Three people linked to the controversial Dundee, KZN, ‘pyramid scheme’ Coin-It have been arrested by the Hawks.
Malcolm de Beer (54), Patricia de Beer (53) and Samantha de Beer (31), all from Dundee, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court today on charges of fraud, with an alternative charge of theft, to the amount of approximately R73.6m.
They are also charged with Contravention of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, the Banks Act, and money laundering.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara told the Dundee Courier that Coin-It had placed advertisements on its website and in different newspapers calling for people to invest with them.
“As a result of the advertisements, several people deposited funds into Coin-Its bank accounts. In terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act and the Banks Act, Coin-It was not authorised to accept deposits from investors. The state alleges that the entity was not registered as a financial services provider, and contravened the legislation by not having the prescribed licence.”
The three were released on bail of R50 000 each.
Malcolm and Patricia surrendered their passports and were advised to contact the investigating officer should they wish to travel. The matter, which was remanded to March 19 for discovery, will be transferred to the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Durban where the accused will next appear.
“The NPA and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation are committed to fighting fraud, and by working together with each other and our partner stakeholders, we can turn the tide against crime in South Africa,” said Ramkisson-Kara.
The De Beers were represented by Mello Shabangu.
Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Simphiwe Mhlongo said more information will be provided as the investigation unfolds.
Founded by the local De Beer family, the scheme paid out millions of rands to investors around the country. However, when the scheme crashed, many were left penniless.
A liquidation order was granted and assets linked to Coin-It were sold in a bid to recover some of the investment money. But for most, this did little to bring back what they had invested into what they thought were trucks and other heavy machinery working in mining-related activities.
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