The Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has sentenced Charmaine Koch, 59, to eight years in jail after she pleaded guilty to 235 counts of fraud over a five yer period totalling a sum of about R2.7 million.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Natasha Kara said that  Koch had worked for Dundee-based company, Glendee Fertilizer and Lime CC. 

“Her job entailed administrative work, bookkeeping and uploading creditor payments with supporting invoices onto the company’s online banking profile. She would then prepare a schedule of the creditors that needed to be paid, which was then submitted to her manager who logged onto the system and released the payments,” Kara said.

“At some point, Koch experienced financial difficulties with her and her husband’s salary was insufficient to support their family. She decided to defraud her employer and changed the banking details of various creditors to her own banking details,” Kara said.

“She also used previous creditors invoices and created new ones which she submitted with her details for payment. The money went directly into her bank account,” Kara said.

Koch defrauded the business between August 2012 to January 2017.

“In February 2017, after returning from a holiday with her husband, she was advised that her employer had opened a fraud case against her. She did not return to work and was eventually arrested and taken to court,” Kara said.

Senior State Advocate, Ashika Haripersad prosecuted Koch for the fraud.

The NPA welcomed the successful prosecution and sentencing. 

The Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, Advocate Elaine Zungu said: “The accused in this matter was placed in a position of trust yet she abused this trust and decided to defraud her employer, that too for five years. We hope that sentences of this nature are indicative of the NPA’s stance against these types of cases.”

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Presh JM Reporter

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