More claims emerge against alleged Plett Rage accommodation scamster
An alleged con artist’s checkered past emerged yesterday as police continued to search for the man accused of scamming Plett ragers and holidaymakers out of hundreds of thousands of rands before going on the run.
A resident in the town has now accused Rick Havemann of running her business into the ground, while another said he was still trying to recoup the costs Havemann ran up while renting a property from him.
Several cases of fraud were reported against Havemann, 49, at the weekend, after he allegedly scammed close to 100 matriculants from around the country by posing as a rental agent for the popular annual Plett Rage.
The affected students, who booked accommodation through Havemann’s Ethos Property Management website – which has since been taken down – claimed they were each duped out of at least R10 000.
One family lost the R42 000 deposit paid on their holiday accommodation. esterday, Dawn Turner said she was forced to shut down her Engel & Volkers property branch in Plettenberg Bay, just more than a year after opening.
She has since instituted a civil claim against Havemann.
Turner, who bought into the franchise in July 2013, said Havemann – originally from the UK – approached her towards the end of that year for a position as an intern agent.
“He said he had been referred to me by a colleague in Cape Town,” Turner said. “He came across as a go-getter.”
She said an intern agent worked solely on commission.
In about April 2014, Havemann asked her for an advance.
“He had informed me that he was closing in on a couple of deals so I agreed to pay him an advance of R15 000 a month.”
Turner said that at some stage she loaded his profile onto her website. “He was angry, demanded I take it down.”
Havemann quit shortly afterwards.
Turner alleged that in addition to the R60 000 he owed her for salary advances, he ran up a R20 000 printing bill, and it became clear to her he was running his own business from her shop.
He made deals with clients she had not approved.
“My business was new and people started seeing it as a ripoff. I just couldn’t recover.”
One of the affected clients, Jason Rea, alleged that Havemann had left him with a R120 000 municipal account.
Rea approached the Engel & Volkers Plett branch in January 2014, to rent out his house.
He said Havemann introduced himself as the principal agent and asked to view the sixbedroom home.
He presented Rea later with a contract, wanting to rent it in his personal capacity.
“He paid the first month’s electricity and water account and then put in a dispute claiming the bill was too high.
“He put in dispute after dispute, while the amount continued to grow. Needless to say, he did not pay anything,” Rea said.
Havemann eventually moved out on January 31, allegedly leaving Rea with an outstanding R120 000 bill.
When Rea tried to go after Havemann for the money, he was taken to court for harassment.
While the matter was eventually thrown out of court, Rea said the ordeal cost him an additional R15 000 in legal fees.
Police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie said Havemann was still under investigation.
Havemann’s cellphone had been switched off and e-mail requests for comment were not responded to.