House scam sus­pect is nabbed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MPILETSO MOTUMI

THE HAWKS ar­rested a woman at the week­end for il­le­gally selling coun­cil stands and RDP houses af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion start­ing in Au­gust last year.

The sus­pect, Li­nah Maphopha, was ar­rested on Fri­day and ap­peared on charges of fraud.

Maphopha worked as a vol­un­teer at the City of Jo­han­nes­burg’s Ivory Park hous­ing de­part­ment of­fices.

Lucky Sin­dane, the city’s group foren­sic and in­ves­ti­ga­tions ser­vices (GFIS) spokesper­son, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­lows one by GFIS and the Hawks af­ter a com­plaint was re­ceived from a per­son who bought two RDP houses at a cost of R150 000 in Ivory Park, north of Joburg.

“The scam has been in op­er­a­tion since 2012. The first com­plainant was sold va­cant land il­le­gally and had in­di­cated to the sus­pect that he would pay the re­main­ing bal­ance of the money af­ter he re­ceived the pa­pers for the stand, which he never re­ceived. The other com­plainant was work­ing as a vol­un­teer at the de­part­ment and was told he would get the money he paid back, but that did not hap­pen ei­ther.”

The com­plainant met Maphopha in Septem­ber 2014 and she al­legedly told the com­plainant that she had two avail­able RDP houses for sale, il­le­gally oc­cu­pied by il­le­gal im­mi­grants. Each RDP house was al­legedly sold for R75 000.

Sin­dane said the modus operandi of the scam­mers was to go house-to-house claim­ing that they were of­fi­cials who were up­dat­ing ti­tle deeds.

“They would then find peo­ple liv­ing in the houses and of­fer to as­sist them to get their own houses for R65 000. There are peo­ple who are oc­cu­py­ing these houses il­le­gally,” said Sin­dane.

“In De­cem­ber 2014, an amount of R100 000 was paid into the sus­pect’s bank ac­count. A fur­ther R50 000 was paid into the sus­pect’s bank ac­count. De­spite mak­ing full pay­ments, no keys for the RDP houses were handed to the com­plainants,” said the GFIS.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, Maphopha had also scammed other peo­ple in Ivory Park.

“In 2012, the sus­pect il­le­gally sold a va­cant stand to a mem­ber of the pub­lic for R65 000. Only R55 000 was paid into her ac­count and the sec­ond com­plainant promised to pay the bal­ance upon oc­cu­pa­tion.”

Scam­mers claim to be of­fi­cials up­dat­ing records

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