BELLVILLE – Francois Labuschagne (49), has made a brief appearance in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday facing charges of fraud, forgery and contraventions of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

Labuschagne, who is a former Sanlam insurance adviser stands accused of having allegedly conned clients of investment funds amounting to just under a million rand, the alleged transgressions reportedly occurred between 2005 and 2010 in Ceres, Western Cape.

His modus operandi allegedly involved targeting the elderly and he would advise them to withdraw lumps of cash from a purportedly underperforming portfolio, to a better one, and he would allegedly then take this cash under the pretext that he was going to deposit it into the Sanlam’s business account, but instead use the money for his personal gain. Internal forensic investigations led to his dismissal in 2010, and he had been on the run since.

The long arm of the law finally caught up with Labuschagne on the 15th of January, at his hideout, in Louis Trichardt, when Makhado SAPS detectives in close co-operation with the Western Cape’s Hawks Commercial Crime Unit arrested him after he had been sought for a while. He subsequently made a maiden appearance in the local court and was warned to appear in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on January 24th.

The matter has been adjourned to the 23rd of February for docket disclosure purposes.