Nine-year jail term for woman who defrauded companies to pay gambling debt

A woman was jailed after she was found guilty of defrauding two companies of around R16 million to pay off her gambling debt.

The Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sentenced Cindy Saunders, 37, to an effective nine years in prison after she pleaded guilty to 45 counts of fraud.

In her plea, she said she was an export controller at RenCorp CC, which trades as Nicholson Shipping.
She admitted to having a gambling addiction and added that she committed the fraud to pay off her gambling debt.

She enlisted the help of her co-accused, Terrance Gonasekharan Raju, and his companies, South Continent Logistics and Troy Trans, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said.

“As part of the fraudulent scheme, Saunders generated false invoices. Saunders said in her plea that at the time of the commission of the offences, she knew that her actions were fraudulent and solely for her personal financial gain and that of her co-accused.”

“She and her co-accused also defrauded [the second company] by telling them that she needed a business partner to assist with financing the purchase of shipping containers from South Continent, promising them profits when the containers were sold. She admitted to doing this with full knowledge that [the company] would not be paid back the money.” – Ramkisson-Kara said.

In presenting the State’s case, senior State advocate, Danette Cole, called the complainant to testify, as well as an accountant, who outlined the extent of the damage that the fraud had caused to the businesses.

“In sentencing Saunders, the court took into consideration that she had a gambling addiction and had sought counselling to rectify the problem and improve her life,” – Ramkisson-Kara said.


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