Scales of justie with gavel in foreground Picture: Succo/Pixabay
Scales of justie with gavel in foreground Picture: Succo/Pixabay

Durban woman gets 8 years in jail for 235 counts of fraud

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo Time of article published May 26, 2021

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DURBAN - A 59-year-old woman was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment after she pleaded guilty to 235 counts of fraud totalling R2.7 million.

Charmaine Koch was sentenced on Tuesday at the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal.

According to NPA KZN spokesperson Natasha Kara, Koch from Durban worked for Dundee-based company, Glendee Fertilizer and Lime CC.

Her job entailed administrative work, bookkeeping and uploading creditor payments with supporting invoices onto the company’s online banking profile, said Kara.

Kara said Koch would then prepare a schedule of the creditors that needed to be paid.

She said the list which she prepared was then submitted to her manager who logged onto the system and released the payments.

“At some point, Koch experienced financial difficulties, with her and her husband’s salary insufficient to support their family.

“She decided to defraud her employer and changed the banking details of various creditors to her own banking details,” explained Kara.

Koch also used previous creditors’ invoices and created new ones which she submitted with her details for payment, she said.

According to Kara, the money went directly into her bank account and this was done from August 2012 to January 2017.

“In February 2017, after returning from a holiday with her husband, she was advised that her employer had opened a fraud case against her. She did not return to work and was eventually arrested and taken to court.”

Kara said the matter was successfully prosecuted by Senior State Advocate Ashika Haripersad.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in KZN, Advocate Elaine Zungu, welcomed the prosecution.

“The accused in this matter was placed in a position of trust yet she abused this trust and decided to defraud her employer for 5 years.”

Zungu said they were hopeful that sentences of this nature are indicative of the NPA’s stance against these types of cases.

THE MERCURY

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