World Cup fraudster sentenced

2010-06-16 10:23

A 44-year-old man was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the

Pretoria Magistrates’ Court last night for defrauding an American tourist who

was desperate to hire a car for the World Cup.

Johan Nel was arrested on Saturday after telling Joseph MacMahan

that he owned a car rental business. Nel in fact owned no such business.

Nel convinced MacMahan to deposit R2 271 into his wife’s bank

account, claiming it was for car insurance purposes.

He then disappeared into thin air and MacMahan, who needed the car

to drive to the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, had to forfeit the

money.

A specialised World Cup night court revealed that Nel had more than

15 previous convictions for traffic offences, theft and fraud since 1965, but

was never jailed. His most recent fraud conviction was in Polokwane in February.

However, this time around, Nel came out second best as the court

sentenced him to three years imprisonment, suspended for five years.

He tried to talk himself out of prison with a promise to repay

MacMahan on Friday. However, the court told Nel that the cost for MacMahan’s

accommodation at the national park would be more than the refund and that his

promise wasn’t going to help much as MacMahan was flying out today to

Mpumalanga.

Prosecutor Patrick Nkuna also revealed that Nel’s wife was in

custody after being arrested for allegedly defrauding a guesthouse in

Johannesburg. She and Nel had pretended to be American citizens while staying at

the guesthouse.

Speaking to members of the media who had gathered outside the

court, MacMahan said he was delighted at the swiftness of the South African

justice system, but was shocked at how Nel, a “career criminal”, had managed to

stay out of jail all these years.

“I am happy he got caught. They have stopped him from doing the

same thing to other tourists,” MacMahan said.



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