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Mom in dock for fake kidnapping

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R4m fraud

CAPE ARGUS

Kateryna Karpovska appeared in Bellville Commercial Crimes Court after lying about her son being kidnapped in order to solicit ransom money from her friends. Photo: Tracey Adams

Cape Town - A Hout Bay woman who is alleged to have faked her son’s kidnapping to get money out of her friends, lied with ease when she defrauded about R4 million from people close to her, the State has argued.

Prosecutor Derrick Vogel told the Bellville Commercial Crimes Court on Monday that Kateryna Karpovska lied and manipulated people to benefit herself financially.

During his closing address, Vogel said Magistrate Amrith Chabilall should consider whether Karpovska was honest and trustworthy.

Karpovska, 39, from the Ukraine, is on trial on charges of fraud, money laundering and contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act.

One of the counts relates to Karpovska defrauding seven American friends.

Around 11pm on September 2, 2009 Karpovska allegedly e-mailed one of her friends saying that her son had been kidnapped and the ransom demanded was $2 million (R16m).

She claimed that she had raised most of the money but still needed $143 000.

Her friends agreed to help her and supplied the money. About R1m was paid into Karpovska’s bank account and she then told them that her son was returned to her.

Vogel argued that Karpovska had no problem lying to her American friends about the kidnapping, about certain documentation and about the fact that she was out of the country when she was in fact in Cape Town.

Karpovska admitted that she lied about her son’s kidnapping but said she was forced to do so.

She also testified earlier that she was handcuffed and held against her will by her ex-boyfriend and two other complainants, and that he demanded she get the money one way or the other.

Her lawyer, Pieter du Toit argued that the onus was on the State to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Du Toit also said Karpovska wrote in an e-mail that she wanted to loan the money from her American friends and would repay them.

Du Toit said Karpovska entered into a loan agreement with them, adding that they had not invested the money with her.

The other charges against Karpovska relates to her acting as a financial advisor and committing fraud by depositing investments into her personal account.

Karpovska, however, denies the allegations, saying that the first complainant was her ex-boyfriend and that after their relationship soured, he opened a case against her.

Between May 2008 and May 2009 R4m was allegedly paid into Karpovska’s Absa bank account “for her personal benefit”.

But Karpovska says that she and her ex-boyfriend spent the money together and that money owed to the two other complainants was repaid. Judgment was expected on January 23.

jade.otto@inl.co.za

Cape Argus


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