Ricochet News

AFU seizes R101 million belonging to fugitive fraudsters, the Bobroffs

Aug 11, 2017
AFU seizes R101 million belonging to fugitive fraudsters, the Bobroffs

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday said that it obtained an order in the North Gauteng High Court freezing a cash amount of about R101 million, which is held in two bank accounts in Israel.

According to spokesperson, Luvuyo Mfaku; "The bank accounts are held in the names of Ronald and Darren Bobroff (the Bobroffs)."

He said that the Bobroffs fled South Africa in March 2016 for Australia after irregularities were uncovered at Ronald Bobroff & Partners Inc (RBP), an attorneys firm specialising in personal injury claims. The Bobroffs were directors at RBP.

"The huge freezing order was the result of excellent cooperation between both the South African and Israeli authorities.

"The case relates to multiple fee agreements entered into by the Bobroff’s with their clients. In some instances, up to three agreements were signed with each client," described Mfaku.

"The Bobroff’s modus operandi was to convince clients to enter into these agreements. The clients were unaware that these agreements were in actual fact null and void and that it was used as a tool by the Bobroffs to commit alleged fraud, theft and tax evasion."

He said that, in addition, the Bobroffs invested a substantial amount of RBP’s monies in an investment account.

"The account was, however, not reflected as a trust creditor account in RBP’s trust accounting records. The money in the investment account provided the Bobroffs with an opportunity to avoid the taxation of the interest earned on the monies invested as well as with an opportunity to launder funds without being detected," Mfaku added.

"The order, which was granted on July 27, was granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which provides that property that is used to commit a crime can be frozen while the NPA applies for a final order to forfeit the money to the state.

"The money in the bank accounts was initially frozen by the Israeli authorities after they became suspicious about transactions being conducted on the accounts by the Bobroffs."

Mfaku said that in court papers, the AFU also submitted evidence that the funds in the bank accounts are, in all probability, the proceeds of unlawful activities, namely, fraud and/or theft and/or money laundering and that the Bobroffs laundered funds of their clients into the accounts in Israel.

"The money is currently kept safe in Israel until the finalisation of forfeiture proceedings," he said.