Fraud probe against Vryheid attorney who allegedly faked own death

2017-12-20 11:51

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Five months after he allegedly faked his own death and went on to defraud an insurance company, the law finally caught up with disgraced Vryheid attorney Jan Adriaan Venter, but not for long.

Just hours after Venter, and his fiancée Rozanne Vosloo had been arrested — apparently while on their way to the airport intent on leaving the country — they were freed from custody.

Durban court sources confirmed that the couple were released from the cells last Friday without appearing in court and the matter was never placed on the roll.

This was after a senior public prosecutor was said to have viewed the “thick” docket and raised queries about the evidence in it.

NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara told The Witness there was insufficient evidence to place the matter on the roll. “The prosecutor made detailed notes on what was still outstanding,” she said.

A police spokesperson has confirmed that a case of fraud is being investigated “after the suspects submitted a fraudulent claim to an insurance company”. He said, however, that “the court results are unknown”.

The inquiry continues.

The Witness was yesterday unable to establish the present whereabouts of the couple following their release.

The insurance company that laid the complaint — Liberty Life — declined to comment yesterday, saying investigations were ongoing.

Issues first came to a head for Venter in May this year when the KwaZulu-Natal Law society received a complaint about missing trust funds.

The Witness understands this had to do with the purchase by Venter of a plush house for R5 million. It was alleged that Venter was using money in his trust account to make payments on it.

Law Society president Asif Essa said the complaint involved about R3 million, which was alleged to be missing from Venter’s trust account “but our investigations revealed it was possibly more, in the region of R4,5 million”.

He said the society launched a strike off application in the Pietermaritzburg high court in July and an interim order was granted.

“But then we received word that he had died. So the proceedings were never finalised.”

Said Essa: “We received conflicting versions about the cause of death from our regulatory affairs department. At our meeting in December, we decided to refer the matter to the Hawks.

“We will now also take the strike-off matter back to court.

“There is no doubt that he has brought the profession into disrepute. But attorneys such as him are in the minority.”

A Vryheid resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “This town is angry. We all attended the funeral. We all cried. We felt so bad for his mom and dad, they were devastated ... heartbroken. His sister even flew out from Australia.

“I was puzzled that Rozanne seemed so calm. I assumed she was on some medication.”

The resident said they were first told that Venter had been hijacked and decapitated in KwaMashu, Durban.

“But then we heard he was struck from the roll [of attorneys], that after the hearing he wasn’t feeling well and he had taken an uber to go to hospital where he had a heart attack.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fraud

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