‘Open cases against fraudsters’

2013-05-21 00:00

WHITE-COLLAR crime experts have urged businesses to open criminal cases against employees who steal money from them or defraud their companies.

By law, anyone who knows of such crimes in which the sums involved are R100 000 or more, must alert police or face a possible five years in jail.

Durban attorney Peter Feuilherade, chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal white-collar crime task team, said the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act made it mandatory for knowledge of corruption to be disclosed.

“There haven’t been any prosecutions yet for failure to disclose, but it will happen,” he told a business audience on Friday at the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Feuilherade, a partner at Cox Yeats Attorneys, said the prevalence of white-collar crime was widespread. He urged victims to make the effort of lodging a complaint with police, even if they felt the exercise was futile.

Hawks forensic specialist Brigadier Keith Flack echoed Feuilherade’s appeal, saying the Hawks relied on previous convictions and cases to determine a person’s pattern of crime.

Ponzi schemes, he said, had become particular problems in society, and getting convictions, even if sentences were suspended, were important to halt a perpetrator in their tracks.

“Press charges. This person needs a criminal record. Even if it’s a suspended sentence, it makes life difficult for that person,” said Flack.

Audience members who spoke urged their colleagues to go one step further than dismissal and launch a prosecution against thieving employees.

• brett.horner@witness.co.za

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