Two men convicted of defrauding a company more that R25 million were sentenced to a combined 60 years jail term at the North West High Court sitting in Rustenburg on Thursday.
Judge Ronnie Hendricks sentenced Brian Dennis Viljoen, 57, to 15 years for theft and 20 years for money laundering. His co-accused Hilton Robert Boyce, 40, was sentenced to 10 years for fraud and 15 years for money laundering.
Hendricks said the two knew perfectly well what was going on (when the fraud was committed) and now wanted to blame Sharon Boyce, Hilton mother, who had died.
“The two resorted to put the blame on Sharon, they painted her as a manipulative and bad person, a control freak, while they benefited from her actions…” he said passing the sentence.
“Accused two [Hilton Boyce] was instrumental in committing the crime. He helped his mother to change documents and also created pay slips for her.”
He said Viljoen benefited more than Boyce from the proceed of crime, although he claimed he was not aware how much money was in his bank account. Boyce only benefited R316,672 from the more than R25 million stolen from Eagle Rock Mill.
“Contrary to the claim by Mr Viljoen that he never use an automated teller machine [ATM] his witness said he used his bank card to withdraw money from the ATM, it was possible for him to see how much money was in his bank account.”
Viljoen told the court that he was not aware how much money was deposited into his bank account as he had signed a full power of attorney to her life partner Sharon Boyce to take full control of his bank accounts.
Passing the sentence the judge said there was no personal circumstances compelling the court not to pass the prescribed minimum sentence for Viljoen, although he was a first offender.
He however found that compelling circumstance existed for Boyce, he was a first offender, diabetic and had a 16-year-old daughter who was dependent on him.
The sentence would run concurrently, meaning Viljoen would serve 20 years while Boyce would serve 15 years in jail.
The defence applied to appeal both conviction and sentence before a full bench of the court but, Judge Hendricks refuse to grant them the application, this was after advocate Jeanette Neveling, for the State, said there were no prospects that another court could come to a different conclusion.
The two were convicted for defrauding Eagles Rock Feed Mill R25,478,378.04 over three years between 2011 and 2014.
The State charged that Sharon Boyce was employed as a creditors clerk at Eagles Rock Feed Mill in Boschfontein near Rustenburg in March 2011, with the help of her son Hilton Boyce, she prepared and submitted fictitious invoices and substituted existing suppliers’ bank details with that of Viljoen and her son.
Large amount of money from Eagles Rock was into three bank accounts hold by the accused.
The fraud was discovered in September 2014, days before Sharon died of unnatural causes. The company discovered that between May 20, 2011 and September 2014, she created fictitious invoices and included her son and life partner as suppliers.
The two bowed their heads as the judgement was read, Viljoen occasionally looked over his shoulder to family members behind him, while Boyce lifted his head only when he had to wipe blisters of sweat formed on his forehead.
After they were convicted, family members including Boyce’s daughter hugged them while sobbing when the court adjourned before they were sentenced.
– African News Agency