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Durban - Five cash-strapped holidaymakers have learnt that there’s no such thing as easy money after they were convicted of contravening the SA Reserve Bank Act by printing R100 notes.
One of them, Richard Kinnear, 24, of George, pleaded guilty in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on Friday and was convicted on four counts relating to the issuing and tendering of counterfeit money and contravening the Reserve Bank Act.
Kinnear, who is unemployed, was fined R4 000 (the option was a two-year suspended sentence).
His four co-accused were sentenced earlier this month.
Each was fined R4 000 or 12 months, half of which was suspended for three years on condition that they did not again contravene the act.
In his plea, read by his lawyer, Ntobeko Dlamini, Kinnear said the decision to print nine R100 notes came after the flat they were holidaying at was burgled.
In December 2009 Kinnear and his friends had gone to Ramsgate on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast but their seaside break was spoilt by the theft, which left them penniless. Their cellphones were also stolen.
Kinnear could not recall when the flat was burgled.
With no money for food or petrol the five decided to print nine R100 notes using a computer belonging to one of them.
The plan was to use the fake money to purchase goods from street vendors who would give them change in real money, which they needed to get home, he said.
On January 4, 2010, the five split the fake cash and approached vendors on Durban’s OR Tambo (Marine) Parade.
However, giving new meaning to the phrase “a run for your money”, the vendors failed to fall for the scam and chased after them, rounding them up. All five were arrested soon after.