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Ex-Sheriff on fraud charges

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Cape Town - A former sheriff based in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Monday on fraud charges.

Sylvia Yon was not asked to plead when she appeared before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg. She was warned to appear in court again on June 12, to face 14 charges involving R940 739.

According to the charge sheet, the SA Board of Sheriffs received numerous complaints from aggrieved people alleging Yon had failed to pay trust money due to them.

Yon was appointed sheriff for the Khayelitsha district in September, 2001.

The complaints led to an audit, in which she was asked to provide 24 files relating to the complaints.

Prosecutor Juan Agulhas alleges she only handed over five of the 24 files, too few for a thorough investigation.

However, the investigation revealed her financial books were incomplete, and that no proper records were kept.

Yon allegedly failed to pay over trust money to beneficiaries on request, and also failed to deposit trust money into her trust account.

According to the charge sheet, the Sheriffs Act demands sheriffs keep a trust account. By virtue of their office, sheriffs receive two types of money in the execution of their duties.

One is for work such as serving summonses, the other is trust money they receive from debtors and from the proceeds of goods and properties that have been attached and sold in sales of execution or on auction.

According to the charge sheets, sheriffs may only transact with trust money when paying to trust creditors. They may not make personal use of trust money.

In addition to the fraud charges, Yon is also charged with failure to keep proper accounting records.

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