Gqeberha woman sentenced to 15 years in jail for R13m fraud

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

FILE: The State said she fraudulently substituted the banking details of creditors and suppliers with her own. Picture: Pixabay.com

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

Estelle Burgess (65) was sentenced in the Port Elizabeth Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday after pleading 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.

The NPA’s Anelisa Ngcakani said: “The 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.”

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 she fraudulently substituted the banking details of creditors and suppliers with her own.

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