'Greedy' woman stole R3m from two employers and 'spent it on luxuries'

An Eastern Cape woman has been sentenced for defrauding two companies she worked for. One of the companies was placed into business rescue because of her crimes. File photo.
An Eastern Cape woman has been sentenced for defrauding two companies she worked for. One of the companies was placed into business rescue because of her crimes. File photo.
Image: Allan Swart/123RF

A 36-year-old woman has been sentenced to nine years in jail for 233 counts of fraud, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday.

Eastern Cape NPA spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani said the sentence was handed down in the Port Elizabeth specialised commercial crime court.

According to Ngcakani, Bridgette Wait was employed at TAG Yachts SA in St Francis Bay between August 2014 and August 2017, and stole "just over R3m" from the company.

"One of her administrative duties was to upload creditors' banking details on the company system for payment. Some of the banking details she uploaded on the company system belonged to her," said Ngcakani.

"Consequently, between August 2014 and August 2017, TAG Yachts made 220 payments into her personal bank accounts, which equate to just over R3m. As the result of the crime, the company was placed under business rescue on August 23 2017."

Wait then moved to another company, Bull Clothing, in 2018 as a personal assistant. There, said Ngcakani, she "defrauded the company of close to R300,000".

"Part of her duties was to upload the beneficiary banking details of the company on the FNB online facility of Bull Clothing. On May 28 2018 she substituted three banking details of the beneficiaries with her own bank account details.

"This action resulted in R294,468.83 being deposited into her account."

Wait was arrested in November last year. She pleaded guilty to all counts of fraud in February.

Senior state prosecutor Lise Keech said during sentencing proceedings that Wait spent the money on luxuries - and that she "stole out of greed".

Wait was sentenced to nine years in prison for the fraud committed at TAG Yachts, and a further three years for the fraud committed at Bull Clothing. The sentences will run concurrently.


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