David Wilmot, 47, a Sunridge Park family man, was sentenced to 15-years in prison last week for running a Ponzi scheme. Wilmot took R23.2 million from unsuspecting investors.
The criminal pleaded guilty to 153 counts of fraud and one count of contravening the Exchange Control Act. He also pleaded to one count of contravening the financial advisory and intermediary services act and one count of money laundering.
Wilmot lied to investors by asking them to pay him so that he could invest their money in foreign exchange markets. The Port Elizabeth Commercial Crime Court, regional magistrate JJ Claassen, was the one who handed the sentence.
Wilmot had four bank accounts from January 2010 to 16 June 2015. The accounts belonged to his “company,” and relatives.
In the accounts, the thief kept the investor’s funds deposited in the bank accounts to reportedly trade the money on the forex markets. Out of the R23.2 million
Of the R23.2 million he got from the investors, Wilmot only transferred R2.4 million to overseas foreign exchange trading accounts.
The other R20.8 million he used to fund his lavish lifestyle and wants. In the meantime, he kept reassuring the investors that their money was safe and increasing in value.
To make matters even worse and for the investors to not suspect anything, the Ponzi scheme operator would produce fake documents as proof of investment when asked. Chris Arnold, an attorney, testified that Wilmot lied about any of the money being invested on behalf of the scheme’s investors.
When liquidators tried to trace the funds, they were not able to find anything.
One of Wilmot’s victims was Nicky Martin who gave him R1 million. Martin was one of the people who testified against the Ponzi scheme mastermind.
She revealed that she had been living in Australia, but had since returned to South Africa after losing everything due to Wilmot’s scheme. The victim also shared that she had a child who lived with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Martin explained that she couldn’t provide for the child with special schooling in Australia. Another victim who suffered at the hands of Wilmot’s Ponzi scheme was Cherise Milne and her husband.
The couple lost more than R2.5 million. Her husband has since taken up work on oil rigs outside of South Africa to try and make up the money they lost.
Milne’s husband has spent the past four years abroad due to the fraud. The National Prosecution Authority of South Africa (NPA) welcomed the sentence.
Wilmot’s victims were also satisfied with the prison sentence.