PRETORIA – An intelligence driven operation conducted by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit in Johannesburg in collaboration with U.S Law Enforcement Agencies culminated in the arrest of three men for fraud related charges and possession of suspected stolen property on Tuesday.
The suspects were processed at Wierdabrug in Pretoria yesterday for their involvement in the Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud related crime. During September this year, the suspects allegedly created a fraudulent business email order to purchase 200 laptops worth approximately R4 million from Microsoft in the USA, to be delivered in Pretoria.
On 28 November, the Hawks received information regarding another consignment of 140 laptops worth approximately R7.9 million which arrived at OR Tambo International Airport. The investigation team monitored the consignment and pounced on the syndicate members whilst they were off-loading the alleged stolen property at a residential premises in Pretoria.
Three men aged 31, 34, and 40 were immediately arrested and charged. They are expected to appear in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court this afternoon.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation National Head, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya welcomes these arrests and consider this a very significant breakthrough. “The public needs to be extremely wary on the growing threat posed by unscrupulous organised crime networks who are targeting businesses and unsuspecting individuals. In recent years, BEC fraud scams are emerging as a challenge and the Hawks is committed to work in collaboration with local and international law enforcement agencies to detect, combat and respond to this phenomenon.”
More arrests cannot be ruled out and investigation continues.