Broker gets 15 years for embezzlement

2011-12-13 20:10

Johannesburg - A financial broker who embezzled more than R4.5m from elderly professionals was jailed for 15 years by the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Magistrate Amrith Chabilall told the court that Francois Hendrik du Plessis, 43, had shown "no remorse whatsoever" and had instead tried to shift the blame onto a business partner who had committed suicide.

With Du Plessis in the dock was single mother Elmarie von Willigh, 44, who was found guilty as an accomplice and given a five-year suspended jail sentence. She was also sentenced to three years' house arrest.

Du Plessis was found guilty on 41 counts of theft, 35 of fraud, six of money-laundering and one of forgery.

Von Willigh was found guilty on 41 counts of theft, 22 of fraud, six of money-laundering and one involving the uttering (presentation) of a forged document.


Chabilall warned Von Willigh that she was also banned from consuming liquor during her house arrest. Chabilall said Du Plessis had elicited the life savings of elderly professional people who had worked hard all their lives.

The investments were placed in a savings account to which Von Willigh had had access, and she had manipulated the account for the benefit of Du Plessis and herself.

Chabilall said: "The victims were professional people: doctors, psychiatrists, pharmacists and architects. The amounts invested with Du Plessis were inordinately large."

He said Du Plessis and Von Willigh were found not guilty on eight counts relating to the embezzlement of funds in excess of R1m. The only reason for their acquittal on these counts was that the victims had declined on religious grounds to testify.

Chabilall added: "All the victims were elderly, who relied on his advice. They placed their financial future in his hands, and one can only wonder at the gullibility of intelligent people to approach Du Plessis to invest their money."

  • Squeegee - 2011-12-13 20:18

    Steal from old people -who do you think you are- The government? Go straight to jail, do not pass go...

  • Seja - 2011-12-13 20:37

    They should have seized all their assets and auctioned them off to recover the money!! - then there would be no house arrest since there would be no house!!!

  • Koos - 2011-12-13 20:58

    May you both rot in hell.

  • Yar - 2011-12-13 21:04

    Evil. Just think what it means to the victims.

  • Glen.E.Huysamer - 2011-12-13 21:25

    I hope the same happens to Arthur Brown, or has he got to many government cronies involved in his Fidentia scam. What has happened to him anyway. I also wonder what will happen to the ANC elitists grandsons who stole billions of rand, including salaries at one of our mines. I hope that justice is served soon and I have to agree the property of those involved in this case should have been sold to secure some returns for those that were conned.

  • sarah.bouttell - 2011-12-13 21:28

    Just wish there was some conformity with sentencing. Know of a recent sentencing, female, first offense, less than two percent of the value of this crime, and the lady got ten months in jail. Punish the guilty for sure, but everyone should be equal, and treated equally.

  • careful once you are here you can not deregister - 2011-12-13 21:28

    so why did she get so little ? Is it just because she is " a single mum " There are so many of these running around.Cheating hard working people out of their money and being a single "mum" not much of a life achievement is it .

  • Alva - 2011-12-13 22:32

    Preying on the old. Disgraceful! However, a fool and his money are soon parted. Sad but true.

  • Cecil Galloway - 2013-05-30 06:51

    And poor poor Arthur Brown gets away with hundreds of millions. Do I smell a rat here or what????????????????

  • pages:
  • 1