Woman held for conning families of crime suspects

2010-10-11 00:00

A WOMAN was arrested in downtown Pietermaritzburg at midnight on Friday in connection with corruption and extortion charges. The arrest was carried out by members of the Plessislaer and Pietermaritzburg detectives’ unit led by Colonel Gopz Govender.

The 43-year-old woman is alleged to have pretended to be an advocate of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, a magistrate and prosecutor.

Said police spokesperson Joey Jeevan, “She has allegedly siphoned thousands of rands from unsuspecting families whose children or family members are involved in pending high court trials.”

Jeevan said the woman’s modus operandi was allegedly to tell her victims that she can make the case dockets disappear and allow the accused to escape prosecution because she has access to all the information of the case dockets.

She allegedly “preyed on the vulnerability of the families born of desperation to get their loved ones from going to jail,” added Jeevan.

One such case relates to the murder of Sandesh Poorun, with which Kalisha Rajcoomar and Amith Sewkarran are charged. The hearing is to resume on October 25. Jeevan said both parents have been forking out large sums of money for their children to be released.

She said already seven dockets have been opened against the arrested woman and police believe this is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

More than R150 000 is allegedly involved so far.

Police are in possession of evidence involving more than 80 cellphone messages and evidence removed from the offices of the woman. The office is a micro money lender offering financial services in the city centre, added Jeevan.

She said police also found a false rubber stamp purporting to be for documents being issued by the magistrate’s office and the clerk of the court.

The woman is a married mother of two young children. She was charged with corruption and extortion. She is expected to appear in Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court today.

Police are appealing to people who believe they have fallen victim to the alleged scam to contact the Plessislaer and Pietermaritzburg detectives unit or their nearest police station.

Jeevan said investigations into the matter are continuing.

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