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Cape Town -
A former financial planner for Nedbank faces charges of theft and fraud for allegedly transferring clients’ money into his own bank account.
Andrew Charles van Reenen, 45, is charged with stealing more than R1.47 million from four clients over three years.
He was also charged with money laundering, and appeared briefly in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Monday.
According to court papers, the clients were Victor Patrick Fraser, who allegedly lost R576 696 of his retirement investment, Anthony Patrick Bowden who allegedly lost R495 000, Sarah Doubell who lost R250 000, and Siyakholwa Ngcambaza who lost R150 000 which he had wanted to invest in a house or car.
After the clients invested their money, Van Reenen advised them to invest elsewhere and transferred the money into his own account. According to the papers, Van Reenen held two accounts with Nedbank and one with FNB.
Van Reenen had been employed by Nedbank “for the purpose only of placing long-term insurance and institutional investment business” with Old Mutual, Liberty, Momentum, Sanlam and Nedgroup Life, the papers said.
“The financial planner shall not receive any amounts of money from or on behalf of clients, including, without limitation, any insurance premiums, investments or fees,” read part of an agreement Van Reenen signed with Nedbank.
According to the papers: “During the course and scope of his duties, accused met the complainants... who mandated him to invest their monies in specific products, with Old Mutual.
“The funds were accordingly invested with Old Mutual as per the mandate of the complainants.”
Without his clients’ knowledge, Van Reenen then initiated the disinvestment with Old Mutual and transferred the money between accounts.
The funds were then transferred into an account belonging to Van Reenen.
According to the papers, Fraser, the first victim and the one who had allegedly lost the most money, said he had approached the N1 City Nedbank regarding a possible investment.
“He met the accused during... August and/or September 2008 for possible investment of his retirement earnings.” He issued a cheque for R1m to be invested in Old Mutual.
In April 2011, Van Reenen asked Fraser to withdraw the money from Nedbank as he wished to invest it into “Building”. Fraser withdrew cash which he gave the accused, who said Fraser would have to pay him R24 000 and “asked him not to tell anyone about it”.
During the next month, Fraser’s interest was reduced from R13 000 to R9 000 with Van Reenen saying this was due to a lower Reserve Bank interest rate.
Afterwards, the interest was paid to Fraser at irregular intervals until August when no amount was received.
Fraser contacted Van Reenen who said he would bring cash to him, which he did - R5 000 in an envelope on September 7.
A further R3 000 was paid into Fraser’s bank account about a week later, leaving R1 000 outstanding.
Then, Nedbank risk investigator Hester Touche du Poujol contacted Fraser to tell him an amount of more than R500 000 had been removed from his account and transferred into the account of Gerhard Moller trading as Attorneys Malan Lourens.
On September 14, 2011, R576 696 was transferred from Attorneys Malan Lourens into one of Van Reenen’s accounts.
Van Reenen was expected to next appear on July 22.