Free State pair get 10-year prison sentences for R43m vehicle financing scam

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A Free State man and woman have been sentenced handed jailtime for fraud, corruption, money laundering and involvement in criminal gang activities, to the value of R43 million.
A Free State man and woman have been sentenced handed jailtime for fraud, corruption, money laundering and involvement in criminal gang activities, to the value of R43 million.
Mario Marco, Getty Images

A Free State man and woman have been handed jail time for R3-million worth of fraud, corruption, money laundering, as well as the involvement in criminal gang activities.

On Friday, Elizabeth Christina Knouwds, 40, and Willem Johannes van Tonder, 35, were sentenced to an effective 10 years imprisonment by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. The two accused operated a second-hand vehicle dealership called Lulu’s Auto CC in Jacobsdal between May 2008 and October 2009.

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They were found guilty of colluding and submitting several vehicle finance applications with fraudulent documents to Absa bank in Kimberley. They then inflated the value of the vehicles to a total of almost R43 million, said Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Lynda Steyn.

"After the money was paid out by the bank, they then pocketed the difference from the inflated value," says Steyn

Knouwds and Van Tonder were found guilty and were each sentenced to 10 years for fraud, four years for money laundering and four years for involvement in criminal gang activities. The sentences have been ordered to run concurrently, meaning an effective 10 years imprisonment for each convict.

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