Compensation fund fraudster locked up

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Labour Minister Memebathisi Mdladlana has welcomed the conviction of a Krugersdorp woman after the Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria found her guilty of defrauding the Department's Compensation Fund.

The Compensation Fund is a public entity under the Department of Labour and is responsible for administering funds that serve as compensation for workers who are disabled due to occupational injuries or disease.

Fifty three year-old Ms Pelser was yesterday sentenced to an effective twelve years in prison for defrauding the Fund of approximately R1.1 million in false claims.

"This should serve as a lesson to other fraudsters who may be contemplating to commit similar acts that we as government are prepared to go beyond the call of duty to protect public resources," said Mr Mdladlana.

Ms Pelser allegedly ran a fraud syndicate with eleven accomplices who will appear in court again on 7 September 2004.

All twelve were arrested earlier this year after the Fund's Risk Management Team discovered discrepancies in the claims.

The syndicate submitted false claims alleging occupational disability of family and friends. The affected employer became suspicious when he noticed irregularities in some of the claims and then alerted the Compensation Fund.

"I wish to commend the employer who was brave enough to blow the whistle on these fraudsters, South African Police Services and our Risk Management Team for their impeccable investigations that led to the arrest and ultimately the conviction in this case," said Mr Mdladlana.

The minister added that the claims procedure was cumbersome and if the necessary checks and balances had not been done then the fraud would have gone undetected.

Source: BuaNews

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