FORMER bank teller Lonwabo Mqonci has been sentenced to a six months jail term for assisting two fraudsters in an Internet scam that involved a bogus London solicitor.
Bellville specialised commercial crime court magistrate Amrith Chabillal said Mqonci's role amounted to a "crime of greed, in which he had grabbed what was not due to him".
Chabillal yesterday sentenced Mqonci to three years under legislation allowing his release into corrective supervision - involving house arrest - after serving six months.
The court earlier heard that the victim, Izak Lintvelt, received an e-mail two years ago, supposedly from a London solicitor who introduced himself as Barrister Tom Hickman. According to the e-mail, Lintvelt was the only living relative of Randolf Lintvelt, who died in October 1989, and whose estate executor was Hickman.
It informed Lintvelt that as the sole beneficiary, he could claim from the estate, which was worth $13,8million (about R104million).
However, in order to claim against the estate, he first had to pay R789300 into the solicitor's bank account for legal and consultation fees, documentation and revenue charges, which he did.
The two Nigerian men, named "Lucky" and "Pasta", persuaded Mqonci to allow them to deposit the money into his bank account. Mqonci was to withdraw the money for them, and keep R180000 for himself.
Chabillal said only the prosecutor could explain why Mqonci was not charged with fraud.
Mqonci's role had been pivotal, as without it the scam could not have succeeded, the magistrate said.
He said Lintvelt was defrauded out of an astronomical amount, and that the amount Mqonci received was "huge for a bank teller earning a salary". - Sapa