South African psychologist jailed five years for fraud

May 26, 2010

A 46-year-old clinical psychologist was jailed for five years on Tuesday for fraudulently obtaining short-term finance to renovate a house in Constantia.

Bongiwe Victoria Jagne's scheme to obtain loans from the bridging-financing company, Capcon, was "calculatedly designed, and well-planned", ruled Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court Magistrate Amrith Chabillal.

Jagne forged a letter, purporting to be from attorneys in the United Kingdom, falsely stating that UK90,000 was due to her from the sale of property in the UK.

She used this letter as security to persuade attorney Arno Schipper, a director of Capcon, to advance her loans totalling R720,000.

She was found guilty on five counts of fraud.

In mitigation of sentence, Jagne said she was a clinical psychologist with a practice in the UK, earning a salary of R22,500 a month, and that her husband was a research scientist attached to Oxford University, earning a salary of R38,000 a month.

This prompted Chabillal to ask how Jagne had managed to obtain free legal aid representation, which was intended for the very poor.

Chabillal instructed legal aid attorney Hailey Lawrence, who represented Jagne, to scrutinise her application for legal aid, and to "take the matter further" if the application contained false information.

Chabillal told Jagne: "You stand before this court, taking advantage of a legal aid system that is intended for the poor, who cannot afford privately-funded legal representation."

He added: "It can never be said that you are a person in need."

Chabillal said Jagne and her husband's combined income was "way beyond" what the average couple needed to live comfortably.

He said that although able to, Jagne had made no effort to repay the fraudulent loans, which had impacted heavily on Schipper financially.

Jagne had offered in court to repay the R720,000 in monthly instalments of R20,000, as an indication of her remorse.

However, according to Schipper, her previous offers to repay the money had not materialised.

Schipper told the court: "I take her offer of R20,000 a month with a pinch of salt."

Jagne was sentenced to eight years in prison, three years of which were conditionally suspended for five years.

Source: "Clinical psychologist jailed for fraud,", May 25, 2010.


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