'Church-goer scams Good Samaritan'
POLICE have arrested a woman for allegedly fleecing thousands of rands from a member of the Jesus Christ Family Church in Mdantsane
The 29-year-old woman, who is the former congregant of the same church and former Bhisho official, will appear in court next week. She was arrested on Wednesday after being trapped by one of her alleged victims.
The woman had allegedly scammed one congregant out of R11,000.
According to police and the church’s leadership, the woman’s modus operandi was to gain information about well-off congregants including their contact details.
She would then SMS or call them and claim to be someone they knew at church before asking for a loan.
The SMS would include the banking details where the money would be deposited.
It was further alleged that in some cases she would ask for loans and claim that the church had borrowed money from her in the past and that she was under pressure from the people she owed.
“She was very crafty and knew the right people to approach and had personal information from the inside,” said one of the church leaders, Nombuzo Sisilana.
“She would use this under false pretence via an SMS and claim to be in desperate need for money.
“We became aware of this trend last week after seeing lots of people coming forward as victims. She is tarnishing the church’s image and has caused unnecessary tensions in the congregation.”
It is alleged that the suspect had approached about 11 church members. However, only one had reportedly given the woman money.
Cambridge police spokesman Mluleki Mbi said the suspect has been charged with fraud and will appear in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
“So far we only know of the R11,000 that was deposited but we are aware that she also tried to defraud other church members.”
Church member and East London businessman Thembekile Mejane claimed he was defrauded of R11,000 in two days last week. He received a call from the suspect who claimed to be a mother in the church.
“She said she needed R4,000 to pay for her daughter’s tuition fee. I deposited R2,000 on May 15. She called the next day saying she actually needed R11,000 so I deposited R9,000. She did not want me to make a transfer as the money would take days to get to her,” said Mejane.
Mejane said he had given the money over because he had known the woman the suspect was allegedly claiming to be.
However, he became suspicious when the suspect had asked for another R1,000 to fix her car.
Mejane said he then went to the house of the woman he thought he was dealing with and she did not know what he was referring to.
Mejane then arranged to meet the suspect in Amalinda, where she was apprehended and taken to the Cambridge police station.