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Durban - An investment broker operating from his home at Zimbali Estate, north of Durban, is facing sequestration amid allegations that he stole about R1.5 million from just one client who he has been fobbing off with false promises and fake documents.
Part-time radio announcer Sachin Lalla, and his wife, Priya, who run SPG Fund Managers, have both been provisionally sequestrated in terms of an order granted by Durban High Court acting Judge Nkosinathi Chili late last year.
When the matter came back to court last week, the couple asked for more time to file papers opposing the order’s being made final, claiming that they had no money anyway, so their sequestration would be of no benefit to their creditors.
But their client, Mavendhrian Reddy, who brought the application against them, wants to know what has happened to his money and suggests that there may be other investors in the same boat as him. He also believes the couple have assets which, if placed under the care of a trustee, could be sold and the money could be used to pay creditors.
He says the couple are in the process of selling a second property that they own.
Their home on the estate, he said, was filled with antiques and their office with expensive computer equipment.
He said that Lalla had another “fledgling” internet-based grocery supply service on the estate.
And just recently, Lalla had posted on his Facebook site that SPG Fund Managers had acquired 100 000 shares in Mediclinic International Limited, the total value being about R7 million, although, Reddy said, “I have good reason to believe this posting is false and designed to attract further investments from unsuspecting people.”
Reddy said he had known the couple for about five years and that Lalla had worked for him as a bookkeeper and accountant.
In November 2011, Lalla told him he was establishing an investment business – an authorised financial services provider – which promised returns of between 20 and 30 percent.
Reddy said between then and November last year, he was persuaded by the couple to invest various amounts.
When he asked for his money back, he was “led on a wild goose chase”, with lawyers’ letters, which proved to be false, and fake bank payment notifications.
He said he was misled that some of his money had been invested with JP Morgan but, in an e-mail in October last year, he was told: “We only have a brokerage account with JP Morgan. The contingency fund is what we named our investment… it has nothing to do with JP Morgan.”
Reddy said he had reached the end of his tether and wanted his money, plus interest, back.
He said he had also now discovered that the company was not registered with the Financial Services Board and the number it was using belonged to another company, based in New Germany.
The matter will be back before court next week.