Judgement date set for real estate fraud

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-The man accused of defrauding a home buyer of more than N$700,000 is set to hear his fate on July 25 after his trial came to an end this week.

Maanda Laurence faces a charge of fraud, theft by false pretence and acting as an estate agent without a valid fidelity certificate.

According to the charge sheet, Laurence defrauded Fauster Claasen of N$711,000 between March and April 2012.

Although Laurence was initially arrested together with Danville Beukes and Silvia Beukes, the Beukes’s were however acquitted of all charges pertaining to the case in October 2016 after the court found them not guilty.

Facing the charges alone, Laurence has throughout the trial denied guilt.
Laurence allegedly duped Claasen into believing he was a real estate agent with power of attorney, employed to sell a house at Erf 3671, Extension 3, Khomasdal, Windhoek on behalf of the owners. The accused allegedly informed Claasen the house was up for sale and was being sold for N$850,000.

The prosecution alleges Laurence misrepresented himself as a real estate agent to Claasen, enticing her to enter into a sales contract with him with the intent to buy the house he was purportedly selling.

Claasen was informed the house owners were in arrears with their mortgage with the bank and thus needed to sell the property as soon as possible.

Claasen said Laurence led her to believe that once she transferred N$711,000 into his ‘trust account’, Erf 3671 would be transferred into her name.

Having transferred the money into the account, Claasen never ever got the title deed to the house that would have made her the new legal owner of the property. Documents presented in court said Laurence was not a registered real estate agent.

It is further alleged that Laurence knew that there was an attachment to the house and that the money received from Claasen was supposed to be paid to Hartlief, but he instead pocketed the funds for his own use and thus committed fraud.

Laurence intentionally defrauded Claasen between March to May 2012, according to the prosecution.
Laurence has bail of N$20,000.

Magistrate Elina Nandago is set to deliver judgement on July 25.

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