The Hawks in the Free State have arrested six suspects, aged between 31 and 47, on 121 counts, including fraud, forgery, uttering, money laundering and gang-related activities, reports Bloemfontein Courant.
Glen Ceaser, 31; Veronica Crouch, 30; Jolene Crouch, 35; Chelleroy Floyd Buys, 37; Simon Cornelius Botha, 46; and Mosa Harington Tseleli, 36, briefly appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
According to the Hawks, the alleged criminals unlawfully and fraudulently created payslips and proof of payments depriving the banks of more than R6.6 million.
“The arrests emanate from an investigation that began in 2017 by the Free State Serious Corruption Investigations, where the suspects are alleged to have created payslips and proof of employment, and further applied for financing of luxury vehicles as well as credit facilities. Once the loans were approved, the suspects allegedly disappeared.
“They amassed over R6.6 million in their illegal dealings with one of the leading banks in the country,” said spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale.
Mogale added that the transactions were facilitated by the bank’s employee, who understandably has since been dismissed.
Six vehicles, including a BMW 220i, BMW 320d, BMW X-drive, two VW Golf GTI and a Mercedes-Benz coupe have been bought by the suspects, amounting to an excess of R5 million and an estimate R800,000 was acquired through loans.
All suspects were granted R2,000 bail with strict bail conditions. They are expected back at the same court on 2 March 2020. Warrants of arrest have been issued for the other outstanding suspects as they failed to appear in court today. A lifestyle audit of the suspects will be conducted with the assistance of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. Three other suspects are still being sought.
The National Head of the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, has commended the arrest of the suspects linked to the unlawful and fraudulent scams.
“I have directed that the team should without fail arrest the remaining suspects, or better, they should hand themselves over to the investigating team. We will also be doing our utmost best and working hard in ensuring there is sufficient traction to recoup that was stolen from the bank,” said Lieutenant-General Lebeya.