Cape Town man jailed for housing fraud

2015-05-08 18:30

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Cape Town - A former investigator in the City of Cape Town’s Ombudsman’s office was jailed for four years on Friday for fraudulently receiving R1 200 to help a desperate woman who wanted to buy her rented council house.

Malcom Fritz, 55, appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, where Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg found him guilty of corruption.

Sonnenberg agreed with prosecutor Tracy Belelie that Fritz had abused a position of trust as an investigator in the Ombudsman’s office, which justified direct imprisonment.

According to the charge sheet the victim, Laurette September, mentioned to an acquaintance that she wanted to buy the council house she occupied, as the owner had died.

The acquaintance said he knew someone, Fritz, who could help her. The acquaintance later informed her that Fritz needed R1 000. September borrowed the money from her common law husband.

After receiving the money, Fritz said the transaction would take three weeks to finalise. Three weeks later he told her the house would cost her R100 000.

He however wanted an extra R200 for helping her, which she paid.

Because she could not afford the R100 000, she demanded her money back and was refunded the R1 000, but not the R200.

Belelie said the case was aggravated by the fact that Fritz knowingly demanded money from a woman from the poorer communities in Bishop Lavis, on the Cape Flats. This in itself justified a prison sentence, she said.

Defence attorney Randall Titus suggested a fine or suspended prison sentence.

Sonnenberg, however, said this was too lenient for a charge of corruption, and would send the wrong message to the communities.

The message had to be that crime did not pay, and that corrupt public officials would be jailed.

Read more on:    cape town  |  corruption  |  housing  |  crime

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