Monday, February 10, 2020

Bloemfontein: The Hawks in the Free State have arrested six suspects linked to a criminal network that allegedly created fraudulent payslips and proof of payments.

The scheme, said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, defrauded one of the leading banks over R6.6 million.

The six suspects, aged between 31 and 47, were arrested on 121 counts including fraud, forgery, uttering, money laundering and gang related activities.

“The arrests emanate from an investigation that began in 2017 by the Free State Serious Corruption Investigations, where the suspects are alleged to have created payslips and proof of employments, and further applied for financing of luxury vehicles as well as credit facilities.

“Once the loans were approved, the suspects allegedly disappeared. They amassed over R6.6 million in their illegal dealings with one of the leading banks in the country,” said Mulaudzi.

He said the transactions were facilitated by the bank’s employee, who has since been dismissed.

Six vehicles including a BMW 220i, BMW 320d, BMW X-drive, two VW Golf GTI and a Mercedes Benz coupe have been bought by the suspects, amounting to over R5 million, and an estimated R800 000 was acquired through loans.

Glen Ceaser (31), Veronica Crouch (30), Jolene Crouch (35), Chillerboy Floyd Buys (37), Mosa Harrinton Tseleli (36) and Simon Cornelius Botha (46) appeared briefly at the Bloemfonten Magistrate Court today.

All suspects were granted R2 000 bail, with strict bail conditions.

Mulaudzi said the six are expected back at the same court on 2 March 2020.

“Warrants of arrest have been issued for the other outstanding suspects as they failed to appear in court today. A lifestyle audit of the suspects will be conducted with the assistance of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. Three other suspects are still being sought,” he said.

National Hawks head, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has commended the arrests.

“I have directed that the team should without fail arrest the remaining or better yet, they should hand themselves over to the investigating team.

“We will also be [doing] our outmost best to ensure there is sufficient traction to recoup what was stolen from the bank,” he said.