Desperate scam victims open civil case to claw back money

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Desperate scam victims open civil case to claw back money

Alleged Ponzi scheme has left hundreds of people, mostly pensioners, destitute in Mpumalanga

Journalist

Desperate victims of a Ponzi scheme run by alleged fraudster Jaco Jordaan have opened a civil case in a bid to get back much-needed money. This is in addition to a criminal case relating to an alleged Ponzi scheme, for which Jordaan will be appearing in the Secunda Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
In February, 51-year-old Jordaan was arrested after running his alleged Ponzi scheme business Stock Traders Pty for almost 10 years. The scheme left hundreds of people, mostly pensioners, destitute.
He offered investors an attractive 4.7 % return a month on investments and had clients across the country, but mostly in Gauteng and Mpumalanga. According to the personal trust,  one could expect to earn between 7% and 8% interest on an investment a year.
“The dividends were paid up every month as he promised, but then last year October was the last time I received money,” said Derick Smit from Kriel, who invested R670,000.Investors were kept at bay till February with a number of excuses, such as that some investors’ SARS details were not up to date.Last month Jordaan was denied bail in the Secunda Magistrate’s Court in the criminal case and he remains in custody at the Bethal jail.
Louwrens Grundlingh, who represents 150 victims, said the court has granted applicants a provisional sequestration order. Jordaan and his attorney have until May 8 to present reasons why a final sequestration shouldn’t be granted.
“The liquidators are breathing down his neck. They must follow up on every company where he is a shareholder or is involved in. They will start attaching assets to see what we can get back for creditors. We’re in the process of getting extension of powers for liquidators to sell assets.”
After a final sequestration order is given, claimants will need to prove their claim to liquidators before money is paid out.“You’re not necessarily going to get money back in a criminal matter. It’s one thing arresting someone and sentencing them to jail time, but the people will still be without their money.
“We thought we’d rather try and get their money back. A lot of people find themselves in difficult situations. For many it was their last savings,” said Grundlingh.
Kriel residents Jan, 63, and Annetjie Oosthuizen, 61, invested with Jordaan in September 2016 in the hope of  earning returns to cover the cost of one day having to move into a care facility.
Six years ago Jan lost his leg in a mining accident. He used the money he received as a severance payment to invest with Jordaan.
“All the questions we asked he had an answer for,” said Jan.“We are one of the lucky ones that still have a pension. I’m lucky I couldn’t get my whole work pension paid out. There are people that have lost everything.”
In many cases, entire families invested money after hearing about the “lucrative” returns.Jan said his son invested R2.8-million and his grandson R200,000.
“If we only get out half the money we invested, it will be good news for those people who have nothing,” he said.
When Jordaan first appeared in court in February, Jan was sitting in the front of the courtroom. “I looked at him the whole time and he didn’t once look at me. He doesn’t care. He is just cocky.”
According to court documents, Jordaan allegedly also “hijacked” a company called Destidex Investments CC.
Jordaan had one of his workers parade as the real owner, Christian Gouws. This worker is now believed to have turned state witness. Willie van Niekerk, a 51-year old Kriel resident who invested R1.5-million in the scheme, said: “I can still manage, but there are people who have already lost their cars and house or had their lights switched off. There are people that haven’t got money for food. They get assistance from other people in the community.”
Jordaan’s attorney, Pieter Bielderman, said: “I can confirm that my firm has been instructed to assist Mr Jordaan in obtaining bail. I also confirm that we are representing Mr Jordaan in the sequestration application. At this stage, due to Mr Jordaan’s incarceration, we have been unable to consult with him fully on all aspects of both the civil and criminal case.”

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