Three people have been arrested after they allegedly purchased cars at Limpopo auctions with fraudulent bank documents, police said yesterday.

Police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Wednesday the provincial health and social development department had held a number of auctions to sell its old cars in July 2012.

“Interested parties, including members of the public, were required to pay a R5000 registration fee.”

Mulaudzi said a criminal syndicate produced forged bank deposit slips in order to register; the group then successfully bid for 11 cars worth R300 000. Again, they created bank deposit slips to trick the department into thinking they had paid for the vehicles.

The syndicate then sold the cars for cash to other people, who were unaware the cars had been fraudulently acquired.

“Last week the department realised that it had been duped and opened a case of fraud and theft.”

The Hawks began an investigation and on Wednesday three people, including the alleged kingpin, were arrested.

Mulaudzi said the kingpin was an “IT guru” who used his computers to generate the false banking paperwork. All his equipment was seized.

Six cars were subsequently recovered in Polokwane, Seshego and Thohoyandou.

The arrested men would appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court shortly. - Sapa