The Port Elizabeth Commercial Crime Court sentenced 47-year-old Jeffreys Bay resident David Wilmot to 15 years in jail after he was found guilty of defrauding unsuspecting investors to the tune of over R23 million.
Wilmot pleaded guilty to 153 counts of fraud, one count of contravening the Exchange Control Act, one count of contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, and one count of money laundering.
A Ponzi scheme run by Wilmot encouraged investors to pay him so that he could invest their money in foreign exchange markets.
From January 2010 to June 16 2015, Wilmot had at least four bank accounts belonging to him, his “company”, and relatives, which housed deposited funds that were meant to be traded on the forex markets.
Of the R23.2 million he received from investors, only R2.4 million was transferred to overseas foreign exchange trading accounts.
The remaining R20.8 million was used to fund Wilmot’s extravagant lifestyle, all while he reassured investors that their money was safe and increasing in value, and when prompted, produced fake documents as proof.
Attorney Chris Arnold testified that Wilmot lied about any money being invested on behalf of the scheme’s investors, and liquidators were not able to trace any funds.
Nicky Martin was one of the unfortunate investors who entrusted R1 million with Wilmot. Martin testified that she lived in Australia, but has since returned to South Africa after losing everything due to Wilmot’s scheme. She has a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, but was unable to provide them with special schooling in Australia.
Cherise Milne and her husband lost more than R2.5 million through the schemes. Cherise’s husband now works on oil rigs outside South Africa to make up for the money they lost and has spent the past four years abroad.
The NPA welcomed the sentence, and the victims were satisfied when a lengthy prison sentence was issued by regional magistrate JJ Claassen.