No jail for fraudster accountant

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Cape Town - An accountant formerly employed by a Bellville, Cape Town, pharmacy was given a suspended prison sentence on Thursday on 10 counts of fraud involving R218 510.

Janie de Vries, 32, of Brackenfell, was arrested on Thursday, according to the charge sheet, and the same day pleaded guilty in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

Her case took the form of plea-bargain proceedings, before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who declared the sentence of four years imprisonment, conditionally suspended for five, fair and just.

According to the plea-bargain document, De Vries channelled money meant for the M-Kem Medicine City pharmacy's creditors into her own bank account between March last year and April this year.

Prosecutor Derek Vogel listed among the aggravating factors that she had abused a position of trust and unlawfully enriched herself at the expense of M-Kem.

On one of the 10 counts, she lawfully obtained a R50 000 staff loan in August last year, approved by M-Kem co-owner Gillian Watson, but then channelled the amount into her bank account twice instead of once only.

According to the charge sheet, her duties of payment of creditors as well as control over the staff overtime register gave her access to M-Kem's electronic banking system.

Defence attorney M Couzens told the court that De Vries had repaid the stolen money in full from her pension contributions refund.

De Vries lost her job as M-Kem accountant and was now working for two different unnamed employers as a bookkeeper, the attorney said.


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