Businesswoman regrets stealing R5.5 million

JULY 23, 2015

She is not afraid to go to jail and hopes to leave jail as a better person. This was what Lianne Greyling, 27, testified in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Wednesday, where sentencing procedures got under way.

The young businesswoman from Bloemfontein, who was found guilty of theft and fraud to the amount of R5.5m, took to the stand on Wednesday where she opened up to Regional Magistrate Marina Voges about what had driven her to crime.

It was revealed how she had already been found guilty of fraud charges in her matric year in Kempton Park. At the time, she had been given a suspended sentence.

Earlier, further evidence showed that she had also worked as a barmaid and a stripper in Port Elizabeth before she started her own import business in 2009.

Greyling testified how she had used drugs daily from 2006 to 2008 until she fell pregnant with the first of her three daughters.

Her mother also had a criminal record of theft and fraud, and abused drugs and alcohol.

As a result, Greyling said she had a difficult childhood.

"I never wanted to be like my mother. I don't want my children to have the same problems that I did. I want to be the mother they deserve," she said.

She testified that she hoped jail would empower her.

'I know I have a problem'

"I know I have a problem. I want to know that when I come out of there, I will be healthy."

She said she and her first husband, Juran, lived a life of luxury in Bloemfontein from 2010 to 2013.

It was during this time that she committed most of her big crimes.

She also had additional income from other companies.

A lot of money was also used to help family and friends who were in financial need, said Greyling.

She wanted to repay the money that she had acquired fraudulently, but the situation got so out of control that she simply could not do it.

She had decided in April last year: "To this point and no further. I will not steal anymore."

Greyling went on to say that she took full responsibility for her actions.

Prosecutor Vic de Bruyn from the Organised Crime unit, expressed doubt over Greyling's regret.

"You don't have a conscious," he said.

The case was postponed to July 27.