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By Hein Kaiser

Journalist


Dramatic betrayal unfolds as alleged swindler Matthew Dunn evades justice

Matthew Dunn accused of defrauding victims, including family, in elaborate investment scam.


It is a betrayal of dramatic proportions and alleged swindler Matthew Dunn is now wanted by authorities for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting victims, including his family, out of millions of rand.

His ex-wife is at the front of the queue to cinch his prosecution.

Skipped the country and is hiding abroad

Dunn was once a trusted son-in-law and promising professional, now he has allegedly skipped the country and is hiding abroad.

His activities began under the guise of an enticing “investment opportunity”, allegedly endorsed by his employer, a Johannesburg engineering firm.

According to PJ Riley, Dunn’s father-in-law, he claimed it was an exclusive incentive scheme offering shares in select companies at preferential rates, exclusively accessible to his firm’s employees and their family members.

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“His initial correspondence was sent from his work e-mail, which lent some credibility to his presentation,” Riley said.

But instead, it was allegedly a well-crafted deception, presenting contracts detailing each transaction, specifying payment amounts and the number of shares in the companies he had allegedly had access to.

Over five years, payments ranging from R49 000 to R714 000 were made into Dunn’s bank account by various investors, including his ex-wife Megan and Riley.

Dunn’s ruse began to unravel

But Dunn’s ruse began to unravel when Riley attempted to cash in one of the purported contracts in 2017, but it took an inordinate amount of time to get the money back to investors.

Despite assurances from Dunn that the delay was due to the amount of money involved, it took three months for the payment to clear.

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Although Riley’s concerns were temporarily massaged into acceptance when the contracted amount was eventually paid, suspicions grew as other investors began to uncover Dunn’s allegedly fraudulent activities.

Riley shared the extent of Dunn’s apparent deceit and was shocked that he had no qualms defrauding family, friends and even strangers who had entrusted him with their life savings.

“In our case, he [allegedly] defrauded us of about R2.5 million over the years,” Riley said.

Victims lost millions

Other victims apparently lost millions, too.

The impact on Riley’s family was significant, with their daughter divorcing Dunn, albeit not before her life and security were allegedly threatened by some investors simply because she was married to him at the time.

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During divorce proceedings, she also discovered that the money she had been giving Dunn for bond repayments on their home had never been paid to the bank.

Riley said the police investigation did not initially inspire any confidence that Dunn would have to account for his actions.

Despite early engagement from the senior state prosecutor, he said, concerns about prosecution’s conduct were raised, leading to the removal of Dunn’s case due to the prosecution’s failure to provide a portion of documentation.

Forensic investigator frustrated

Forensic investigator Chad Thomas of IRS Forensic Investigations, who was placed on a watching brief for Dunn’s case, expressed his frustration.

“We were astounded when the matter was provisionally withdrawn based on a minor technicality,” Thomas said.

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Despite a warrant for Dunn’s arrest, he apparently fled SA before he could be summoned back to court.

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