'Charmer stole my Maserati'

2017-03-13 09:46
This photograph was taken by Sara when she and her boyfriend (pictured) fetched the Maserati from the dealership. Sara alleges the man stole the car along with R400 000 cash.

This photograph was taken by Sara when she and her boyfriend (pictured) fetched the Maserati from the dealership. Sara alleges the man stole the car along with R400 000 cash. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - A smooth-talking scamster allegedly persuaded a KwaZulu-Natal woman to part with her life savings and drove off into the sunset with her brand-new R750 000 sports car, never to be seen again.

The former nurse, who worked at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg and Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, alleged in an interview with Weekend Witness that not only did the flashy former “man of her dreams” steal her brand-new Maserati sports car, but he also took off with R400 000 cash which he persuaded her to withdraw from her account.

However the man, who was contacted by Weekend Witness via Facebook, told a different story, and denied he stole anything from her.

The 49-year-old woman, referred to as Sara to protect her identity, said she met the suave talker last July in the parking lot at Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital where she was attending a 12-month course. Instantly attracted to one another, they had exchanged telephone numbers.

“He is very good-looking and a charming man. He told me he was a 54-year-old businessman and a prophet. He gave me a made-up name and said he was from Jamaica. I discovered later that he is actually from Uganda,” she said.

Sara said they had started dating and he “seemed decent”.

Retirement fund

“He convinced me to drop the course I was doing, and later to resign from work so I could get my retirement fund.

“Now I can’t believe I fell for his tricks and charms. I don’t think I was in my right mind agreeing to his ideas,” she said.

She resigned last September and received a R1.3 million lump sum at the beginning of December.

He then allegedly asked her to deposit R750 000 with a car dealership in Benoni, Johannesburg, to buy a Maserati.

“I told him I didn’t want such an expensive car plus I don’t even have my driver’s licence.

“He said the plan was to buy the car and sell it to another dealership for double the price. I then thought it was a good idea and deposited the money to the dealership’s account,” said Sara.

Sara said the company called her to fetch the car in Benoni, and she flew to Johannesburg where her boyfriend was waiting for her.

After completing the paperwork, they drove off with the new car together.

The man then dropped Sara off at the Lakeside Mall to have her hair done while they were waiting for her brothers to fetch her and the car later.

He was supposed to come back with the car so they could all meet.

'He never came back with my car or the money'

Instead, he vanished with her car and the cash she says he persuaded her to withdraw by suggesting that her estranged husband might claim the money.

“That was the last time I saw him. He never came back with my car or the money,” said Sara.

“I regret everything. His friends warned me about him but I never listened,” she added.

“When I realised he was not coming back, I tried to open a case with the police. I struggled because I did not even have the paperwork because it was in the car,” she said.

Never having been to Johannesburg before, she could not even remember the name of the dealership where she bought the car at first.

Eventually, however, a case of vehicle theft was opened at the Benoni police station.

“I was told he sold the car to another dealership on the same day he stole it from me,” she alleged.

She said although she had his contact details, he would not take her calls from that day.

Captain Nomsa Sekele at Benoni confirmed that a case of vehicle theft was opened in connection with the case and is under investigation.

Sara, who has an eight-year-old daughter, said after being scammed she was now looking for another job.

“I wanted to finish paying for my house and to pay off all my debts.

“My family has been very understanding and supportive. This has all been very hard on me and right now it is not just about the money. I want justice to be served,” she said.

Sara warned other women to be careful when dealing with men and their money.

“Get to know the person before you truly trust them, especially with your money,” she said.

Denials 

Weekend Witness sent a Facebook message to the man and asked him about the allegations.

Initially, he denied he knew Sara but when Weekend Witness sent him a picture supplied by her seated in the vehicle, he admitted that it was a photo of him. However, he said the car was his.

“I bought this car with my money. One mistake I made was to pay it off using her account. I deposited [the] money into her account then paid it off,” wrote the man.

He confirmed that the police have contacted him on many occasions and explained everything to him. However, he has not been charged.

A Pietermaritzburg psychologist said the man sounded like he may be a psychopath as he was smooth-talking and manipulative.

“He made her believe that he was in love with her.”

He warned that women must be very cautious when meeting a new person and should always check out their past, their friends and family members so they know who to call if things turn sour, as in this case.

“When people meet for the first time, no matter how attracted you are to the person, you should always get confirmation that what they are saying is true because there are people who are very manipulative and who take advantage of vulnerable people.”

He said the man may well have done this kind of thing before because he sounded very convincing.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  scams  |  crime

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