North West Couple accused of running R65m pyramid scheme

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A couple have been accused of running a pyramid scheme.
A couple have been accused of running a pyramid scheme.
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  • A North West couple was granted R10 000 bail for their alleged involvement in a fraud and money laundering scheme worth R65 million. 
  • Bennie Otto, 68, and his wife, Johanna Otto, 69, appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
  • They allegedly lured people to invest money into their business, which was found to be a pyramid scheme. 

A North West couple allegedly involved in a R65 million fraud and money laundering scheme has been granted R10 000 bail.

Bennie Otto, 68, and his wife, Johanna Otto, 69, appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The couple allegedly got people to invest money into their business, which was found to be a pyramid scheme.

According to North West Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, investigations into the alleged fraud involved a Potchefstroom-based company called RSA Search (Pty) Ltd which had an accommodation booking website with the same name.

He said Bennie was the company's director.

READ | NPA to be strengthened by ethics office and permanent investigative directorate - Lamola

Rikhotso added from 2011, Bennie allegedly lured approximately 120 people into investing in his business and promised them a 3% profit share per month from the income he would generate from advertising and subscriptions.

The company, however, collapsed as it was not generating enough income, and through investigations, it was revealed it allegedly operated like a pyramid scheme, said Rikhotso.

He added: "Funds from new investors were used to pay the outstanding dividends of earlier investors and many investors allegedly never received their money back."

Bennie was charged with 69 counts of fraud and 31 of money laundering, while Johanna was charged with a single count of money laundering.

They were each released on R10 000 bail, and the case was postponed to 23 November 2022 for instructions for the attorney. 


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