Two held for defrauding cruise ships
18 February 2013 | PAUL KIRK
One of the men, Calvin de Bruyn, is alleged to have cost MSC over R300 000 since November last year when he began defrauding the cruise line. De Bruyn allegedly booked large numbers of tickets on luxury cruise liners, then collected these at the last minute – producing forged documents proving that he had transferred the money into MSC’s accounts.
Although the State opposed the granting of bail to the men when they appeared in the Durban Magistrates Court on Thursday, they were released because the State has not yet completed its investigation into the alleged fraud.
Private Investigator Brad Nathanson said that he had been hired by MSC and had established that De Bruyn had made very little money - despite having cost MSC a fortune.
“In most cases I suspect that he sold the tickets for peanuts – or gave them away. If a ticket cost say R10 000 he would tell his client that they needed to pay say R500 or so in port taxes and hand the tickets over. MSC lost an awful lot of money,” he said.
“De Bruyn’s motive seems to have been partly to make money by selling the tickets but also to ingratiate himself with others. Sometimes he claims to work for MSC and uses this as an explanation for the discounted tickets. Other times he claims to be some sort of underworld kingpin when he’s really only a silly little wimp. A lot of the people he gave tickets to are well-known figures in Durban, people who one would not necessarily want to cross,” Nathanson added.
Nathanson said that he had little sympathy for the suspect, but realised that he was not a hardened criminal. “Crime is crime, irrespective of your age or intention. Of course every case has its own merit and not all who commit even the same crime should be punished collectively but if you do the crime, you must be prepared to do the time. The law will take its course.”
Nathanson said that the second suspect, Vojuan de Bruin, was arrested this week in Middleburg. De Bruin was also released on bail. According to Nathanson, De Bruin specialised in a second sort of fraud “he operated in a different way to De Bruyn.”
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