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Fraud accused awaits fate

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The court heard that Nieuwenhuizen had allegedly transferred the R200 000 to her personal savings account and from there used the money at, among other places, Emperors Palace Casino and Flamingo Casino

IN COURT: Lesley Nieuwenhuizen appeared in the Kimberley Magistrates Court yesterday on charges of fraud and money laundering. She is seen with her legal representative, advocate Willie Els. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE KIMBERLEY woman who allegedly defrauded vulnerable city residents who were facing personal financial problems, will hear her fate next week when judgment in the case is expected to be delivered.

The accused, 53-year-old Lesley Nieuwenhuizen, is facing multiple charges, including fraud and money laundering, stemming from two cases where she allegedly defrauded city residents of thousands of rand.

Closing arguments in the case were delivered yesterday in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court by State prosecutor Isaac Mphela and Nieuwenhuizen’s legal representative, advocate Willie Els.

During 2009, Nieuwenhuizen allegedly convinced a city couple to invest R200 000 in her company with promises of good returns.

The couple was apparently led to believe that a monthly payout of R10 000 would come from the interest incurred on their initial sum as Nieuwenhuizen would deposit the pension money in her investment company account.

However, the couple claimed that they never received any return on their investment nor was their initial R200 000 refunded.

The court heard that Nieuwenhuizen had allegedly transferred the R200 000 to her personal savings account and from there used the money at, among other places, Emperors Palace Casino and Flamingo Casino.

Nieuwenhuizen also allegedly defrauded a Port Elizabeth resident, Marthinus Claasen.

During his earlier testimony, Claasen told the court that he had been introduced to Nieuwenhuizen in 2007 by her in-laws, who lived across the road from him in Bodley Street.

“In 2007 I was in financial trouble and had to put my home on the market,” said Claasen. “It was then that her (Nieuwenhuizen) in-laws informed me that she would be able to assist me. We met at my house to discuss the matter and she said that she would help transfer my bond from Nedbank to SA Homeloans. According to her, I was to stop paying Nedbank and pay the company listed in my statement instead.” Following the meeting, Claasen made three separate payments, one of R2 790 in December 2007 and two of R5 600 and R3 000 respectively in early 2008.

“She informed me that the last transaction was to be my first payment on my SA Homeloans bond. As the amount was more at SA Homeloans, I was to get R105 000 paid into my bank account. To date, I have not seen a cent of the R105 000 and was never refunded any of the money from the three payments. I was also not able to move over from Nedbank to SA Homeloans as Lesley had said,” Claasen said at the time.

Mphela yesterday asked the court to find Nieuwenhuizen guilty on all charges, including money laundering.

“The accused’s version is riddled with improbabilities. She was never a registered financial service provider and was rendering services (to the complainants) without a licence,” Mphela said.

Els, in turn, stated that Nieuwenhuizen never pretended to be a financial adviser and acted in her personal capacity.

“She tried to help (the complainant) by putting them on the right road,” Els said.

Mphela responded by saying that Nieuwenhuizen had acted as a financial service provider, and referred to documents handed in during proceedings that contained her company names – “Lesley Financial Services” and “Nu Finance”.

Magistrate Danie Schneider is expected to deliver judgment in the matter next week.

Nieuwenhuizen remains in custody.