The Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has sentenced a bookkeeper, Dianne De Beer (49), to 10 years of direct imprisonment, for 44 counts of fraud worth R2.5 million. De Beer was employed as a bookkeeper at Servopak Suppliers Pta CC from 2015. She started committing the offences in 2016, a year after her employment. Her duties, amongst others, included capturing supplier invoices, loading payments on the online banking facility and supplier reconciliation with supplier statements.

She committed the offences from September 2016 until October 2019, by making 44 payments meant for suppliers into her own personal bank account. With the proceeds of the crime, she bought two vehicles, a BMW for herself and a Mini Cooper for her daughter. The rest of the money was spent on her daughters holiday in Bali, entertainment as well as clothing and groceries from large known retailers.

She was eventually caught after suppliers demanded their payments. After internal investigations by the company, she was reported to the police and was warned to appear in court. She pleaded guilty to all the charges and told the court that she was remorseful for the actions and further asked for a non-custodial sentence. However, the magistrate found that De Beer only pleaded guilty because the state had a strong case against her, and she had no defence for the charges.

In aggravation, the state prosecutor asked the court to impose a custodial sentence, because De Beer committed a serious offence over a period. She stole an average of R72 000 a month for three years; she was therefore motivated by greed since she was employed at the time of the offence.

The magistrate agreed with the state that De Beer had no regard for her employer, as she used her knowledge about the company to steal. She stopped not because of her consciousness but because she was caught. Therefore, he found that a sentence of direct imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence.

The BMW 3 series bought by the proceeds of crime will be sold at an auction after the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the NPA obtained a confiscation order valued at R70 000, in terms of section 18 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

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