She loyally supported Izabel and Heinrich Engelbrecht when they were vilified for their fraudulent Krion scheme. After all, they’d given her, an orphan, a home out of the goodness of their hearts and treated her like their own daughter. At least, that’s what she thought.
But now 22-year-old Cherika Blignaut is disillusioned, confused and hurt. Telling us her story in a coffee shop in Alberton, Gauteng, near the house she shares with her grandmother, she’s clearly emotional.
She’s lost most of her inheritance – almost everything she had. Her mom committed suicide in 1999 when she was just nine and her dad died in 1996 from glandular cancer.
And she’s worried because she fears she might have broken the law by helping the Engelbrechts to secretly sell a farm. That was after the couple, as members of the family involved in the Krion pyramid scheme, already faced more than 200 000 charges of racketeering and fraud. Thousands of investors lost their money and liquidators were in the process of confiscating all Krion’s assets.
Police are now investigating the sale of the farm and Cherika is cooperating with them. She just doesn’t want other people to make the same mistakes she’s made. “I’m scared because people who don’t know them can easily be misled. If they can do this to an orphan . . .”
Read more of Herman Scholtz’s interview with Cherika and Izabel’s response in YOU 11 October 2012.