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Vehicle dealership owners jailed 10 years for inflating car prices

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Two people operating a vehicle dealership in the Free State have each been sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for inflating car prices.

Elizabeth Christina Knouwds, 40, and Willem Johannes van Tonder, 35, were sentenced by the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Thursday to 10 years each for fraud, corruption, money laundering and involvement in criminal gang activities.

The sentences will run concurrently.

“The convicted persons operated a second-hand vehicle dealership, namely Lulu’s Auto CC, in Jacobsdal between May 2008 to October 2009. The accused persons colluded and submitted several vehicle finance applications with fraudulent documents to Absa Bank in Kimberley. They then inflated the value of the vehicles to a total of almost R43m,” said police spokesperson Warrant Officer Lynda Steyn.

The pair would, after the money had been paid out by the bank, pocket the difference from the inflated value.

“The Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation arrested the pair along with fellow syndicate members Theresa Madeleine Elaine Meyer, 49, and Charl Nico Fredericks, 40, who were served with subpoenas to appear in court also on fraud charges in contravention of the Prevention Organised Crime Act (POCA). Meyer has since passed on and charges against Fredericks were later dropped,” said Steyn.

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