Jap Cape legal professional accused of fraud after shedding case launched on warning

Cape Town – An Eastern Cape attorney was released on warning after appearing in the new Gqeberha court on fraud allegations, the Directorate of Priority Criminal Investigation (The Hawks) says.

Chantal Arlene du Plessis, 46, faces more than R158,000 civil litigation charges, Hawks province spokeswoman Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said in a statement.

Du Plessis allegedly represented a client when she lost the case, which resulted in the client depositing R150,000 into Du Plessis’ escrow account on March 12, 2018 under court order. Du Plessis, however, paid the cost as per the order, but allegedly diverted the money for personal use.

The opposing attorneys have reportedly obtained a default judgment against du Plessis’ client for failure to comply with the court order, with the client’s assets being used to meet the costs.

“Du Plessis then used another customer’s money to stop the execution of the existing attachment order,” said Mgolodela.

She said a complaint was then filed with the Hawks’ Serious Economic Crime Investigation Team in Gqeberha, which led to an investigation and the arrest of Du Plessis. The court then released her with a warning and conditions, while the matter was postponed until August 2.

In another incident, the Hawks’ Serious Organized Crime Investigation Unit in Queenstown was involved in the arrest of a 21-year-old man Monday morning on suspicion of copper cable theft and damage to infrastructure, Mgolodela said.

The Cala police were conducting routine patrols when they noticed a suspicious bakkie laden with copper cables, the driver of which sped away when he saw the officers. The driver lost control of his vehicle and collided with another before escaping on foot.

He was then identified by another driver and an investigation linked the suspect to the bakkie and a junkyard that often sold stolen cables.

Sentech, the company responsible for erecting power poles for network signals in the Cala area, identified the recovered cables and estimated the value of the infrastructure damage and stolen cables to be more than R.2.5 million, according to Mgolodela.

The suspect will soon appear before the Cala District Court.

African News Agency (ANA)

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