Three Johannesburg men accused of stealing close to R2-million by hacking into e-mails between an East London attorney and a homeowner were denied bail in the East London Magistrate’s Court this morning.
Magistrate Nazeem Joemath found that it would not be in the interest of justice to release Tholsienathan Shamoogan Pillay, 53, Pedro Pinto , 54, and Julius Uka Okoro, 48, on bail.
The three were arrested earlier this month in Johannesburg by members of the East London speciliased commercial crimes unit.
They appeared in court for allegedly hacking into the e-mail chains between Nahoon attorney Jeremy Neil Cocks, who was instructed to attend to a transfer of a Beacon Bay house valued at R1.8-million.
The property is owned by Heidi Pearson.
According to the charge sheet Cocks’ secretary, Maureen Macwilliams, communicated with Pearson during the process of the sale via e-mail.
The court heard through senior state advocate Deneshree Naicker that: “On 14 June 2017 Macwilliams advised Pearson through electronic mail that the registration on the property was due and would take place on 19 June 2017.
“On 19 June 2017 Macwilliams received an electronic mail, which she believed was from Pearson requesting an update on the registration of the property.
“Macwilliams replied and received a further mail which she believed was from Pearson, furnishing her with an FNB bank account into which the proceeds of the sale could be paid.”
Naicker continued: “On 20 June 2017, Cocks Attorneys transferred a sum of R1808288.66 to the said FNB account.”
She told the court that the account number belonged to a business called Shileza Development Company where Pillay is the sole director.
“Upon receipt of the payment from Cocks Attorneys [Pillay] transferred R499288.66 on June 20 to an FNB account belonging to David Osei. R1200000 was transferred on June 20 to the FNB account belonging to [accused number two] Pinto ,” Naicker told the court.
The court heard after receiving the R1.2-million, Pinto , accompanied by Pillay, visited the Gold Reef City Casino where they cashed in R950000 for gambling.
“Your worship the accused depleted R950000 out of R1.2-million on gambling in just 48 hours,” Naicker said.
The case was postponed to November 7 for further investigation.