‘Cancer con’ former teacher up for four-day sentencing

2018-04-11 16:15
Vindra Jaickaran.

Vindra Jaickaran. (Supplied)

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The former Cowan House Preparatory School teacher who admitted to swindling more than R2 million from the school and lying about having cancer is in line for a four-day sentencing next month.

The specialised commercial crimes court in Durban on Tuesday heard the state and the legal team of Vindra Jaickaran (49) plan to call witnesses to testify at the sentencing.

In February, Jaickaran pleaded guilty to 73 counts of fraud relating to invoices she submitted to the school where she diverted an amount of R2 099 290,58 into her own bank accounts.

She admitted to a further count of fraud where she had lied about having cancer — even forging doctor’s letters from Grey’s Hospital’s oncology department.

A probation officer’s report was expected to be submitted to the court by the time of Jaickaran’s appearance on Tuesday, but state advocate Wendy O’Brien told the court the report had not yet been submitted by that time.

Since the report does not yet form part of the court file, its contents cannot be published by media.

O’Brien told the court she would supply Jaickaran’s legal team with the report once the state obtains it, and the defence could later inform the state whether they plan to dispute the evidence presented in it.

Jaickaran admitted to, in 2014, lying to the school that she was diagnosed with cancer and had only four months to live.

Cowan House paid Jaickaran her full salary during a prolonged sick leave, and the school had hired a temporary replacement.

Her plea revealed her modus operandi  was to either inflate legitimate amounts owed to Cowan House for services then divert the balance into her own account, or fabricate companies and get the school to pay money into her account.

In her capacity as an IT teacher, she was involved in purchasing and maintaining computer hardware and procuring software.

She would write up invoices that charged Cowan House hundreds of thousands of rands at a time, and the funds would be put into accounts in her name. In one incident, an account was in the name of her son, Rushmir Chhoteylal.

Her fraudulent actions were uncovered when the school launched an internal investigation into dealings she was involved in with the school, after it caught wind of a fraudulent invoice in 2016.

Jaickaran then coerced Chhoteylal to make a statement taking responsibility for the fraudulent transaction.

Her plea, however, stated that the “actual loss suffered” by the school would have been R1 765 290,20, as Cowan House received R334 000,38 back from some of the transactions.

Her sentencing will begin on May 21.


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