Fraudster fined for possession of skimming device

2015-04-29 17:11


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Cape Town - A convicted fraudster was fined R10 000 or two months' imprisonment on Wednesday, for the possession of an illegal skimming device that is used in the cloning of bank cards.

He was also given a five-year suspended prison sentence on a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Phila Tshabalala, 34, a computer programmer and former owner of the Cape Town liquor outlet, Booz City Liquors, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

The proceedings took the form of a plea bargain, negotiated by defence lawyer Keith Gess with prosecutor Simone Liedeman.

The document tells how Tshabalala and two unnamed companions went to the Cape Town International Airport in November 2011, to fetch a parcel that contained the skimming device.

The device was hidden in a radio cassette player, and the three were arrested as they took delivery of the parcel.

According to the document, the conspiracy to commit fraud involved an enterprise in which the three hoped to generate income for themselves, by presenting counterfeit bank cards, either to draw money at ATMs or to pay for purchases.

The prosecutor listed as aggravation of sentence the fact that Tshabalala had a previous conviction for fraud, dating back to March 2012.

For this, he was fined R8 000 or eight months, of which half was suspended for five years.

Another aggravating factor was that ATM fraud, and  the use of cloned bank cards to pay for fraudulent purchases, impacted severely on victims and the economy.

Gess pointed out that the Tshabalala agreed to the plea negotiations so as not to engage the court in a long and protracted trial.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fraud  |  crime

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