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Suspended sentence for bookkeeper

Crime & Courts

Cape Town - A bookkeeper was handed a suspended prison sentence on Wednesday for stealing over R100 000 from a Cape Town law firm.

Annemarie Elizabeth van Zyl appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before Magistrate Sabrina

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Sonnenberg, and was sentenced to five years in prison, conditionally suspended for five years.

Van Zyl had pleaded guilty in a plea-bargain.

She had stolen R140 493 between October 2008 and December 2010.

Prosecutor Xolile Jonas told the court the firm - De Abreu and Cohen - specialised in conveyancing, and Van Zyl's duties included recording all transactions in a ledger, and managing the banking of cash.

He said staff members Brenda Mumro and Marie-Lou Gillespie were the only personnel authorised to sign cheques on behalf of the firm, while Van Zyl had sole authority to access the firm's cheque books.

He said a filing clerk had been given cheques to deposit at Nedbank and FNB, and among them was a cheque with a forged signature, payable to Van Zyl.

Jonas said the forgery gave rise to a forensic audit, which led to the charge brought against Van Zyl.

Defence attorney Ronald Rieckerts said Van Zyl had indicated from the beginning that she would plead guilty, to avoid a protracted trial.

This was an indication of remorse and justified the suspended prison sentence, he said. - Sapa

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