The owner of a liquidated motor dealership in Parow, in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, was effectively jailed for five years on Wednesday, on multiple fraud charges, and two of theft, involving in excess of R3 million.
Jaco Johan Smit, 40, his address given as Olyfenbosch, Protea Heights in Brackenfell, was the owner of 3 Way Auto.
He appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who in fact sentenced him to nine years imprisonment, of which four were conditionally suspended for five years, on 27 counts of fraud, and two of theft, altogether involving R3 491 940.
All charges were taken as one for the purposes of sentence, as suggested by prosecutor Jannie Knipe.
The court also granted a confiscation order for his R80 000 bail money, which means his bail will no longer be refunded to him.
His former financial manager, Cecile Heyns, 29, was recently sentenced to three years correctional supervision, involving house arrest without imprisonment, and community service.
The charge sheet divided the fraud into five categories: His failure to settle the outstanding accounts of bank-financed vehicles that had been traded in; his failure to deliver vehicles to buyers who had paid deposits or paid in full; buyers who discovered that the cars they had bought and paid for, had been sold to third parties; the purchase of used cars from private sellers, with worthless cheques; and his failure to furnish buyers with the registration papers for their newly-acquired cars.
Smit faced a prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years, for first-offence fraud involving R500 000 or more.
However, the fact that he had already repaid all his victims, except the banks, justified a less severe sentence, the court ruled.
-African News Agency