Five suspects made a brief appearance in the Upington Magistrate’s Court on charges of alleged fraud, money laundering and uttering on 20 March.The suspects, William Groenewald (37), George Albertus van Wyk (47), Elizabeth Visagie (56), David Herlin Oliphant (50) and Johannes Saal (49), were released on a warning. This follows their arrest by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) during a major operation in Upington. According to Capt. Nomthandazo Mnisi of the Hawks, the project-driven investigation, which kick-started in 2014, was an initiative between the Serious Commercial Crime Unit and the Serious Organised Crime Unit through a multi-disciplinary approach.The team is to identify and address a group who utilised fraudulent documents to obtain loans from financial institutions, such as banks, in the Western Cape and Northern Cape.It is alleged that the syndicate utilised fraudulent documents to purchase vehicles for personal benefit. “They allegedly continued to recruit other individuals who would apply fraudulently and assist them with the required fraudulent documentation for a share in the value of the transaction, which amounts to approximately R2,2 million,” said Mnisi.The suspects’ next court appearance is scheduled for 25 April, pending further investigation.