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KZN couple jailed for defrauding unsuspecting victims of more than R10m

22 February 2020 - 12:53 By Suthentira Govender
A KwaZulu-Natal couple have received jail time for defrauding victims of more than R10m
A KwaZulu-Natal couple have received jail time for defrauding victims of more than R10m
Image: 123rf/ Allan Swart

A KwaZulu-Natal couple – who between them masqueraded as SA Revenue Service agents, insurance brokers and attorneys to defraud their victims of more R10m – have received jail time for their crimes.

Natasha Kara, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in KwaZulu-Natal, said Sashin Sewpersadh and his wife Chantal were sentenced in the Durban commercial crime court on Friday for their involvement in defrauding several people of about R10.5m between 2016 and 2017.

“In October last year, Sewpersadh pleaded guilty to 29 counts of fraud,  four counts of theft and 29 counts of contravening the Attorneys Act.

“In committing some of the offences, the accused purported to be an attorney/conveyancer and convinced the complainants that he had the permission to sell certain properties in Phoenix and Umhlanga.

“He told them that their payments to him would facilitate the transfer of ownership of these properties to them. However, these properties were not for sale, nor did the accused have any consent to advertise or sell them,” said Kara.

Sewpersadh's wife pleaded guilty to five counts of money laundering.

 The couple also pretended to be Sars agents and convinced one of the complainants that they could assist her with the payment of monies she owed.

 “In one instance, the accused pretended to be insurance brokers and had complainants deposit money into their bank account.”

 In aggravation of sentence, senior state advocate Ranjini Govender told the court that the accused's guilty plea was not necessarily indicative of remorse.

She also asked the court to consider that the accused's actions were premeditated and carefully planned.

Sewpersadh was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment and while his wife received five years' imprisonment in terms of Section 276 (1) (i) of the Criminal Procedure Act, she will only serve 10 months in prison.

“Thereafter she will be put into various programmes meant to address the offences committed,” said Kara.

Director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal advocate Elaine Zungu said: “Sentences of this nature show how seriously the courts view crimes of fraud and money laundering. Congratulations to the team involved in this successful prosecution.”