South African fugitive and Pietermaritzburg’s insurance broker fraudster, Mike Hale, seems to have fallen off the face of the earth – again.
Hale, who is around the age of 74, was the owner of MJCM Insurance Brokers at 296 Bulwer Street in Pietermaritzburg, KZN.
He skipped the country in July 2009 with millions in funds that he had supposedly invested for clients, and is wanted on 45 counts of fraud totalling R20m.
Hale left the country supposedly for a holiday in the United Kingdom (UK), but things took a suspicious turn when clients who believed their money had been invested with insurance companies that Hale managed did not receive their monthly interest for July that same year.
Furthermore, he didn’t just abandon his clients but his wife and his employees too.
Ex-wife and employee
His ex-wife, Charma, whose valuables Hale also allegedly stole when he went ‘on holiday’, told The Witness that she was also still in the dark about his whereabouts.
One of Hale’s employees Peter Steedman (57), who was a sales manager at MJCM, said since the ordeal he has suffered a stroke, is wheelchair-bound and has been blacklisted by all banks.
“Mike took everything from me. I can’t work and since then I have experienced one stress-related illness after another.”
After his stroke, Steedman was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“When he left, I lost an income and I tried to rebuild my life and start from scratch but couldn’t. I have lost income, my home and my car and because of my health conditions I can’t work.”
Steedman told the newspaper that every time he comes across any of Hale’s former clients all they say to him is they just want to see him caught and punished.
“I may be wheelchair-bound but if I had to see him, I would get out of my wheelchair and beat him up,” he said.
Though he had been located in the past and was awaiting extradition, Hale’s whereabouts have not been confirmed by the police.
After the newspaper managed to track him down in 2013 while he was working as a relief teacher in schools in Cornwall, UK, the process of bringing Hale back to face justice in South Africa began.
In 2015, the case suffered a setback, in that the investigating officer in the matter resigned from the police.
Hale was arrested in 2019 in the UK and wanted to fight the extradition and be put on trial there as he argued the South African justice system was inhumane.
In 2020, it was alleged that the British courts were unhappy with the conditions at Westville prison in Durban and a British official was going to travel to South Africa to assess the Kokstad Super Maximum Prison and if the conditions met the British court’s standards it would be a possibility that he would be extradited there.
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