Woman, 63, to be sentenced for R13m ETC fraud

Estelle Burgess had pleaded guilty to almost 1,000 counts of fraud, totalling more than R13m
AWAITING FATE: Estelle Burgess had pleaded guilty to almost 1,000 counts of fraud, totalling more than R13m
Image: Supplied

A 63-year-old woman who admitted to swindling the Eastern Cape Training Centre (ETC) in Gqeberha out of R13.4m while working as a creditor’s clerk will be sentenced later in August.

Estelle Burgess had pleaded guilty to almost 1,000 counts of fraud, totalling more than R13m, in the Gqeberha Commercial Crimes Court in February.

Burgess had fraudulently substituted the banking details of creditors and suppliers with her own details on 972 occasions between November 2004 and September 2014.

She was arrested by the Hawks in January 2019.

A total of R13,460,236.05 was transferred to her nine bank accounts.

Burgess’s duties included capturing payments due to suppliers or creditors and submitting captured payment lists for authorisation and payment.

The ETC used an online internet payment system to pay creditors and Burgess assisted its financial manager in making payments to the creditors.

Only the two of them had access to the ETC’s banking system.

Among her other duties, Burgess created spreadsheets which included the banking details of the creditors and the amounts due.

Burgess presented these documents to the financial manager, who would then authorise payments.

Magistrate Nolitha Bara had convicted Burgess on 972 counts of fraud.

Burgess appeared in the commercial crimes court on Friday, where her case was postponed to August 25 for sentencing.

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