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Cape Town lawyer sentenced to 7 years for fraud

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The Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court sentenced a Cape Town lawyer to seven years in prison after he was convicted on two counts of fraud on Wednesday.

Ignatius Marthinus Potgieter abused trust funds totalling R720 963 after two families entrusted him with their money.

Arguing in aggravation of sentence, advocate Jannie Knipe said: “The accused abused his position of trust with his clients in order to commit the above offences.”

In 2011 Cara and Sheena Bloem appointed Potgieter to administer and finalise their dead father’s estate. He promised to act in the best interests of the estate and to pay the man’s home loan, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.

“Between 30 January 2012 and 15 December 2012, the accused withdrew R580 676.84 held or received by him on account of the Bloem estate and/or the complainants.”

He then defrauded the Bester estate in a similar manner.

“On this occasion, Leighwyn Mervin Bester passed away and his father Mervin Bester was the executor of his estate,” Ntabazalila said.

The accused was appointed to administer the Bester estate.

“Around 1 October 2013, R315 000 and R52 500 were deposited into the Bester estate account as proceeds of an Old Mutual policy. Only R315 000 reflected on the liquidation and distribution account of the estate. The R52 500 did not reflect.”

Potgieter only distributed R150 000 and not the total amount reflected in the liquidation and distribution account due for distribution, which was R237 789.

“He used the balance of R140 289 held or received by him on account of the Bester estate and/or the complainant,” Ntabazalila said.

Potgieter – who holds an MBA, a diploma in investment management and a BProc degree – was struck off the roll of attorneys two years ago.

Ntabazalila said the NPA welcomed the sentence.

[Source: News24]

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