Judge Hlophe’s son convicted of fraud

Thuthuke Exton Hlophe, the 27-year-old student son of Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, has been found guilty on six counts of fraud.

The Bellville Regional Court also convicted him of defeating the ends of justice and violating the Identification Act.

He initially faced 16 counts – seven of fraud, two violations of the Identificaion Act, three of theft, three of uttering (presenting) forged documents, and defeating the ends of justice.

Prosecuting counsel Sylvan Africa withdrew eight charges, and Hlophe then pleaded guilty to the six fraud charges, defeating the ends of justice and one count framed under the Identification Act.

Hlophe, neatly attired in a navy blue suit, appeared before magistrate Johan Vermaak.

During the proceedings, it emerged that Hlophe was a student when a date suggested for sentencing clashed with his examinations.

According to the charge sheet, he was the sole member of a close corporation trading as Moving Addresses.

He forged an identity document belonging to Siphesihle Ntombela by replacing her photograph with his own.

Hlophe used the forged ID to open two cheque accounts – one at FNB and the other at Absa.

On one fraud charge, he used his Absa cheque book to purchase a BMW 330i sedan worth R400 000 from Hendrik van den Berg in September 2007.

According to Hlophe’s plea explanation, Van den Berg could no longer afford his monthly payments on the car. Hlophe “took a great liking to the car” and bought it with dud cheques, knowing he could not afford it either.

On the second fraud count, he bought an unspecified number of boards worth R4 070 at Davidson’s Boards with a dud cheque.

On the third, he tried to cash a dud cheque for R3 200 at Absa’s Table View branch.

Hlophe also used his forged ID, as well as a false salary slip indicating his salary as R32 522, to obtain a loan at Capitec Bank, which formed the basis of the fourth fraud charge.

On the fifth and sixth fraud charges, he persuaded an unsuspecting friend, Luntu Magqaza, to deposit two dud cheques for a total of R75 044 into Magqaza’s bank account.

He falsely informed the police that his name was Ntombela, which resulted in the charge of defeating the ends of justice.

The matter was postponed to December 13 for sentencing proceedings.

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