Cape Town - A man who ran up a hotel bill of R10 320, and paid with a cloned bank card, was sentenced to a R10 000 fine, or three months in jail, on Tuesday.

Siyasanga Miya, 31, of Gugulethu, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who ordered that a skimming device found in his possession, be forfeited to the State and destroyed.

It is illegal to possess skimming devices, which are used for cloning bank cards.

In addition to the fine, Miya was sentenced to 12 months' jail, conditionally suspended for five years.

He was sentenced for seven violations of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, one of fraud and one of possession of the skimming device.

On the fraud charge, he was sentenced to an additional five years' jail, conditionally suspended for five years.

The case took the form of plea-bargain proceedings, involving prosecutor Zama Matayi and defence attorney Stephan Lary.

According to the charge sheet, Miya and a friend, Songezo Poswa, booked into the Rockwell Suite Hotel and Apartments, in the Cape Town CBD, for the period May 29 to June 4 last year.

No sooner had Miya paid the bill with the cloned bank card, than the hotel management was notified of the fraud by the lawful holder of the card.

The police were alerted, and found Miya and his friend still at the hotel.

In Miya’s car, the police found four Pick n Pay cards, a number of Clicks gift cards, a Checkers gift card and a Spec Savers card.

The police also found in his possession the skimming device, an embossing machine used to press the numbers and lettering on credit or debit cards, and an encoding machine used to transfer and load electronic data onto the magnetic strip of a bank card.

Sapa