Fake criminal cases could land culprits behind bars
Fake victims of crime have been warned that opening false criminal cases in a bid to get an insurance payout or avoid being in hot water at work will land them in the dock or potentially behind bars.
The warning comes after a man was convicted and another arrested in the last month for fabricating stories about being hijacked.
In 2019, police have arrested several people for allegedly opening false cases, the majority of whom claimed they had been robbed, hijacked or had their cellphones stolen.
Authorities have warned that those who waste police time and resources could be slapped with a hefty bill, in addition to ending up with a criminal record and possibly going to jail.
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the majority of these cases involved people lying about cellphones being stolen, gang-related cases in which people lied about who the attackers were and, more commonly, false hijacking claims.
In most of the hijacking or cellphone cases, the false cases are linked to insurance scams in a bid to get a payout.
In a recent case, Naidu said that Gabriel Boitumelo, 53, from Kwazakhele, was convicted when he reported that he had been hijacked on April 19.
“He claimed that his red Toyota Corolla was hijacked at the traffic lights on the corner of Old Uitenhage Road and Chatty.
“He further alleged that two men emerged from the bushes and held him at gunpoint before pushing him out of the car and driving off,” she said.
“After investigations, detectives discovered that the man had lied and that the vehicle had not been hijacked. He allegedly lied due to personal circumstances.”
Boitumelo was caught out when his version of events did not correlate with the evidence detectives gathered about the supposed hijacking.
In August, he was charged for making a false statement and in November 2019 he was found guilty and given a R2,000 fine or 100 days in prison.
In a separate incident, Sinoxolo Mbuthuma, 28, from Motherwell, was also charged for lying to police.
“He claims that the company car, a VW Polo Vivo, was hijacked in Motherwell at about 7am on November 3.
“It was later established that he was in fact involved in an accident with a bus,” she said.
“The claims were that he was forced off the road and held at gunpoint before the ‘suspects’ took off in the car.
“The accused will be appearing in court again where he is expected to plead guilty.”
Mbuthuma is expected to appear in court on December 13.
Naidu said another case was opened two weeks ago in which a person in New Brighton claimed to have been hijacked.
“He originally wanted to open a case but after questioning admitted that he was drunk and was asleep in his Opel Corsa while thieves stripped his car,” she said.
In the majority of false hijacking reports where company vehicles were used, the drivers had been involved in accidents or some form of illegal activity.
“In most cases where company cars are involved, we find that the drivers are trying to avoid disciplinary action by claiming to have been hijacked.”