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Thursday / 20 June 2024
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Family of three goes to prison for attempting to steal from the Road Accident Fund

A family of three consisting of a mother, daughter, and the daughter’s husband was sentenced to prison for attempting to defraud the Road Accident Fund (RAF) of at least R31 million.

The trio submitted 537 falsified claims from 40 road accidents to the RAF but was sniffed out by the fund’s Forensic Investigation Department before being able to cash in.

“The modus operandi of the fraudsters included recruiting individuals to lie about getting injured during a car crash, using number plates of old cars that are no longer roadworthy, claiming for injury benefits for road accidents that had no victims, and using stolen numberplates of stationery cars more than once,” said RAF Chief Executive Officer, Collins Letsoalo.

Subsequently, the Johannesburg Magistrate Court found both Tanya and Jaco Senekal guilty of 403 counts of fraud and sentenced the couple to eight years imprisonment each, of which two years were suspended for five years on condition that they are not convicted of fraud committed during the period of suspension.

The mother, Magdil Groenewald, was found guilty of 134 charges and sentenced to a five-year jail term. She may be placed under correctional supervision at the discretion of the Commissioner of Correctional Services or a parole board.

Fraudulent claims worth over R2.6 billion intercepted

Over the past three years, the RAF through its Forensic Investigation Department and the South African Police Services has successfully stopped fraudulent claims worth over R2.6 billion.

However, merely intercepting these claims before they are paid out is not enough. The practice of submitting falsified applications has serious implications for the true victims of road accidents and must be stopped completely with harsh prison sentences expected to assist in this goal.

“Fraudulent claims have dire financial and resource implications on the RAF in that employees who handle claims must also sift through fraudulent claims. This exercise extends the amount of time it takes to settle valid claims,” said Letsoalo.

“For this reason, we believe that sentencing related to stealing from claimants and the road users are given maximum sentences and are without suspensions.”

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