Delay in fraudster's sentencing

2013-05-30 22:18

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Johannesburg - Sentencing of a bookkeeper convicted of stealing R4.5m from her employer was postponed in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg put off the matter to 25 July after a request by the defence.

Tania Rose Corker, 36, was found guilty of channelling amounts of her employer's money into her own bank account for over three years.

They money was meant for payment of Value Added Tax and other taxes to the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

As a result her employer, Trilink Dynamics, owes Sars millions of rand in unpaid taxes.

Company chief executive Anthony Korevaar told the court he was negotiating a compromise with the revenue collector.

He told the court Sars had rejected his first compromise offer, and he was busy negotiating a second one.

"If the second offer is rejected as well, the company faces liquidation, which would leave the 350 staff members without jobs," he told the court.

Gary Jansen, for Corker, asked the court for a postponement until the company reached an agreement with Sars.

Jansen said the outcome of the negotiations with Sars would influence the sentence to be imposed on Corker.

"My client faces a heavier sentence if her actions cause job losses for the 350 people, than if Korevaar’s second compromise offer is accepted, and the staff is able to keep their jobs," he said.

Prosecutor Jacques Smith opposed the postponement on the grounds that the case was to have been finalised on Thursday.

He feared Jansen might delay the proceedings yet again, when the hearing resumed in July, with a request for another postponement.

Smith said it was likely to take Sars several weeks to consider the second compromise.

Sonnenberg said the sentence ultimately imposed on Corker had to be "blended with mercy".

She said the court needed to know the result of the second offer, to help her arrive at a balanced sentence.

"It would impact on the sentence if the second compromise was rejected as well, and forced the company into liquidation, leaving hundreds of staff jobless," she said.

Corker, who earned a R21 000 salary a month as Trilink’s bookkeeper, told the court she lived comfortably on her salary, and that she stole the money "for a better life" for her husband and children.

She told the court she had used the money for holidays, luxury cars and private schooling for their children.

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