Three people have appeared in court on charges of fraud, related to a multi-million investment scam.
Malcolm de Beer, Patricia de Beer, and Samantha de Beer were arrested following a take-down operation by the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as Hawks).
NPA spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, said through their company, Coinit, they scammed people out of around R73.6 million.
"Coinit had placed advertisements on its website and in different newspapers calling for people to invest with them. As a result of the advertisements, several people deposited funds into Coinit’s bank accounts," Ramkisson-Kara said.
She explained that in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act and the Banks Act, Coinit was not authorised to accept deposits from investors.
"The State alleges that the entity was not registered as a financial services provider and contravened the legislation by not having the prescribed licence," she said.
The trio has been charged with fraud, with the alternative charge of theft.
"They are also charged with Contravention of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, the Banks Act, and money laundering," Ramkisson-Kara added.
They appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court and were released on R50,000 bail each.
"Malcolm and Patricia surrendered their passports and were advised to contact the investigating officer should they wish to travel. The matter, which was remanded to March 19 for discovery, will be transferred to the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Durban, and the accused will appear there on the next occasion," Ramkisson-Kara said.