Swimmer loses in scam

South African Olympic swimmer Roland Schoeman lost more than R40000 in sponsorship money in a travel agency scam, Jacaranda radio said yesterday.

South African Olympic swimmer Roland Schoeman lost more than R40000 in sponsorship money in a travel agency scam, Jacaranda radio said yesterday.

Jacarandafm.com's Buzz said Roland's mother, Geraldine Schoeman, had lost the money after she booked airline tickets through an agency that turned out to be fraudulent.

Geraldine Schoeman said her office manager discovered the Super Deals Travel Agency through an advertisement in the Pretoria News.

She then booked a ticket for Roland to return to the US after being in South Africa for the Olympic trials.

"The quote was very good, in fact it was astonishing," Schoeman told the radio station.

"We went ahead with the booking. The agency then came back to us and said they'd made a mistake. The new price wasn't brilliant, some R30000 more, but there was so little time left, we took the ticket." She spent just over R42000 for Roland's business class ticket. She also booked a ticket through the travel agency from Durban to Johannesburg for herself.

When she was on the plane, she was approached by a Kulula security agent who said that her ticket had been purchased through a fraudulent transaction.

"Apparently the payment to the airline [from the agency] had been made with a stolen credit card or some other fraudulent means."

Schoeman said when she tried to find out about her son's ticket, she discovered that no transaction had ever been made with Delta Airlines.

She said she had to borrow money to buy her son a new ticket.

The case has been handed over to the police's commercial crimes unit.

Schoeman said the FNB account into which she had paid for the tickets had already been cleaned out when the investigation began.

Attempts to obtain contact details for Super Deals travel agency were unsuccessful. - Sapa

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