A 66-year-old man who faces charges of fraud, money laundering after he allegedly ran a pyramid scheme is expected to appear in court on Thursday. File picture
A 66-year-old man who faces charges of fraud, money laundering after he allegedly ran a pyramid scheme is expected to appear in court on Thursday. File picture

Alleged pyramid scheme fraudster to appear in court

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Sep 20, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - A Western Cape man who allegedly ran a pyramid scheme is expected to appear in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court after he was served with court summons on Monday.

The 66-year-old alleged fraudster was served with the summons by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).

According to the Hawks’ provincial spokesperson, Zinzi Hani, the suspect faces 34 counts of fraud, a count of money laundering and contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FIAS) Act.

She said it is alleged that during the period of September 17, 2015 and May 30, 2018, the suspect solicited funds from members of the public on a regular basis.

The total amount is just over R3.1 million that he would use to alleged trade in crypto currently on forex platforms.

According to the investigation conducted by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team, it was stated the invested funds would allegedly yield guaranteed monthly returns of approximately 4% to investors.

“This was never the case as the funds were instead laundered into other various bank accounts where it was used for personal gain,” Hani said.

In a separate incident, attorney Wharren Jacobus Fortuin, 41, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for theft of just over R1 million from a trust account.

Hani said Fortuin, as a practising attorney, received funds which he was obliged to hold in a trust from claimants.

She said during the period of January 2012 to January 2014, the money received from the claimants were not kept in the agreed trust or used for its intended purpose but were misappropriated by Fortuin.

The court also declared Fortuin unfit to possess a firearm.

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