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HomeNewsCrimeMan Arrested After Pensioner Conned Off R500k By Fake Builder In Elaborate...

Man Arrested After Pensioner Conned Off R500k By Fake Builder In Elaborate Scam

Bendon, 47, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate's court and is now being transferred to the Eastern Cape to face charges in the Gqeberha magistrate's court.

A pensioner fell victim to a fraudulent builder who deceived her into giving him over R500,000 under false pretences.

The suspect, who went by the name Mario Bertolini, convinced the pensioner to provide funds for various reasons, including his brother’s wedding, his daughter’s operation, and his tax debt. However, it was later revealed that these claims were all part of an elaborate scam.

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The Hawks’ Gqeberha serious commercial crime investigation unit, in collaboration with their colleagues in Bellville, Cape Town, have made progress in the case. They recently arrested a second suspect, Thembeka Bendon, in connection with the scam.

Bendon, 47, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court and is now being transferred to the Eastern Cape to face charges in the Gqeberha magistrate’s court.

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The initial arrest in October led to the apprehension of Thina Mpuhlu, 42, who was subsequently released on R2,000 bail. The investigation revealed that the pensioner had first encountered the fake builder, Mario Bertolini, on a dating site back in 2014.

Over the course of a month, they communicated via calls, messages, and emails, with Bertolini eventually inviting her to his brother’s wedding in Rome, Italy.

However, the pensioner was unable to obtain a travel visa in time for the wedding. Exploiting the situation, Bertolini claimed that his South African bank account was frozen, and he needed cash for the wedding, his daughter’s operation, and his tax debt.

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Trusting his story, the pensioner transferred more than R500,000 to his account.

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The Hawks’ investigation uncovered that “Mario Bertolini” was a false identity used by the two suspects. After receiving the funds, the fraudsters vanished without a trace, leaving the pensioner devastated and financially burdened.

This case serves as a reminder to exercise caution when engaging with individuals online, especially when it involves financial transactions. It is crucial to verify the authenticity of the person and their claims before parting with any money.

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Keitumetse Modise for SurgeZirc SA
Keitumetse Modise for SurgeZirc SA
Keitumetse Modise is a passionate and dedicated local news writer who brings the latest news and updates from your community straight to your doorstep. With years of experience in journalism, Keitumetse has established herself as a reliable source of information, covering a wide range of topics that matter to you.
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