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Plea bargain for alleged fraudsters

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Negotiations for a plea-bargain agreement were still under way for a woman and two men allegedly involved in spending sprees with the use of cloned bank cards, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court heard in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Anushka Rossi, 29, of Lansdowne, and two men, Ashley Knight, 25, and Lungisani Cezula, 23, appeared before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who remanded the three to April 13, when the plea negotiations are expected to be finalised.

Knight and Cezula were arrested after a high-speed chase involving the flying squad.

A search of their car produced an illegal skimming device, which captures data on bank cards in the cloning process.

Prosecutor Juan Agulhas alleges that Cezula used the alias of Siyabonga Magongana at the time of his arrest.

He allegedly had in his possession a number of bank and gift cards and R5393 in cash, as well as invoices relating to a number of fraudulent purchases made with the cloned cards.

It is alleged that Rossi is involved in two separate cases involving fraudulent spending sprees.

It is alleged that whilst she was out on warning in the first case, she went on a second, similar, spree.

Her first case is to be combined with the case involving herself with Knight and Cezula, defence attorney Keith Gess told the court.

In Rossi’s first case, she faces 260 counts, including fraud and violations of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, and the Identification Act.

The first spree lasted only three months, from April to June 2012, and involves R229,865.

This alleged spree started at the Monte Casino at Fourways, The Baron in Sandton and The Pilgrims Trading Store at the OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg before she moved to Cape Town.

In Cape Town, some of her numerous alleged victims are listed in the charge sheet as the Cape Town Fish Market restaurant, the Mugg & Bean restaurant at the Cape Town International Airport, various Pick n Pay outlets, the M-Kem Pharmacy in Bellville, Cape Town, Foschini, Cash Crusaders, Clicks, the Farmhouse Hotel in Langebaan, Panarottis, KFC, Sheet Street, and Mitchell’s Brewery at the V & A Waterfront.

She also visited the Goudini Spar in Rawsonville, and allegedly made several purchases at Midmar Liquors outlets.

In the second spree, whilst she was out on warning in the first case, she allegedly used the alias of Mrs A Anthony, in a fraudulent transaction involving Cash Crusaders.

In the case involving her and the two men, all three are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, five counts of fraud, 61 of fraudulent possession of bank cards, and seven violations of the Electronic Communications and transactions Act.

Rossi alone also faces a charge involving the Identification Act.

The three are in custody, and are to appear in court again on April 13. SAPA


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