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Medical doctor, husband in hot water for allegedly defrauding SARS of R700,000

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The Hawks said it is alleged that between 2013 and 2016 the couple submitted fraudulent tax invoices to SARS and approximately R700,000 was transferred into their joint bank account

A judge’s gavel
The Hawks in Pretoria traced and arrested 62-year-old Mortimer Wright and his wife, Melanie, 53, on fraud, forgery and uttering charges, as well as contravention of the Tax Administration Act. File Picture

Pretoria – The Hawks’ serious commercial crime investigation team in Pretoria has arrested a Northern Cape-based couple, 62-year-old Mortimer Wright and his wife, Melanie, 53, on fraud, forgery and uttering charges as well as contravention of the Tax Administration Act.

“It is alleged that between 2013 and 2016, the couple submitted fraudulent tax invoices to SARS (SA Revenue Service) and approximately R700,000 was transferred into their joint bank account,” said Gauteng Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu.

“The investigation team successfully traced the couple at a private hospital in Kathu, Northern Cape, where Melanie Wright was practising as a medical doctor. The couple were apprehended and subsequently charged.”

Mulamu said that on the day of the arrest, the couple appeared in the Kathu Regional Court and were warned to appear in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on January 24, 2022.

In another case, Mulamu said the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has handed down a 20-year direct imprisonment sentence to a serial fraudster in connection with R23.8 million fraud.

The court heard that between March 2013 and January 2014, the accused, Christiaan van Niekerk, 51, made advances to a prominent Pretoria trucking and logistic businessman to lend him money as he was awaiting his offshore investments payout.

Van Niekerk submitted fraudulent financial documents to the businessman as proof of income and investments. The businessman transferred approximately R23.8 million in different transactions to Van Niekerk’s bank account.

After Van Niekerk failed to repay the loan, the complainant discovered that the documents submitted to him by Van Niekerk were fraudulent.

The matter was reported to the Hawks’ serious commercial crime investigation team in Germiston for further investigation.

Van Niekerk was arrested in January 2017 and charged with fraud.

In November 2017, the court found Van Niekerk guilty and convicted him of two counts of fraud.

On Tuesday, Van Niekerk was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for fraud and five years’ imprisonment on another count of fraud. The sentences will run concurrently.

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