Brooklyn police made nine arrests for alleged fraud over the past month alone, a spokesperson has revealed.
“Fraudsters come from outside of Pretoria to commit their crimes here as they believe the chances of them getting caught here are slimmer,” said police spokesperson Captain Colette Weilbach.
Many of these arrests involved cases in which the perpetrators tried using false information and somebody else’s identification documents to obtain cellphone contracts.
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“These perpetrators are often caught out when the stores verify the information on their systems,” she said.
“It is standard at almost all stores to verify customers’ information before closing a deal.”
Among those arrested is Nombuso Maseko (25) from Bramley, who was fined R20 000 or 24 months’ imprisonment, half of which was suspended for five years.
Maseko misrepresented himself on 6 July by providing a false identification document to apply for a cell phone contract at the Metro store in Menlyn Retail Park.
Also, Lumgelolakhe Ncapai (30) from Houghton, Johannesburg was recently sentenced to pay a R3 000 fine or three years’ imprisonment for the same crime. This was after he tried to obtain a cellphone contract at a Vodacom shop in Menlyn Mall using false identification in 2014.
According to Weilbach, another popular fraud involved online selling and buying.
Dishonest buyers would deposit money for purchases and then contact the seller later to say that an additional amount was deposited by accident. They would then ask that the “extra” deposit be paid back.
“The defrauded seller only discovers later that, not only did he make a refund but, in fact, no money was deposited at all. The ‘buyer’ would also disappear with the product.”
Jonathan Mdhluli (39) from Alexandra was given a two-year sentence, which was suspended for three years for a similar fraud.
Last year, he asked for a deposit for material which he was supposed to provide, but never did so, as agreed upon.
Weilbach said there had been a number of cases in which a deposit slip would be altered to reflect a cash deposit.
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In other instances, only after the goods have been released to the “client”, it would be discovered that a cheque deposit was made and that the cheque has been returned.
Weilbach said the same types of fraud were reported throughout the rest of Tshwane as well.
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