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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

Fraudster sentenced 19 years for investment scam

Fraudster Abert David Titus was sentenced to 19 years for running a fake investment scheme.

A Free State investment scheme fraudster was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment by the Ficksburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for fraud and money laundering.

40-year-old Abert David Titus from Ladybrand was sentenced on Tuesday, 4 June 2024, after he was convicted of fraud, money laundering, and contraventions of the Banking Act and Financial Advisory and Intermediaries Services (FAIS) Act.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, Titus operated a bogus investment scheme that promised people high results if they invested in his company.

12 victims invested R900 000 with Titus

According to Free State Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Zweli Mohobeleli, 12 victims invested a cumulative R900 000 with Titus, who had promised a 20% monthly interest for investing on their behalf.

But instead of investing the money, Titus used the funds for personal expenses, as they were never invested as misrepresented.

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“One of the victims, who had sowed R100 000, alerted the police when dividends were no longer forthcoming. Bethlehem Serious Commercial Crime Investigation detectives looked into the matter and hauled the accused before court,” Mohobeleli said.

Titus appeared in the Ladybrand Magistrates’ Court, and he was released on bail until the finalisation of the matter.

After the conclusion of the matter, he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on counts one to 15 of fraud, with three years suspended for five years on condition that the accused is not convicted of fraud or theft committed during the period of suspension.

Titus was sentenced to eight years imprisonment on counts 16 to 31 for money laundering. The accused was also sentenced to two years for counts 31 and 32 for contraventions of the Banking Act and FIAS Act.

Declared unfit to posses firearm

According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane, the court ordered that counts 16 to 32 run concurrently with counts 1 to 15. Titus also declared unfit to possess a firearm. 

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“The National Prosecuting Authority will continue to be at the forefront of the fight against fraud and corruption cases as these commercial crimes threaten the economic stability of the country; hence, the NPA will channel all its resources to ensure that we adopt an aggressive stance in prosecuting them,” Senokoatsane said.

The acting head of the Free State Hawks, Brigadier Xolani Matroos, also commended the investigators for ensuring the sentence.

“We advise investors to use the services of reputable financial institutions and accredited financial experts,” Matroos said.

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