Cape Town – An alleged scam artist remains at large despite a number of cases against him.
His approach is to use his rental car company to get money from tourists or those in need of 4x4s.
An alleged victim, Daphne de Vogue, came to Cape Town for the AfrikaBurn event. De Vogue hired a car from the man but is still owed R16 040 by the man, whose name is known to the Weekend Argus.
Weekend Argus is also in possession of correspondence between Frenchman Simon Freour and the alleged scammer in which Freour requests a refund and an additional amount for “inconvenience” caused. Freour was promised a 4×4 with camping supplies and equipment.
He opened a case of fraud at Somerset West Police Station after failing to get satisfaction from the alleged scammer. Police spokesperson Andre Traut said the case was under investigation.
Bryan Bailey of IRS Forensic Investigations said it has been asked to look into the scammer’s companies.
“It is unfortunate that the allegations that have been made have impacted on South Africa’s reputation as a tourist destination,” said Bailey.
Christine Aquilina, from Italy, was scammed out of as much as R650 000. She met the scammer when she hired a car from him. He did not return her deposit right away.
According to a summons issued by her lawyers, it stated in the agreement that he would have possession of her vehicle while she was out of the country. He was allowed to use the car for his business on the grounds that she received a 70% share of the profits.
He was also required to insure the car using the R10 000 owed to her for the deposit and R1 940 paid by Aquilina for tyres that she paid for when hiring a car.
The contract was allegedly breached when she returned to South Africa and did not receive her vehicle. It was found that it had been in an accident and was at a repair centre with no insurance.
Aquilina also purchased a Toyota Hilux for the man’s business in agreement that he would pay her back monthly for it at 18% interest. It was found that the agreement was unlawful as the alleged scammer was not listed as a credit provider.
The tent fitted on the car by Aquilina was allegedly sold online, but later recovered, although she said the extras she fitted were never returned. She has since taken him to court and won but has not received compensation.
Aquilina opened another case against the alleged scammer for the theft of her camping equipment as well as illegally taking the cars across the border without her authorisation.
A couple, a South African and US citizen, opened a case of theft against the alleged scam artist at Cape Town Central Police Station this month.
They are allegedly owed R32 600 relating to a trip to Namibia. Police have confirmed to the Weekend Argus that the case is still under investigation.
The alleged scamster said he was on his way back from Botswana and was unable to comment at this stage.
Nicola van Dyk from Magister Student Placement told the Weekend Argus that several of her Belgian students rented a 4×4 from the alleged scamster.
“They paid the full rental, deposit and extra insurance prior to collecting the vehicle. When they wanted to collect it, they were told the clutch was broken, they needed a car urgently to go to AfrikaBurn so had to rent another car at the last minute.”
They were told they would be refunded later, Van Wyk added.
“There was some communication and then it stopped. The landline is no longer in use, he does not answer his cellphone and as of now, it seems they have lost all their money.”