Couple accused of fake insurance claims

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Cape Town - A Cape Town couple who owned a jewellery business face a fraud charge for allegedly putting in a false insurance claim for a house robbery that never happened.

Denish Nathoo, 56, and his wife, Ferial Baboet, 52, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who warned them to appear in court again on March 27.

According to the charge sheet, they owned the business Damjee Bros Jewellers, which specialised in jewellery design and manufacturing.

The wife ran an outlet in Rylands, while the husband operated a store in the Cavendish Square shopping centre, in Cape Town's southern suburbs.

The wife received jewellery from customers for repair, and designed and manufactured jewellery according to customers' specifications. Customers had to pay deposits for the repair or manufacture of jewellery.

According to the charge sheet, jewellery handed in for repair was kept at the Rylands store, and the key to the store was kept at their home in Rondebosch East.

The State alleges that a case docket was registered by the wife for a robbery at their home that never happened.

In the robbery docket, they falsely alleged that their home was forcefully entered while they were asleep, and that they were robbed of various items, including the key to the Rylands jewellery store. They allegedly falsely informed the police that the robbers proceeded to the jewellery store, and stole customers' jewellery worth R900 000.

At the time, the business was insured with the Zurich Insurance Company, against loss or theft at the stores. They were also insured with insurance company MUA, for loss of household contents.

They allegedly submitted a false R956 021 claim with Zurich, and were paid R758 220, but informed their customers that the claim had been rejected.

Similarly, as a result of a false claim submitted to MUA, they were paid out R292 320.

Some of the jewellery which they claimed had been stolen during the bogus robbery was allegedly found in their home and some in one of the stores.

None of the 14 customers allegedly received their deposits back, and that the total loss, including the insurance payouts, amounted to R8.3 million.

Sapa


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