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Machanik’s fraud case postponed

Former estate agent Wendy Machanik’s case was postponed by the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Monday, her lawyer said.

“The case was postponed to 21 July to allow the Prosecuting Authority to consider the representations we have made,” said attorney Cyril Ziman.

Machanik, the close corporation Wendy Machanik Property Holdings, and its chief financial officer Bruce Bernstein are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, among other things.

They have made representations on the charges to the National Prosecuting Authority, but Ziman would not elaborate.

The case was postponed in April as Machanik had run out of funds, but Ziman said she now had enough money “for the immediate future”.

Ziman represents Machanik, Bernstein and the close corporation.

Machanik is out on bail of R25 000 and Bernstein is out on R5 000 bail.

They are charged with failing to keep accounting records and failing to reflect over 100 transfers between the trust account and business account.

The second charge is for failing to have accounting records audited for 2008, 2009 and 2010. The alternative charge is failing to cause financial statements to be made out for 2008 and 2009.

The third count is for failing to notify the board of each trust account that was opened.

The final charge is for conspiracy to commit fraud.

They allegedly made irregular transfers totalling R28-million from Wendy Machanik Property Holdings, to a fictitious account.

Machanik allegedly used this money to keep her company afloat and for personal expenses.

The High Court in Johannesburg made a final order in May prohibiting Wendy Machanik Property Holdings or Machanik herself from operating “trust, savings accounts or other interest-bearing accounts”.

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.

The move followed a successful court application by the Estate Agency Affairs Board in December to place the agency’s trust accounts under curatorship, following the alleged financial irregularities in the management of the accounts. — Sapa

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Gillian Jones
Guest Author

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