Attorney’s ex-wife convicted and sentenced for R500 000 theft

Attorney’s ex-wife convicted and sentenced for R500 000 theft

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Eastern Cape has confirmed that a woman, who worked at her former husband’s law firm, was convicted and sentenced for theft by the Gqeberha Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

Bernice Viljoen (55), is the ex-wife and attorney Dewald Viljoen and was also a secretary at his law firm, which bore his name. Viljoen worked as a bookkeeper. Her former hubby held a trust account which was solely intended to be used for the safekeeping of deposited monies which were received by him on behalf of his clients.

“Various deposits were made into the trust account. These deposits were related to Road Accident Fund (RAF) claims, property sales and debt collections. The monies were never distributed to the rightful beneficiaries but rather into Dewald Viljoen Prokereurs business account and Boerdery bank account. Bernice, as the bookkeeper of the practice, was aware of the unlawful misappropriations,” said SAPS Eastern Cape spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela.

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Some of Viljoen’s victims then approached Eastern Cape authorities and it wasn’t long before both Bernice and Dewald, who were still a couple at the time, were arrested in 2016.

“In February 2012, various complaints were lodged by the victims with Gqeberha based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team of the Hawks for investigation which led to the arrest of Bernice and Dewald Viljoen on 17 March 2016. They appeared in court and were released on warning. The investigation revealed that the victims were prejudiced cash of more than R500 000”

SAPS Eastern Cape spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela

Viljoen was sentenced to two years of correctional supervision which includes house arrest and community service for that period. Further four years imprisonment suspended for three years. Dewald Viljoen is currently tried on same charges, local police have since said.

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