A former Sanlam financial advisor was convicted of fraud and ordered to repay R500,000 of the stolen money. File photo.
Image: Leon Swart/123rf .com
A former Sanlam financial advisor, 51-year-old Francois Martinus Labuschagne, was given a suspended sentence after he was convicted in the Bellville Commercial Crimes Court on Monday on multiple counts of fraud and forgery.
The court sentenced him to 10 years, wholly suspended for five years.
Labuschagne was arrested in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, in January 2017 by members of the local detective branch, in collaboration with the Western Cape Hawks, following a six-year investigation into fraudulent activities at Sanlam’s Ceres branch between August 2007 and January 2010.
During this period, he defrauded over 32 clients of their hard-earned savings, amounting to over R650,000.
The Hawks said Labuschagne convinced his clients to withdraw from their investment portfolios, claiming he would reinvest the money on their behalf with guaranteed higher returns – but instead he used the money for self-gain.
The convicted former financial advisor had been on the run before he was arrested in Limpopo. His case was subsequently transferred to the commercial crimes court in Cape Town, where he made several appearances before it was recently wrapped up.
The court also ordered Labuschagne to repay through instalments over half a million rand from his pension, as well as the balance of the misappropriated funds.
A further sentence of 30 months in correctional supervision was imposed on Labuschagne.