The Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile was pleased with the harsh sentence which was meted against the 50-year-old Dale Ronald Harmse in the Oudtshoorn Regional Court on Wednesday, 30 March 2022 following his conviction for fraud, money laundering and contravention of Section 33(2) of the Legal Practice Act 28/2014 by pretending to be an practicing and registered Advocate whilst he was not.
The complainant laid a complaint against the accused during April 2020 after he approached the accused who was referred to him as a very good advocate who can assist him in legal matters.
Initial investigation suggests that they met in Oudtshoorn where the bogus advocate convinced him to transfer an amount of R500 000.00 from his business account into a so-called trust account which was later found to be that of the accused.
The month before the case was registered, March 2020, the relationship between the complainant and the accused became sour as the complainant was unable to pay the salaries of his employees.
It was then discovered that the accused disappeared with the money of the complainant. Background checks by the investigation officer also confirmed that the accused is not a registered legal practitioner.
Thorough investigation by the Lt Col Mxabaniso from the Western Cape Provincial Detective’s Organised Crime Unit led to the tracing and subsequent arrest of the accused in Krugersdorp, Gauteng on 14 December 2020.
He was brought back to the Western Cape and stood trial where he was found guilty and sentenced in the Oudtshoorn Magistrates’ court on Wednesday. The prosecutor representing the State, was Mr Brendon Smith.
The accused was sentences as follows:
1. Fraud: Fifteen (15) years imprisonment
2. Money Laundering: Five (5) years imprisonment
3. Impersonating a Legal Practitioner: Three (3) years imprisonment
Western Cape Provincial management has commended the investigating officer and those who had assisted him for their dedication and commitment which led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of the accused.
The Provincial Commissioner was pleased with the harsh sentences and hope that it will deter potential criminals from committing similar offences in defrauding people and denting economic opportunities of our worker’s class.