A couple who cheated the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) out of R 10 million, by applying for relief for 553 employees when they only have 22, have been found guilty of fraud by the Pretoria Specialized Commercial Crimes Court.
The Department of Employment and Labor on Tuesday said the pair, Moroko Moremi (37) and his wife Treasure Moremi (34) – who are directors of a company called Denmeng Trading – are to face sentencing for their crime on May 17, 2022.
Read: Ters fraud: The authorities are closing in
UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping welcomed the latest conviction in a statement, further warning all fraudsters of the extensive arm of the law.
“I hope the latest conviction and arrests send a strong message to other would-be fraudsters that the long arm of the law will always catch up with you. ”
“Those who have helped themselves to funds earmarked for workers during the lockdown should always remember that the law is creeping towards them and they will not have any peace,” Maruping said.
According to the UIF, to-date four individuals have been convicted of defrauding the organization of Covid-19 Ters funds. However, 15 more cases have been referred to the Special Investigations Unit for further investigation.
SA recovers R3.4bn of fraudulent jobless claims
Give us our UIF money
UIF director of communications and marketing Makhosonke Buthelezi tells Moneyweb that although one cannot be certain of the judgment the presiding judge will issue, the couple convicted in the R10 million case are most likely to face a suspended sentence for their crimes.
“We will not know definitely because that [the sentence] is decided by the judge… It depends on the nature of the crime that has been committed. ”.
“But generally these are not very long sentences – around 10 years or even five years… In the few [UIF fraud] cases that I can recall, it’s mostly suspended sentences, so they are not spending time in jail, ”he explains.
An ongoing pursuit
Meanwhile, the labor department says it is looking to resume the UIF’s “follow the money” project in April, as soon as it appoints an auditing firm.
In 2020 the fund was able to recover close to R900 million and the UIF is expecting that more could still be recovered and more arrests will follow.
“Working together with law enforcement agencies, we will follow every lead pointing towards suspected fraud. We also thank the public for being vigilant about the abuse of Covid-19 Ters funds by blowing the whistle, ”says Maruping.