Gqeberha woman (65) handed 15-year sentence for defrauding firm of nearly R13.4m

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that 65-year-old Estelle Burgess swindled the Eastern Cape Training Centre of R13.4 million while she worked there as a creditor's clerk over a period of ten years.

Picture: SAPS/facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - A Gqeberha woman who worked as a clerk has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after having been convicted of more than 900 counts of fraud.

Estelle Burgess (65) was punished in the Port Elizabeth Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday after having pleaded guilty in February.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said she swindled the Eastern Cape Training Centre of R13.4 million while she worked there as a creditor's clerk over a period of 10 years.

“Fraud was committed, from 2004 to 2014, the crimes had a crippling effect on the company, as it was unable to pay its employees’ salaries during the hard lockdown in 2020,” said the NPA's Anelisa Ngcakani.

Burgess was one of only two people who had access to the centre's online internet payment system.

The NPA said she had access to nine bank accounts from four different banks and some were under her name.

The State said that she fraudulently substituted the banking details of creditors and suppliers with her own.

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