/ 10 June 2010

Krion accused convicted

Krion matriarch Marietjie Prinsloo was today found guilty on over 122 000 charges, including racketeering, money laundering and fraud.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius convicted Prinsloo, her son Willem Pelser, her daughter Yolanda Lemstra and her husband Gerrit, and her niece Izabel Engelbrecht and husband Hendrick on thousands of charges in the high court in Pretoria.

The charges include theft, fraud, tax fraud and contraventions of several Acts, including the Banks Act, Insolvency Act, Companies
Act and operating a harmful business practice.

Hundreds of millions invested
Over R1,5-billion was invested within four years in Prinsloo’s get-rich-quick scheme, which Pretorius said was insolvent from the start.

The capital from new investors was at all times used to pay exorbitant interest to existing investors and there was never any underlying business to justify interest rates of 10% or more per month, Pretorius said.

She said the extent of the scheme was an indication of the unsurpassed greed of investors who were promised quick wealth, but in many cases resulted in poverty and hardship.

Pretorius said Prinsloo, who was the “mother” and in control of the business, had known her activities were illegal from the outset and never had any intention to legalise her business.

Assests still not traced
She had consistently lied to the Reserve Bank, the department of trade and industry and auditors appointed to investigate Krion about the extent of the scheme.

She and her co-accused had also deliberately hidden documentation from the auditors and had hidden assets — some of which could not be traced to this day.

All of the accused yesterday pleaded poverty, claiming they could not afford any higher bail amounts, let alone flee.

The bail of all seven accused was extended, but Judge Pretorius added stricter bail conditions.

The trial was postponed to July 26 for pre-sentencing reports. — Sapa