A man was sentenced by the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court to 10 years imprisonment for 147 counts of fraud.
Patrick Stapleton (66) was sentenced for his involvement in 147 counts of fraud as well as one count each of contravention of the Banks Act, and contravention of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act.
Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), said Stapleton used his company to run the scheme.
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“His company Dynamic Group CC was also convicted of one count each, of contravention of the Banks Act and contravention of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act; and sentenced to a fine of R10 000 for each count. Each fine was suspended for a period of three years,” she said.
Ramkisson-Kara said the scheme ran for a number of years and involved many people.
Between 2008 and 2014, Stapleton operated a Ponzi scheme together with his son, Michael Stapleton. Working from their office in Hillcrest, they approached factory employees who were either being retrenched or were retiring. They mispresented to these people that they (the Stapletons) were involved in the research and development of an off-road mining motor vehicle and a paint business known as Umbala Paints.
“They convinced 147 investors to invest with them, promising very high monthly returns on the investments. Most of the investors were manual workers who invested their retirement funds, retrenchment and/or severance packages with the Stapletons, to the total amount of R11.5 million,” said Ramkisson-Kara.
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The duo were arrested in 2017 and Michael pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Ramkisson-Kara said Stapleton was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the 58 counts of fraud which were all taken as one for the purpose of sentencing, which involved amounts of R100 000 or more.
She said he was also sentenced to eight years imprisonment for the 89 counts of fraud, all taken as one for the purpose of sentencing, which involved amounts of under R100 000.
For the charges of contravening the Banks Act and the FAIS Act, Stapleton was sentenced to two years imprisonment on each count. The court ordered that the sentences run concurrently, resulting in an effective sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
“The NPA welcomes the successful finalisation of this matter. We congratulate the prosecution and the DPCI on a job well done, in holding the accused accountable for their actions,” she said.