Accountant jailed for eight years after stealing R4.1m from municipality

Accountant Nicholas Scholtz has been jailed for stealing R4.1m from Berg River municipality. Stock photo.
Accountant Nicholas Scholtz has been jailed for stealing R4.1m from Berg River municipality. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/thawornnurak

An accountant who stole R4.1m from a Western Cape municipality has been handed an eight-year jail sentence.

The Bellville specialised commercial crimes court sentenced Nicholas Scholtz, 33, on Thursday after describing his conduct as a “a significant breach of trust”.

He was convicted of 10 counts of fraud and one count of money laundering after he pleaded guilty.

Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said Scholtz was an expenditure accountant at the Berg River municipality in Piketberg. 

“It is reported that between May and July 2019, he stole over R4.1m. The court heard that he had access to the bank account of the municipality,” said Hani.

“[The money] was reportedly transferred ... to accounts belonging to Scholtz and that of a friend where Scholtz created fraudulent beneficiary names to hide the fact that money was being paid directly into his personal bank account.

“He reportedly made 10 transactions over a period of three months during which he stole money for personal use, and out of these 10 transactions two were transferred to his friend who later returned the bulk of the money received to Scholtz.”

The court sentenced Scholtz to 12 years in prison for fraud, four of which were suspended. He was also sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering. The sentences will run concurrently. The court also declared him unfit to possess a firearm.

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