The Port Shepstone couple was convicted of defrauding people out of over R6 million.
Durban – A Port Shepstone couple convicted of defrauding people out of over R10 million were sentenced in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Friday.
Sachin Sewpersad, 38, and his wife Chantal, 39, pleaded guilty to multiple charges including fraud, theft, and money-laundering last year.
According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Natasha Kara, the couple defrauded several people of approximately R10 500 000 between 2016 and 2017.
She said in October last year, Sachin pleaded guilty to 29 counts of Fraud, four counts of theft and 29 counts of contravening the Attorneys Act.
“In committing some of the offences, the accused purported to be an attorney/conveyancer and convinced the complainants that he had the permission to sell certain properties in Phoenix and Umhlanga. He told them that their payments to him would facilitate the transfer of ownership of these properties to them. However, these properties were not for sale, nor did the accused have any consent to advertise or sell them,” Kara said.
She said Chantal pleaded guilty to five counts of money laundering.
“The accused also pretended to be agents for the South African Revenue Service and convinced one of the complainants that they could assist her with the payment of monies she owed SARS. In one instance, the accused pretended to be insurance brokers and had complainants deposit money into their bank account,” she said.
Kara said in aggravation of sentence, senior state advocate Ranjini Govender told the court that the accuseds’ guilty plea was not necessarily indicative of remorse.
She also asked the court to consider that the accuseds’ actions were premediated and carefully planned. They were not lured into the commission of the crime, but made the initiative themselves.
Sachin was sentenced to 15 years direct imprisonment and Chantal was sentenced to five years imprisonment in terms of Section 276 (1) (i) of the Criminal Procedure Act where she will serve 10 months in prison and thereafter be put into various programs meant to address the offences committed.
Director of Public Prosecutions in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Advocate Elaine Zungu welcomed the sentence.
“Sentences of this nature show how seriously the courts view crimes of fraud and money laundering. Congratulations to the team involved in this successful prosecution,” she said.