• The reality of prisons for many inmates is far from hoping to be rehabilitated. Instead, the reality is one of trying to protect oneself from the violence perpetrated on the inside. Read our article about the shocking reality of prison violence in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

    The reality of prisons for many inmates is far from hoping to be rehabilitated. Instead, the reality is one of trying to protect oneself from the violence perpetrated on the inside. Read our article about the shocking reality of prison violence in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • Some people seem to choose a life of violent crime. We ask whether it is due to an antisocial personality disorder or genes or whether other factors are at play. Read this interesting article in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

    Some people seem to choose a life of violent crime. We ask whether it is due to an antisocial personality disorder or genes or whether other factors are at play. Read this interesting article in the August 2017 issue of Servamus.

  • Commercial crime is often regarded as “not so serious”. We prove the opposite in an article featured in the August 2017 issue of Servamus by giving a South African perspective to this very serious crime and the impact it has on the community and economy.

    Commercial crime is often regarded as “not so serious”. We prove the opposite in an article featured in the August 2017 issue of Servamus by giving a South African perspective to this very serious crime and the impact it has on the community and economy.

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- Ensuring that justice is served across borders

Compiled by Annalise Kempen

Have you ever thought that South African investigative standards or investigators are not on par with international standards? Think again. An operation entitled Scams R Us is an excellent example of how the South African authorities have contributed to justice being served across borders.

 

The modus operandi

In September 2011, a female victim located in the United States of America informed US investigators that a person with whom she communicated through an online dating service had requested that she repackage and ship two cellphones to an address in Pretoria, South Africa, using labels that this person provided to her. The initial investigation revealed that the cellphones were purchased using the stolen personal and credit card information of an American citizen who (obviously) did not authorise the use of this information. 

A US undercover agent then took over the identity of the female victim in order to communicate with the subject online. This contact led to communications with other persons who were knowingly participating in a scheme to defraud others through the use of counterfeit and illegally obtained cheques, and that two such cheques had been mailed to potential victims. The Internet Protocol (IP) address for the e-mail that was used by the target of the investigation revealed that it was being done from Pretoria.

A further investigation was launched and as a result of the execution of a series of search warrants, investigators obtained e-mail contents from approximately 360 e-mail accounts that were used in the fraud schemes. The majority of the IP addresses of the e-mail accounts reflected locations in Pretoria. Analysis of the contents of more than a million e-mails provided evidence of several online fraud schemes, including reshipping of fraudulently purchased merchandise; account takeovers of credit card accounts; counterfeit and/or unauthorised cheque scams; account takeovers of retirement and other accounts; and laundering of illicit proceeds through layers of pre-paid credit cards. The e-mails also revealed the purchase and/or use by the defendants of personal identification information of hundreds of people who were living in the USA, including multiple banks and victims located in the southern District of Mississippi. This information was used to open accounts and fraudulently take over bank and credit card accounts.

The fraudsters used illegally obtained lists of e-mail addresses to send hundreds of prescripted e-mails solicitating unwitting individuals into scams, ranging from romance scams and work-at-home scams to secret shopper scams. These unwitting individuals then facilitated the transfer of funds from various accounts takeovers to the fraudsters by using Western Union and Money Grams and even through prepaid credit cards. In doing this, these individuals, often unintentionally, became money mules or e-mules since they had partaken in laundering the proceeds of crime. Money mules/e-mules, just like fraudsters, are guilty of illegally transporting fraudulently gained money which is the reason why they could be prosecuted.5

However, that was not where the fraud stopped - these money/e-mules were also used to repackage and ship fraudulently purchased cellphones, computers, televisions and other electronics by using fraudulently obtained shipping labels from the US Postal Services, Federal Express, United Parcel Services and DHL. The fraudsters also advertised many of the electronic items for sale on Gumtree (an online classified South African website). 

 

The South African authorities become involved

In July 2013, members of the Electronic Crime Unit (ECU) of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) (the Hawks) started a project-driven investigation into the activities of the suspects. The project concluded with the take-down operation during May 2014 with the simultaneous search, seizure and arrest operations in Canada of two suspects; in the USA of four suspects and in South Africa of 11 suspects. This eventually led to the successful extradition of some of the suspects in July 2015 (see infra). The South African government received an official request from the US Department of Justice in May 2014, asking for its assistance in obtaining evidence for use in the criminal investigation and related criminal proceedings.

The request was premised on the Treaty between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, which was signed in Washington on 16 September 1999.

...............

[This is only an extract of an article that was published in the April 2017 issue of Servamus. The rest of the article discusses the perpetrators; the offences they were charged with and the extent of their crimes; the extradition process; the experience gained and lessons learnt from this project. Please contact our offices at tel: (012) 345 4622/60 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to enquiry how to obtain the rest of the article.]

Servamus - August 2017

Asanda Baninzi and Wox Mthuthuzeli Nombewu hijacked a sergeant based at the Langebaan Airforce Base and his girlfriend, then drove them to the Mawumawu area in Nyanga.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Who will be the next National Commissioner of the SAPS? That is the question on many concerned South Africans' lips - especially those of police members, researchers and the SAPS's partners in the fight against crime.
By Annalise Kempen
Normal, healthy people seldom dream about death. They do not see crime scenes and dead people when they close their eyes.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
For a period of 11 years the serial rapist and murderer, Jimmy Maketta, terrorised communities in the Philippi area near Cape Town.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - August 2017

Read More - S v Parkins 2017 (1) SACR 235 (WCC)
Bradley Parkins (“the accused”) was convicted in the regional court sitting at Wynberg in the Cape Peninsula (“the trial court”) on the following six charges:
Read More - S v Mabitle 2017 (1) SACR 325 (NWM) and S v Monye and Another 2017 (1) SACR 329 (SCA)
In Ask Pollex in Servamus: August 2015, Pollex referred to a number of reported cases in respect of “contract killings”.
Read More In Servamus: June 2017, Pollex discussed the case of S v Hewitt 2017 (1) SACR 309 (SCA) (“the Hewitt case”). (The case involved the retired, world-renowned champion tennis player and instructor, Bob Hewitt.)
The Hewitt case was about three female complainants of whom two were raped and one was sexually assaulted (this offence was known as indecent assault at the time).
This month sees the last of our series of unlawful arrest and detention cases.

Letters - August 2017

Read More - An update (Servamus: December 2016
The telephone rings sharply in the charge office of Kliptown Police Station. The sergeant on duty looks up at the old clock hanging above the fireplace.
From 13 to 16 June 2017, members of the South African Police Service embarked on a trip to Mossel Bay for the Inter Provincial Soccer Championship, which was held at the D'Almeida sports ground.
Fathers’ Day was celebrated this year on 18 June, and I decided to run a special project under Social Crime Prevention for the fathers at Westville SAPS, with the wonderful support of some very gracious sponsors.
August 2017 Magazine Cover

Servamus' Mission

Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.