Fraudster gets five years

2012-07-10 00:00

AN effective five-year jail sentence has been imposed on a grandmother, Veronica Le Roux (47), who confessed to defrauding law firm Tomlinson, Mnguni, James Incorporated (TMJ) of R585 013.

She admitted to regional court magistrate Jennifer Anthoo that she had perpetrated 124 acts of fraud over a lengthy period.

Anthoo sentenced her to seven years in jail of which two years were conditionally suspended.

She said Le Roux had abused the trust of her employers.

“They regularly paid your salary, which allowed you to live a decent life, ” Anthoo said.

She added that unravelling the extent of Le Roux’s crimes had taken much time and effort.

Jeremy Brink, a director of Shackleton Risk Management, which provides insurance to law firms nationwide, said the offence was prevalent, especially in Pietermaritzburg.

Anthoo said in her view the aggravating features of the crimes overrode the mitigating factors, including the fact that Le Roux pleaded guilty.

Her attorney had submitted that she should be sentenced to correctional supervision or periodical imprisonment.

Anthoo said society was tired of people who showed no respect for their employers’ property.

Le Roux, who moved to Pennington and had a job earning more than R5 000 a month, has offered to repay the attorneys at the rate of R2 000 a month.

It would take an inordinate time to repay the company in full.

The court was told that Le Roux became depressed and had problems after being divorced after 24 years of marriage.

This led her to gambling and she has health problems.

Anthoo told Le Roux that she knew what the end result of her fraudulent conduct would be yet she continued to defraud her employers over a lengthy period.

She took into account that Le Roux’s crimes were non-violent and that she was a suitable candidate for rehabilitation.

However, the interests of the community had to be considered.

A guilty plea was often a sign of remorse, but sometimes people pleaded guilty when the evidence against them is overwhelming, said Anthoo.

— Own Correspondent.

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