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Cape Town Technical problems caused a delay on Thursday, in a case in which a female member of an alleged syndicate faces charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, in an airline ticket scam.

Zita Plew-Chisholm, 34, of Plumstead in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, appeared before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

She was arrested on January 18, 2013, and later released on warning.

During Thursday’s proceedings, it transpired that an additional (unspecified) charge had been added.

Prosecutor Jacques Smith said he had received representations in respect of the additional charge, from defence attorney Keith Gess.

He said the representations had caused technical problems, and the State needed about two weeks to respond to the representations.

According to the charge sheet, the syndicate advertised discounted airline tickets for sale, and involved a legitimate travel agency that legitimately provided discounted airline tickets.

The travel agency was known in the syndicate as a “legend”.

Only cash transactions, or bank or money market transactions were acceptable to the syndicate, and transactions could only take place by means of financial instructions.

Victims had to deposit cash into an account provided by the syndicate.

Once deposits were made and confirmed, the syndicate would order the required airline tickets electronically, but make payments with compromised bank cards.

The prosecutor alleges that Plew-Chisholm’s role in the scam was to pose as a travel agent.

The State alleges that she possessed three different bank accounts – two with FNB and one with Absa – into which victims were duped into making payments, in the belief that they were buying legitimate discounted airline tickets for cash.

The case continues on November 9.

ANA