive investigation of crime paid off when six (6) suspects, all part of a syndicate were jailed for fraud on 02 July 2019.

On 02 March 2019, the syndicate consisting of eight (8) members conspired and committed fraud at two different stores in a shopping centre in Komani (formerly known as Queenstown). They visited the stores with fraudulent identity documents and bank statements with the intention of opening accounts.

Four (4) members visited one store where they opened accounts and purchased two (2) PS4 to the value of R15 998-00.

The remaining four (4) visited another store, where two (2) successfully applied for contract cellphones and Samsung S9 phones to the value of R29 000-00 were issued. The store was then immediately alerted by its Head Office during the processing of the third application. Centre security was called and the suspect was arrested and handed over to the police.

Further investigation led the police to the arrest of the seven (7) suspects near Jamestown who were already en-route to Gauteng Province. The suspects were arrested in the car they were travelling in and all the items bought fraudulently at both stores were seized.

They appeared briefly in the Queenstown Magistrates Court on 04 March 2019 on fraud charges and remanded in custody until the 13 March 2019. Bail was successfully opposed and they were remanded in custody until the sentencing on 02 July 2019.

Bongani Mbatha (23), Sika Sipho Motsoeneng (45), Mbongeni Ntuli (33), Dumisani Ndlovu (33), Eric Phakathi (37) and Bafana Mtshali (31) were each convicted and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment wholly suspended for 3 years with an option of R12 000-00 fine. On Section 103 of Act 6 of 2000, they were also found to be unfit to possess a firearm.

Accused Number 1 passed away before the finalisation of the case and accused Number 8 asked for a separate trial and will be back in Queenstown Magistrate's Court on 03 September 2019.

Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Andries Swart applauded the Commercial Crime Unit for the speedy finalisation of the case. The collaboration between the investigating officer and the prosecutor is commended and it is through this healthy working relationship that the case was speedily finalised. The sentence will send a message to other potential fraudsters that crime does not pay, he said.

Source: South African Police Service

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