Ashni Singh.

Durban -

A fake Durban attorney who is serving a five-year jail term for defrauding several people - including businessman Jay Singh - of thousands of rand, has been charged with the same crime.

Ashni Singh, 37, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday charged with fraud.

The case was transferred to the Regional Court where it will be set down for trial.

Singh was handed statements from the docket to give to her attorney Mervin Maistry. It is alleged Singh pretended she had flats for sale and was authorised to sell them for R243 000. But, there were no flats for sale and one property did not even exist.

It is understood the alleged victim in this case found out she had been duped when she saw a newspaper story about Singh’s conviction for the same crimes in the Commercial Crime Court in November.

Singh pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering, amounting to R21 million.

Singh, who registered for a BProc degree but did not complete it, posed as an attorney between May 2008 and September 2009 and told people she was selling repossessed homes on behalf of the eThekwini municipality.

She approached potential buyers and told them to pay the outstanding rates bills and taxes and they could then have the properties before they went on auction.

Businessman Jay Singh, who has recently been in the news in connection with the collapse of the Tongaat Mall, was duped in two deals in which he purchased one property for R980 000 in Morningside and the other for R500 000 on North Beach.

When he realised it was a scam, he questioned Singh and had his money returned.

During sentencing Maistry admitted his client had defrauded others to pay Jay Singh.

Maistry said his client had serious psychological problems which started after her fiancé committed suicide a day after their wedding was meant to take place. He said the wedding had been called off after the interference of another woman.

The Mercury