CAPE TOWN COUPLE BEHIND R278-MILLION PONZI SCHEME SENTENCED

CAPE TOWN – A Western Cape couple behind a multimillion Ponzi scheme has been sentenced in the Thembalethu Regional Court on Wednesday, 21 September 2017 for fraud and contravening the banks Act.

Graeme Minnes (54) and Carolina Minnes (52) duped unsuspecting victims between Sept 2002 and Nov 2009 into investing funds ranging from a minimum of R100 000, with promises of higher than usual returns on forex trading. The victims were promised profits of up to 65% on annual basis.

About R278 786 853-00 was amassed from almost 934 clients in the said period and the couple reportedly did limited trading (less than R 5 million) at a net loss. In a typical pyramid scheme fashion, they resorted to paying initial investors using new investors funds.

The Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Unit relentless investigations put a stop to the duo lavish life-style and arrested them during 2009 culminating in this conviction. The two have been convicted for fraud and contravening section 11 read with sections 1 and 91(4) of the Banks Act, nr 94 of 1990.

Graeme was sentenced to 15 years effective imprisonment, whereas Carolina was slapped with a 3 year house arrest / Correctional Supervision in terms of Section 276(1)(h). Both have been declared unfit to own firearms.

Western Cape Acting Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Brigadier Neil Oliver welcomed the sentence.

“This should be a lesson to people running bogus schemes out there, that our investigations will ensure that justice is served. The public is henceforth warned to stay away from investment schemes that promises high and unrealistic returns,” he said.