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Cape Town - A Zimbabwean waiter was given a suspended prison sentence on Wednesday for cloning the bank cards of restaurant guests celebrating a birthday.
Brown Tumba pleaded guilty to 13 counts of bank card fraud in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town.
The crime potentially involved R19 555 and four violations of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.
A further charge of conspiracy to commit fraud was abandoned by prosecutor Denver Combrink.
The proceedings took the form of a plea-bargain, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who sentenced him to 10 years, conditionally suspended for five years.
Tumba, 30, was a waiter at the Haiku and the Bhukara restaurants in the Cape Town CBD.
In September 2011, Aletta Breitenbach and friends celebrated her daughter's birthday at the Bhukara restaurant.
Breitenbach and one of her friends, Guy Johnstone, decided to split the bill between them, and both paid with their bank cards.
They were served by Tumba, and the next week they both realised that their cards had been compromised.
Legal aid defence lawyer Hayley Lawrence told the court Tumba had a diploma in information technology.
Items confiscated by the police Ä including an Apple iPhone, a laptop, two external hard drives and three memory sticks Ä were declared forfeited to the State.