Public warned on raffle fraudster
A convicted fraudster appears to be up to her old tricks – this time selling raffle tickets supposedly for the elderly and a school that caters for specialneeds children and allegedly pocketing the proceeds.Colleen Grundlingh was found guilty of a similar scheme after she raised and then stole more than R18,000 through an Animal Welfare Society (AWS) raffle in February 2018.She was ordered to pay a fine of R5,000.Grundlingh denied the new claims this week, saying she would sue Weekend Post if an article was published.Algoa Bay Council for the Aged spokesperson Christa Terblanche said Grundlingh was selling raffle tickets on behalf of the organisation without its consent.“She has been targeting businesses and schools even though we never gave her permission to sell these raffle tickets,” Terblanche said.She said she had been inundated with calls asking if the raffle was legitimate.“Unfortunately, we do not have any ticket sales project on the go and we do not engage anyone other than staff for fundraising efforts,” she said.Grundlingh said she had sold raffle tickets for Algoa Bay Council for the Aged after she worked for the organisation for four days earlier this year.“I sold tickets for four days and when I was called by them I stopped selling.“If I see anything [published] I will sue,” she said.Meanwhile, the police have urged residents who bought raffle tickets from Grundlingh to report this to their nearest police station.Terblanche said she had met Grundlingh in February after she showed an interest in volunteering at the Algoa Bay Council for the Aged.“She made herself known as Colleen Grundlingh during the meeting,” she said.“I made it very clear that she was not allowed to sell any raffle tickets in our name or in her personal capacity for the organisation.”The prize is a weekend away at The Willows Resort, with tickets costing R200 – with the Marine Drive venue denying offering any such giveaway.Terblanche said the phones started ringing on March 11 with people asking to confirm the raffle.“I called her in for a meeting the next day and told her again that we did not authorise her to sell any tickets and that she must stop immediately and refund everyone.”During the meeting, Terblanche said, Grundlingh had agreed to stop the raffle.“But since then even more calls have been received from business owners around Port Elizabeth and even Humansdorp wanting to find out the legitimacy of the raffle.”A stump dated March 15 that Terblanche had seen showed that 57 tickets had been bought already.“We can assume she received R11,400 [from] the public in our name. It could be more – most people are paying her and only after payment call us to confirm.”Terblanche said each caller offered a similar story and gave a description of Grundlingh.“The callers all said she was asking for funds or selling raffle [tickets] for the SPCA, old age homes or homes for the disabled.”She said the owner of PG Glass Humansdorp and PG Glass Jeffreys Bay, Dawie van Niekerk, contacted her office on March 15 after he had bought two tickets.He then sent CCTV footage which Terblanche used to identify Grundlingh.“She also uses the aliases Colleen, Barbara and Lynne,” Terblanche said.“We received a call from a Port Elizabeth school on Wednesday, which shows she is still busy with the raffle.”Terblanche said she had reported the matter to the police but was told that the people who had bought the tickets needed to report it.Northern Lights School secretary Serial Jeftha said they first heard of Grundlingh in November 2017.“Companies started to contact us asking for letters for tax reasons for audits. We were unable to supply these letters as we were not aware of the raffle.“As far as we know, she has continued to sell these tickets.”Jeftha said at least eight companies had contacted them after buying tickets at R200.An undated stump shows that 90 tickets had been bought already for the Northern Lights School raffle.But Grundlingh said she had paid all the money over to the school.“I have all the evidence that I paid them. But I swear to God if you publish I am going to sue.” Grundlingh said she was in the midst of a court case with the Northern Lights School, but refused to give details.Willows deputy general manager Marita Loftie-Eaton said she had been approached by Grundlingh but turned her away.“She refused to give contact details. I contacted the Algoa Bay Council for the Aged and they confirmed they did not have any raffles.”Police spokesperson Captain Johan Rheeder said no cases had been opened so far.“This person is clearly jumping from one police precinct to the other . . . We urge people to report any cases to the police.”Greenwood Primary School bursar Rose Bhur said Grundlingh had started contacting her in 2018 asking for funds for the Northern Lights School and donations for mental health issues.“The last time she gave her name as Tanya but I recognised her voice from previous calls.“We had in the past given her money for other charities she had claimed to work for.“But . . . I had discovered she did not actually collect the money for the charities.”Animal Welfare Society manager Hannes Stander said after Grundlingh was found guilty in February 2018, they had launched a civil claim against her.“It was eventually agreed that she pay back the society R500 a month,” he said.Grundlingh had approached the organisation in November 2016, offering to raise funds through a raffle – to which they agreed.But later that month, the AWS terminated this agreement, after seeing a complaint about Grundlingh on the SPCA Uitenhage’s Facebook page.At the end of February 2017, Grundlingh signed a document at AWS, committing to pay back the R18,400 – but only R1,500 was returned.