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Canal Walk credit controller faces 272 fraud charges

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Former credit controller and gift-card assistant at the Canal Walk shopping mall in Cape Town, who allegedly devised a scheme to scam the mall out of more than R700 000 after her promotion from the post of information assistant, now faces multiple fraud charges.

Megan Dominique Brandt, 27, of Bothasig in Cape Town, appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg. She faces 272 fraud charges, involving R766 683, allegedly perpetrated between the years 2011 and 2013.

According to the charge sheet, the mall’s primary source of income was rentals from shop tenants, as well as gift-card sales from the mall’s three visitor-information centres.

At the end of each day, cash-up sheets, reflecting the total money received from gift-card sales, were placed in safes at each information desk. Brandt had to deposit the total amount into the Canal Walk Shopping Gift Voucher bank account. According to the charge sheet, Brandt would reflect the correct daily amounts on a cash reconciliation statement, for management purposes.

However, Prosecutor Gertrude Magopeni alleged that she would then bank a lesser amount, and keep the shortfalls for herself. Thus, it is alleged that on one occasion she received R99 520, but only deposited R88 070, and kept the R11 450 difference for herself.

On another occasion, she received R56 590, but only deposited R21 230 and kept R35 360 for herself, it is alleged.

On yet another occasion, she allegedly received R30 890 but deposited only R12 080 and kept R18 810 for herself.

In Tuesday’s proceedings, the prosecutor said she had taken over the case from former prosecutor Tracey Belelie, who was now a magistrate in Vredenberg on the Cape west coast. She said the case needed further investigation and requested a postponement to August 31 for trial.

Defence attorney Keith Gess objected to the postponement on the grounds that the case was supposed to have been trial-ready in November last year already. He requested that the case be removed from the court roll instead which, technically, would have meant the withdrawal of the charges.

The magistrate, however, granted the postponement on the grounds that there had been a change in prosecutors. Brandt is now expected to go on trial on August 31.

[Source: African News Agency]
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