DURBAN, South Africa – Police have apprehended a female suspect in Durban in connection with multiple counts of estate fraud.
In a statement on Tuesday, police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the 39-year old woman was arrested in the Effingham area on charges of falsely advertising flats for sale between September 2018 and October 2019.
“She would promise to facilitate the whole process of buying a property to people interested in buying flats,” Gwala said, adding that the woman’s modus operandi was to request victims to deposit large sums of cash into her bank account in order to secure a flat.
The former employee of an estate agent firm, where she was responsible for managing rentals for flat owners, would then prepare false contract documents for her victims to sign.
She mainly worked out of the Lamontville, Berea, Umbilo, KwaMakhutha and Isipingo areas.
Gwala said the suspect embezzled R1.2 million (about US$69,447) and was expected to appear at the Durban magistrate’s court on Wednesday on several charges of fraud.
A recent report by professional services firm PwC showed that South Africa had experienced a drop in economic crime, although the monetary value had risen sharply.
The 2020 Global Economic Report showed that the country had seen $1.7 billion in losses due to fraud.
“It is notable that while incidences of most fraud types declined in South Africa, occurrences of the top three rose, and so too did cybercrime, which seems to be creeping up to previous levels,” it said.