Two suspects got the wind knocked out of their sails when they appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Tuesday for fraud.
It is alleged that during September 2013 and September 2017, Timothy Franciscus van der Steen, 50, and Ryan Peter Osborne, 36, were both directors of a company called Tag Yacht SA that allegedly took money from several complainants, promising to build them yachts, but never did.
According to Hawks spokesperson Lwando Zenzile, they did this knowing that they were bankrupt.
"It is also understood that various emails were allegedly sent to the complainants stating that the funds would be ring-fenced; however, the funds were never used for the purpose they were intended for," Zenzile said.
The Hawks' Commercial Crime Investigation Unit has revealed that the complainants allegedly lost over R27 million.
Further investigation revealed that Van der Steen's and Osborn's business was a shell company and the two alleged fraudsters were the only employees.
The two were granted bail of R2 000 each with conditions and both accused are to hand over their passports.
Their case was postponed to 2 November.
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