Johannesburg – Hawks are looking for a woman who was arrested for allegedly selling people’s houses fraudulently but failed to return to court after being granted bail in 2019.
Annica van Staden, 46, has been on the run since August 2019 and police are requesting help from those who may know where she is to inform authorities.
Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi of the Hawks said allegations were that Van Staden registered a business called Housing First Property in Mpumalanga between October 2014 and July 2015.
She is the said to have started selling RDP houses, repossessed houses as well as private property in the vicinity of Middelburg, Witbank, Secunda and Kriel.
However, Sekgotodi said, it was later established that the houses she sold were not for sale.
“It is further alleged that the buyer had to pay the deposit on a house or the selling price into her business, Housing First Property’s trust account.
“She defrauded the buyers by not transferring the properties into their names and they had to pay for home loans on the properties they never acquired.”
“Van Staden allegedly transferred money to other agents she employed, although none of them, including herself, were registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board.
“Cases of fraud were registered in Middelburg.”
Sekgotodi said Van Staden was arrested in Protea Glen, Soweto, in August 2019.
She appeared in court for fraud and the case was postponed to November 11, 2020, after she was released on bail.
“She never returned to court and a warrant of arrest was issued for her.
“The suspect is no longer residing in Middelburg and her whereabouts are unknown. There is another outstanding case of fraud against her in Orange Farm, Nelspruit,” said Sekgotodi.
Sekgotodi said anyone who knows Van Staden’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Hawks’ investigating team, Lieutenant Colonel Hanlie Coetser on 082 303 9881 or Constable Masangane on 068 466 9873 and Sergeant Mosete on 072 329 9315.
“All the information will be treated with strict confidentiality,” she said.