Man arrested after allegedly scamming elderly woman out of half a million rand
Johannesburg - A 54-year-old man from Midrand in Johannesburg is behind bars after being arrested for allegedly scamming a senior citizen out of thousands of rand, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), commonly known as the Hawks, said on Sunday.
The suspect was arrested on Friday after he allegedly scammed an elderly lady out of at least R500 000 under the pretense that she was buying a vehicle, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said in a statement.
The Hawks serious commercial crime investigation unit launched an investigation after they were approached by a nutrition distributor on Tuesday who claimed that she was approached by the suspect who showed interest in her products.
She presented him with an invoice and account details and, to her surprise, exactly R300 000 was subsequently deposited into her business account instead of the R1073 as agreed. She contacted the Midrand South African Police Service (SAPS), who passed the matter to the Hawks for further investigation, Mulaudzi said.
"On Friday, the investigation team managed to trace and identify the source of the R300,000. The 72-year-old senior citizen informed the team that she transferred R500,000 - R200,000 and R300,000 - to two different accounts for a new vehicle."
The investigating team established that the victim "was tricked", as neither the company name nor the address appearing on the car invoice were valid. Both accounts were immediately frozen and investigations were still ongoing, Mulaudzi said.
Hawks national head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya had welcomed the speedy arrest of the suspect.
“It is disheartening to see how crooks are targeting the elderly. We shall also be focusing on the legal status of the individual in the country,” Lebeya said.
Meanwhile, the team managed to seize cell phones, sim cards, and a storage device from the suspect for further investigation. He was expected to appear in the Midrand Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, facing charges of fraud and money laundering, Mulaudzi said.
African News Agency (ANA)