National 16.3.2017 04:50 pm

PE fraud accused ‘too stressed’ to listen to judgment

Picture: AFP

Picture: AFP

Jason Wood allegedly defrauded at least 14 investors out of their hard-earned cash through a string of fraudulent schemes.

The fraud case of an alleged conman came to an abrupt halt just as judgment began in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday, after he claimed he was just too ill to sit and listen to it.

Jason Wood, 40, who allegedly defrauded Nelson Mandela Bay residents out of about R1.4-million through schemes, provided the state with a medical note, reasons cited pointed towards Wood being stressed out.

The court issued a warrant of arrest and he eventually pitched up but physically could not keep it together.

A visibly disturbed Wood looked emotional and was red in the face when Magistrate Hannes Claasen began reading introductory parts of his judgment. Proceedings were adjourned after Wood rang the alarm that he was going to be sick, he then made a dash for the toilet.

Wood, a so-called ‘jack of all trades’ allegedly defrauded at least 14 investors out of their hard earned cash through a string of fraudulent schemes, these included trading in second-hand cars, exotic animal skins and an upholstery business.

Prosecutor Lise Keech was gravely concerned that Wood would not pitch for his next court date and raised the issue with the court.

The case against Wood has been on the roll since 2013 and over the years the alleged conman has become notorious for delaying tactics.

However, Claasen said that the court would deal with it in the same way and if Wood did not pitch up for judgement a warrant of arrest would be ordered.

The State alleges that Wood used his close corporation, Woodies Upholsterers, as a front and wooed unsuspecting investors by duping them out of hundreds of thousands of rands.

Charges against him include 18 counts of fraud, failing to make out annual financial statements and managing a corporation while disqualified.

This is not the first time Wood has had a run in with the law. He has two previous convictions for fraud and theft dating back to 2005 and 2009, for which he received suspended sentences.

According to the state he is in contravention of the Close Corporations Act – which states that no person with a theft conviction may manage a business.

The case was postponed until April 4 for judgment.

– African News Agency

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