Tax fraud syndicate member sentenced to 30 years

Pretoria, 23 December 2016 - The last member of a 16-member syndicate that systematically defrauded SARS of approximately R26 million over a period of seven years was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on Tuesday, 20 December 2016.

Andries Seoketso (alias Andrew Molefe or Druza), was sentenced in the Gauteng North High Court in The State v Moyo and others, to 15 years imprisonment for fraud and 15 years for contraventions of The Proceeds of Crime Act.  The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Mr Seoketso now joins fifteen other syndicate members who were sentenced in 2014 to a combined 279 years' imprisonment on charges of racketeering, money laundering and fraud. Some of these sentences also run concurrently.

Judgment was handed down on the syndicate in December 2013 with only fourteen members appearing in court.  Two members, Seoketso and Sello Mothongwane, absconded and warrants were issued for their arrest.  Mothongwane was arrested in August 2014 and sentenced in December that year.  Seoketso was arrested in April this year.

The syndicate offered jobs to unemployed residents in Mamelodi and Soshanguve in return for copies of their identity documents, which were used to ‘register’ the victims as taxpayers. Fraudulent IRP5 certificates were then produced indicating that their “employers” had deducted excessive tax from their salaries. This resulted in fraudulent tax “refunds” being paid out and channeled into members of the syndicate’s bank accounts.

Syndicate members included former SARS employees Sydney Moyo, the mastermind of the scam, his wife Jane Moyo, and Richard Bopape.  Moyo was sent to 15 years effective imprisonment, his wife to six years and Bopape to two years imprisonment.

The State closed its case in August 2013 after leading testimonies of 118 witnesses.