Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
DURBAN - The net is closing in on the kingpins who masterminded an elaborate scheme to defraud Standard Bank of more than R27million.

In the scam, unemployed people made fraudulent applications to the bank for vehicle finance.

Two men were arrested in Phoenix on Saturday, and four luxury vehicles - including a BMW M3 and a high-end Land Rover - were seized. The men are expected to appear in court soon.

Police sources yesterday revealed that the arrest of a female former Standard Bank employee was also imminent.

Last week, The Mercury’s sister newspaper, Post, reported that 11 people linked to the scam were arrested and had their assets seized.

Cam-Aron Aidan Pillay, 20, Junaid Khan, 24, Fatima Ershad, 43, Kevin Pillay, 33, Rajesh Dewduth, 39, Dhanraj Ramsunder, 44, Wendy Mvundla, 23, Kaylin Salik, 19, Malvin Valayundan, 31, Govindma Moonsamy, 58, and Nadine Govindasamy, 41, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on 22 counts of fraud last Tuesday.

Police seized fifteen luxury vehicles, valued at R15m, last week. But sources said there were at least 100 vehicles obtained through the scam.

The 11 accused were released on R1000 bail each.

All the suspects, except for Govindasamy who handed herself over to police, were arrested by members of the Provincial Commercial Crime Investigations Unit and the metro police, in various operations in Chatsworth, Phoenix, Stanger and Durban North.

It is alleged that the fraudulent applications were vetted by the bank employee, who has since been fired from her job.

Sources close to the case said investigations by Standard Bank revealed that the suspects allegedly handed in fraudulent documents in a bid to obtain a motor vehicle loan.

The loan was approved by the bank employee. “The kingpins would befriend the victims and convince them to open a bank account on the pretence of wanting to purchase a luxury vehicle.”

It has been alleged that once the victims received their bank card, they would hand it over to the kingpin. Some of these victims included people picked up off the street.

The account would then be activated with card swipes and deposits. After three months of transactions, the kingpins would then make an online application for vehicle finance, the source said.

Once the finance was approved, the victim would go with the kingpins to a dealership, where they would purchase a luxury vehicle and sign for the deal.

“However, soon after the kingpins would take the vehicle and the victim would receive a cash payout to keep quiet,” said the source.

The court heard that the amount received by each victim varied with payments between R45000 and R160000. Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom said the matter was an ongoing investigation.

“Standard Bank has a zero tolerance stance on fraud or theft of any kind and will take the necessary action, when it’s appropriate to do so.”