Durban – A Free State man was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week after he was found guilty of theft to the value of R2.1m.
The suspect, 48-year-old Modise Jacob Rapholilo, was sentenced on Thursday by the Virginia Commercial Crimes Court.
According to Hawks regional spokesperson Captain Christopher Singo, Rapholilo committed the crime in January 2018.
Rapholilo approached a farm owner in the guise of a government representative.
“He misguided the farm owner victim by requesting him to release money for the sale of his farm to his personal bank account. He convinced him that this would assist in releasing the lump sum of money due to the victim for the rent and the purchase of his farm,” Singo said in a statement on Sunday.
Rapholilo then received a payment of R2.1 million from the victim into his bank account, Singo explained.
Shortly thereafter, the victim realised he had been conned and contacted the authorities.
Following an investigation, the Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team arrested Rapholilo in mid-September 2018.
Rapholilo appeared before the Virginia Commercial Crimes Court on September 20, where he pleaded guilty to charges of theft.
Singo said Rapholilo received a 15-year suspended sentence on the grounds that he would pay back the sum of R2.1 million to the victim before Sunday, March 31, 2019.
After failing to receive payment, the victim contacted the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime investigation unit on Monday, August 12, 2019, and reported Rapholilo’s breach of contract.
Rapholilo was rearrested in January 2020.