Wendy Machanik hit with R1.5m fine for theft


Former estate agent Wendy Machanik has been fined R1.5-million after pleading guilty to 90 counts of theft, according to a newspaper report.

Former real estate agent Wendy Machanik at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes court in Johannesburg (Gallo)

The plea and sentence agreement was made on order of the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Monday.

She was ordered to pay R300 000 upfront and the remainder in monthly instalments,  Business Day newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Last month, she pleaded guilty to thefts involving R27-million.

Her lawyer Sam Cohen said he was "confident" she would be able to pay the fine in monthly instalments of R25 000.

The court withdrew charges against her co-accused Bruce Bernstein, who was the chief financial officer of Wendy Machanik Property Holdings.

The two were arrested last year on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, failure to keep accounting records, and failure to reflect over 100 transfers between the company's trust and business accounts.

Mechanik did not oppose a bid by Standard bank to liquidate her last year.

Standard Bank had granted Machanik a R3-million overdraft, bank guarantees of R40 000 and a corporate credit card with a R55 000 limit.

According to court papers, the bank says Machanik owed it just more than R1.65-million, plus interest, the Times reported.

In January, the high court ruled Machanik should not be granted a fidelity fund certificate for 2011, which would have allowed her to operate as an estate agent. – Sapa

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