Khathutshelo Mashau, a convicted fraudster who swindled several taxpayers, has been sentenced to 48 years direct imprisonment after being found guilty on charges of theft, fraud and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
In a statement, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Thursday said Mashau had been handed the hefty sentence by the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court.
This came after the court heard how SARS had received a complaint from a taxpayer that his personal income tax refund was paid into an incorrect bank account.
"SARS conducted an investigation and found that the refund was paid into an FNB account in the name of Khathutshelo Mashau," the revenue collector said.
It said it was also found that several refunds for other taxpayers were paid into the same account.
"The affected taxpayers denied having knowledge of the FNB account that received the refunds. They also stated that they did not request that their personal information and bank accounts be changed to Khathutshelo Mashau."
SARS said Mashau also had another bank account with Capitec into which four fraudulent personal income tax refunds were paid. No recoveries were made as all monies were withdrawn when the investigation started.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter in the statement warned taxpayers to use only registered tax practitioners to assist them with their tax affairs.
"Persons who have no tax qualifications and who promise taxpayers huge refunds, are likely to be engaged in fraudulent activities which will harm the taxpayer. Taxpayers must report such persons immediately so that other taxpayers can be protected from these criminals.
"SARS makes it clear to taxpayers and provides certainty on which channels to use to transact with SARS and these are the only channels to use. If these channels are not sufficient to deal with a taxpayer’s needs, they should use the services of a recognised tax practitioner," said the Commissioner.