Hawks arrest 'car repo fraud syndicate' in Mpumalanga
For many, the Covid-19 crisis meant losing their job, house or car. But that didn't stop alleged profiteers from cashing in on people’s misery.
Victims of five men accused of fraud and car theft were not surprised to get a knock on the door from someone wanting to repossess their vehicles.
But according to the Hawks, in this case the callers were con men pretending to be bank officials.
They were caught after one of their victims smelled a rat when her car was “repossessed” even though she had made a payment arrangement with her bank, said Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Capt Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi. “She approached the bank again complaining about their actions and learnt that she was a victim of crime,” said Sekgoto.
On Tuesday, Delmas police received information that the suspects were allegedly selling the stolen vehicles below market value.
They arrested a group of five alleged fraudsters including Billy Ndlovu, 54, Clarence Makhubela, 34, and Lawrence Munyai, 33.
The suspects were found in possession of a Toyota Hilux and a Ford Fortuner which had been “repossessed” in Acornhoek.
They appeared in the Delmas magistrate's court on Thursday. Makhubela and Munyai were each granted bail of R5,000, Ndlovu was remanded in custody and the cases against the two other suspects were withdrawn.
“The matter has since been referred to the Hawks’ serious organised crime investigation team in Mpumalanga to probe the matter further,” said Sekgotodi.
Sekgoto appealed to anyone whose vehicles were recently repossessed to contact their financial institutions. If they found they had been defrauded, they should contact Warrant Officer Makgamatha on 082 304 0052 or report the matter at their local police station.