Cape Town - A former relationship manager at Barclays Wealth, a division of Absa, was sentenced to 15 years in jail on Thursday on multiple counts of fraud involving R15 million, and one of money laundering.
John Julyan, 57, who was also a qualified high school teacher, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, in Cape Town, before magistrate Amrith Chabillal, who said he hoped Julyan would use his teaching talents to “uplift and educate” those in prison with him.
Julyan had qualified for the prescribed minimum sentence of 15
years, for a first time conviction for fraud involving more than R500 000.
Chabillal ruled that numerous circumstances listed by Julyan's lawyer William Booth as substantial and compelling, justifying a less severe sentence, were “ordinary circumstances”. The ruling was expected to be appealed.
Chabillal said the higher courts had urged the lower courts not to deviate from prescribed minimum sentences for “flimsy” reasons.
As he handed down the sentence, Chabillal added: “That’s your sentence, and the court wishes you well.”
Prosecutor Juan Agulhas told the court that Julian almost got away with the perfect crime.
As relationship manager earning a monthly salary of R50,000, Julyan had been responsible for a multi-million rand off-shore investment belonging to Absa client, Prof Bryan Cremin, who prior to his death from Alzheimer’s had been head of radiology at the Red Cross Children’s Memorial Hospital in Cape Town.
The professor had been no longer able to manage his affairs, while Julyan was in control of his investments. Agulhas said Julyan had exploited the professor’s plight in a heartless manner, and frequently transferred huge amounts from the Cremin investment into his and his wife's bank accounts.
Agulhas said Julyan had used the Cremin funds to buy property in Knysna and in the upmarket Cape Town suburb of Constantia. Julyan pumped Cremin's money into a financially troubled business owned by Julyan’s wife, bought a boat that he moored at Knysna, and took his wife on expensive holidays to Austria. Julyan also paid his own mother for the drafting of a will.
Julyan played hide and seek with the court, and was dishonest in his testimony, Agulhas said.
“The accused brought our country into disrepute, and portrayed South Africa as having corrupt citizens.”
He said the case was likely to affect the country’s credit rating, and whether other countries would be willing to do business with South Africa.
Chabillal said Julyan’s undoing had been his visit to the bank to make a final fraudulent electronic transfer of Cremin's money into his own account. A bank clerk become suspicious, and initiated an investigation that revealed the professor to be incapable of managing his affairs.
Chabillal told Julyan: “Had it not been for that one last attempt to unlawfully transfer funds into your own account, your actions may well have gone undetected.”