Broker’s victims flood in

2009-07-28 00:00

THE amount of money alleged to have been swindled by Pietermaritzburg insurance broker Mike Hale is nearing R10 million as more investors are coming forward to inquire about their investments.

Staff at Hale’s business, MJCM insurance brokers, were inundated with phone calls and clients flocking into the office looking for answers yesterday.

Hale’s business partner, Peter Steedman, said there was pandemonium at the office yesterday. “We have been very busy here. We have received more than 100 phone calls and I have seen about 20 people who wanted to know what happened to their investments.”

By lunchtime yesterday, Steedman said they had details of between R8 million and R9 million in investments that are missing.

A 73-year-old widow, who was too traumatised to speak to The Witness, allegedly lost everything she had after she invested her life savings with Hale. Last week she was expecting interest from her investments, but she received nothing. Upon inquiring, she was told that Hale had gone with all her money. By yesterday she was still recovering from the shock of Hale’s disappearance.

Another elderly couple lost their life savings worth more than R700 000. The couple’s daughter, who for their names to be withheld, said her parents, who moved to the United Kingdom after retirement, sold their house in Pietermaritzburg.

“My parents took out their pension and bought a house in Pietermaritzburg while they stayed there. Eventually they moved to the UK and my father instructed an estate agent to sell his house for him and put the money into the MMCJ brokerage account. The house sale was made in March, and the “investment” was made a couple of weeks ago.”

She said her family have known Hale for more than 15 years. “We have known Hale for a long time, my father had lunches with him. He was somebody we trusted, now he took R713  000 from my parents.”

The police have also received numerous complaints and the matter has been handed over to the commercial crimes unit for investigation.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said only three cases have been formally opened. “The cases that we are investigating so far involve a total of R3 million and we expect more people to come forward.”

The police have appealed to anyone with information on the matter to contact Inspector Preggy Naicker at 033 845 8534 or 084 515 0240.

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