PMB con pleads guilty

2009-09-22 00:00

A FORMER relief magistrate in KwaZulu-Natal, Johan Carel Fouche (39), pleaded guilty yesterday to a string of fraud and theft charges and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, of which five years imprisonment was conditionally suspended.

Fouche’s lawyer, Kevin Morris, said Fouche claims that his crimes were the result of a gambling problem.

Sentencing Fouche yesterday, regional court magistrate Chris van Vuure­n said the crimes are so serious and prevalent in South Africa that onl­y a jail sentence is appropriate. Fouche also has a previous conviction.

However, he said the sentence aimed to allow Fouche to rehabilitate himself in prison and, hopefully, when he emerged he would have conquered his gambling problem.

“You have a choice when you come out. You can either resume your life, or if you commit crimes again, you will be returned to jail, probably for a very long time,” Van Vuuren told him.

The court took into account, in Fouche’s favour, that he had co-ope­rated fully with police from the time of his arrest and showed remorse for his crimes.

Fouche was dubbed by the media as the “casanova fraudster” at the time of his arrest in May this year, because of his alleged confidence tricks perpetrated on women he’d befriended.

Fouche was arrested at a flat in Pretoria after the SAPS commercial crime unit released his photograph to the media and reported that he was being sought in connection with se­veral cases of fraud committed in Pietermaritzburg and in Durban.

He pleaded guilty yesterday to 67 counts of fraud and theft involving a total amount of R138 597.

The majority of the charges relate to the fraudulent presentation of his victims’ credit cards — namely Fiona Pieters, Elisabeth Goyvaerts and Wolfgang Knupp.

He is charged in one count with the theft of a cheque book and Discovery credit card from Fiona Pieters at KwaDukuza in May 2008, the theft of R4 700 from Pamela Jooste on February 26 this year in Pietermaritzburg, and the theft of a laptop va­lued at R13 500 from Julia Scheepers, also of Pietermaritzburg, in July this year.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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