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Thabiso Goba
3 minute read
23 Apr 2021
06:18

Family reports Wentworth ‘Bitcoin trader’ missing

Thabiso Goba

Durban police are looking for a Wentworth-based man trading in cryptocurrency who has been accused by investors of disappearing with their money.

Durban police are looking for a Wentworth-based man trading in cryptocurrency who has been accused by investors of disappearing with their money.

The 29-year-old man was reported missing by his sister at the Wentworth Police Station on April 3, 2021 after he did not come back from a trip to Cape Town.

“Dear valued clients … It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that my brother has been missing since 02/04/2021. I understand fully the concerns you may have, as I am certain, you can understand how trying this time is for my family and I,” his sister wrote on Facebook.

The man’s disappearance has left many people wondering if they will ever get a return on the investments they made.

“I do believe [he] is a good guy and I hope he is found safe. And though this may seem like a hopeless situation. I pray we recover at least some of the money invested.”
Investor from Chatsworth, Sharon Perumal.

Based on multiple interviews and information online, the trader used to be a call centre agent before he started his cryptocurrency business in 2019.

According to his Facebook page, he traded in Bitcoin and he would post regular updates on his investments.

His business gained prominence in early 2020 and he was offering packages for investors to choose to double or triple their payouts. He took a R250 admin fee for every transaction.

The Witness spoke to at least 10 people who had invested with his company and are looking at the possibility of losing over R200 000 of their money.

Their stories follow a similar pattern, they were referred to him by someone they trusted. Their first and second investments yielded profits and when they invested more he disappeared.

“We can confirm charges of fraud are being investigated by Chatsworth and Bayview SAPS after the complainants were allegedly defrauded of their money by a known suspect.”
SAPS provincial spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala.

One of those people is Sharon Perumal (47) a mother from Chatsworth who lost her job at a tourism company last June after it was liquidated in large part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wanting to generate an income for her family, Perumal was introduced to the trader by a trusted friend who was also investing with him.

Perumal started off tentatively by investing R3 000 and she got back R6 000 in January this year.

She then invested a further R11 000 and also got her daughter to invest some money too and they have not got anything back yet.

“I do believe [he] is a good guy and I hope he is found safe. And though this may seem like a hopeless situation. I pray we recover at least some of the money invested,” she said.

ALSO READ | Furious investors burn alleged Ponzi scheme operator’s home.

Zama Kunene, a call centre agent in central Durban, worked with the man before investing R15 000 with him.

“I have contemplated suicide. Depression is killing me. But [I am] taking it one day at a time,” she said.

There’s a Telegram group of around 400 people from across the country all claiming to have been scammed by the man.

Isaac Leiden from Delft in the Western Cape gave him R10 000 of his pension money after being referred to him by a friend in Durban.

Multiple cases have been opened against him.

“We can confirm charges of fraud are being investigated by Chatsworth and Bayview SAPS after the complainants were allegedly defrauded of their money by a known suspect. The matter is still under investigation,” said Captain Nqobile Gwala, SAPS provincial spokesperson.

The man’s family could not be reached for comment yesterday.