Gambling thieves sent to prison

Financial manager and partner stole R15m from employer, spent it on gambling and fled the country before being arrested and brought back to face the music.

A former financial manager and his partner have been sentenced in a Cape Town court after they fled the country when accused of stealing more than R15m from their employer, who had to recapitalise some of the funds for the company out of his own pocket.

David Marais, 55, who was a financial manager for a health risk management services company, was sentenced to an effective 12 years alongside his life partner Brian Wilson, 49, who was sentenced to six years as his co-accused.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Marias had access to the company’s account and was responsible for making payments to creditors and service providers.

“The state alleged and proved that between April 13 2018 and April 9 2019, Marais, while acting in execution or furtherance of a common purpose with Wilson, stole more than R15.4m from the company’s bank accounts,” – said Ntabazalila.

“He deposited the money into his and his partner’s bank accounts while pretending the payments were made to creditors and service providers. More than R9.3m was deposited into Wilson’s bank accounts, while he deposited more than R5.5m into his bank accounts.”

The couple spent the money on gambling to conceal any suspicious movement.

The court found their actions were “out of greed” and caused the company’s overheads to exceed R1m per month, leaving the MD to recapitalise the company and settle outstanding VAT payments of about R1.5m from his personal accounts. As a result of this, staff members did not receive their annual end-of-year bonus for three years.

The accused fled to Ireland and relocated to Georgia but were traced, arrested and brought back to South Africa.

The court handed Marais an 18-year sentence but suspended six years on condition he does not commit any offences during the suspension period. Wilson was handed 12 years but six years were suspended on condition he does not commit any offences during the suspension period.


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