Hawks swoop on R8m bank fraud syndicate

2015-05-27 12:09
(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Durban - Six members of a national bank fraud syndicate have been arrested in a sting at a bank in Durban North by a team of forensic investigators, as well as members of the Hawks and Crime Intelligence.

The syndicate had tried to access more than R8 million in the dormant account of a deceased Pretoria doctor, after they were fed sensitive account information by a bank insider who has yet to be arrested.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said that fraud targeting dormant accounts was on the rise, and the leaking of crucial banking details was of grave concern.

Cold feet

The syndicate, made up of a woman and five men, was unmasked when a bank teller they had offered to bribe for her role in the plot got cold feet and reported the planned crime to internal bank investigators.

The six were arrested in a sting that played out at the bank in Swapo Road (Broadway), Durban North, on Tuesday afternoon. They were detained overnight at the Durban North Police Station.

“Our investigations have revealed that the woman [in the syndicate] had first approached a bank manager to help them siphon money from this account. They also approached a bank teller and offered to pay her to help them and it looks as if this was going to happen but she changed her mind and approached the bank’s internal fraud unit,” he said.

The forensic investigators then approached the Hawks and set up a sting.

“The bank teller was co-operative with the investigators and working with us, she drew the syndicate to the bank where they were arrested. Our investigations have revealed that many employees in the bank accessed the account information so there is a starting point to find out where the leak of the sensitive banking details came from.

Security breach

“This is beginning to happen a lot and we had a similar case in Tzaneen. In this recent instance the syndicate had all of the account details and they had a lot of information that could only have come from inside the bank. This is obviously a great worry and is a security breach that we have uncovered,” Mulaudzi said.

“It would appear that there is someone inside the bank that is looking for dormant accounts and passing on the details to the syndicates,” he added.

The six were expected to appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday on charges of fraud, for attempting to unlawfully access the bank account.

Mulaudzi said that the investigation would continue.

“We will not be disclosing the name of the bank at this point and we are continuing our probe to find out if there is further involvement from anyone who works there.”

Read more on:    hawks  |  durban  |  fraud  |  crime

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