Cops trap rich conman at bank

A 25-YEAR-OLD man is in custody after the police trapped him for allegedly conning unsuspecting youths in to depositing money into his bank account if they wanted to be shortlisted for the intake of the SA National Defence Force.

On Thursday last week the man went to one of the Absa branches in Nelspruit and tried to withdraw a large amount of cash from the account he had given to hundreds of unsuspecting individuals.

As previously arranged the bank called the police who confronted the depositor of the thousands of rands into the account.

"The suspect could not explain his actions and was unaware that we had actually set a trap for him," Captain Leonard Hlathi said.

"We had arranged with the bank to guard against the account holder. So staff at the bank immediately called us the moment he arrived to make a withdrawal.

"Early in September we received 32 statements from people who were defrauded of their hard-earned cash by unknown suspects.

The con artists had distributed pamphlets in Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) and other places in the Lowveld.

"The pamphlets were printed in a professional manner and bore the SANDF emblem as well as the contry's flag," Hlathi said.

He said the pamphlets claimed that the defence force was on a mission to recruit and train 15 000 new combat officers every year until 2010.

Hundreds went to the Nelspruit SANDF offices for interviews only to be told that they had been duped.