Durban — An alleged insurance fraudster has been remanded after appearing in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for 34 counts of fraud by misrepresentation.
Thembi Sishi, 60, appeared in court on Wednesday after she was arrested by Hawks members from Durban Serious Commercial Crime Investigation.
KwaZulu-Natal Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Simphiwe Mhlongo said Sishi was employed as a teacher and between 2007 and 2017 she submitted fraudulent death insurance claims to various insurance companies.
“She claimed that different relatives and biological children under her funeral policies were deceased, and that some of them died due to unnatural causes. The insurance companies paid her a total amount of R897 912.52 on different occasions,” Mhlongo said.
He said that a fraud case was reported at Durban North police station and the case docket was allocated to the Hawks members for further investigation.
“A warrant of arrest was issued and was executed on Tuesday. She was remanded in custody and the case was postponed to October 2 for bail application.”
Commenting on the incident, KZN Hawks head Major-General Lesetja Senona welcomed the arrest of the accused and applauded the members for their good work.
Meanwhile, earlier this month the Insurance Crime Bureau said that insurance fraud may increase with inflation. It said that South Africans are struggling to cope with the high cost of living, and as debt increases some individuals may be enticed into committing opportunistic crime. This raises concerns that more people may turn to insurance fraud to address the financial pressure they are experiencing.
Chief executive Garth de Klerk was speaking on eNCA, discussing how lying on the application stage to save money and submitting padded or false claims, still remains fraud and is against the law.
“Unfortunately, the attitude we are finding towards insurance fraud and related crimes is one that it’s a victimless crime, which is far from the truth. Very similar to what we are seeing with online and financial scams, there is always a victim at the end of the road and there is always an impact on society. We have seen an increase in the crime we are experiencing around financial crime and fraud, but we are also seeing a high prosecution rate and convictions,” De Klerk said.
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