J Arthur Brown gets R150k fine for Fidentia fraud

Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown. (Gallo)

Former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown. (Gallo)

Handing down the sentence on Wednesday, Western Cape High Court Judge Anton Veldhuizen said a R75 000 fine applied for each fraud count.

He was also given 18 months in jail for each count, suspended for four years on condition he not be convicted for fraud again.

Brown (43) looked tired as police officers shackled his wrists and led him out of courtroom 19.

Pensioners, businesspeople and other members of the public in the packed courtroom had mixed expressions of disbelief and relief when the sentence was handed down.

Brown was recently convicted after he admitted to misrepresentations he made regarding investments entrusted to him.

The state originally laid 192 charges against him.

Found guilty
Brown was found guilty on two counts of fraud by the Western Cape High Court in April this year. 

The charges are related to dealings with the Transport Education and Training Authority and the Mantadia Asset Trust Company.

Brown was acquitted on seven other charges of corruption, money-laundering, theft and fraud.

His bail of R1-million was extended and he was told to return to court on April 29, for sentencing arguments. 

Admission statement
Brown handed in an admissions document in April in relation to the two fraud charges he was convicted on, but the court had misgivings about the strengths of the admissions. He then handed in an altered admissions document, which the court accepted.

He initially admitted that Fidentia did not have enough liquid cash at the time of purchase, but that it had enough assets in the form of negotiable instruments. He also admitted that Fidentia had misrepresented itself by saying the full purchase price for Matco would be paid before it took control.

The second admission statement handed in included the terms of the purchase agreement and made it clear that the purchaser had to have "immediately available funds".

"Fidentia and I misrepresented that Fidentia was able to do so and thereby induced the shareholders of Matco to enter into the agreement and sell their shares to Fidentia," Brown said in the altered document.

He admitted that Fidentia took control of Matco in October 2004, before full payment was made to all shareholders, contradictory to the terms of the agreement.

Accepting personal responsibility, he said he ordered the transfer of R69-million from the Matco account to Fidentia, which would later be used to pay the remainder of the Matco purchase price.

"The above actions amounted to a misrepresentation of the true facts in respect of the sale of share agreement and the method and time of payment ...
My actions were unlawful and constituted fraud by way of dolus eventualis [indirect intent]. – Sapa

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