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Former attorney condemned to a fifty-five-year combined sentence for various counts of fraud and theft

Media Statement
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (HAWKS)

WESTERN CAPE – Rugaya Van Der Schyff (57), a former attorney and conveyancer was on Thursday, 30 March 2023 sentenced by the Bellville Serious Commercial Crimes Court on forty-eight (48) charges ranging from fraud, money laundering and theft.

This comes after her  second arrest on 20 October 2022 by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team on charges of fraud and theft worth R500 000.

Van der Schyff was first arrested in 2019 by the same team for misappropriating trust funds to the value of R4.8 million and subsequently released on R20 000 bail. 

In 2017 the accused was struck off from the roll of attorneys by the Western Cape High Court following an interdict application which was lodged in 2016

The Hawks investigation showed that she continued facilitating offers to purchase several properties from 2019 to date, knowing fully well that she was disbarred from practicing as an attorney by the Western Cape High Court. The misappropriation was done in her professional capacity as an additional duty of care and diligence in dealing with the transfer of properties and the Registrar of Deeds.

Rugaya was sentenced to a combined ten (10) years imprisonment for two counts of money laundering, four (4) years imprisonment for contravening the Legal Practice Act (LPA) 28 of 2014. Moreover she was sentenced to another ten (10) years for nine (9) counts of fraud and a further eighteen (18) years for four (4) additional counts of fraud, suspended for five years with conditions. On thirty (30) counts of theft, the former attorney was sentenced to ten (10) years imprisonment, while an additional three (3) years imprisonment was suspended for 5 years on an additional count of theft.

The court ordered that all sentences imposed should be served concurrently, Van der Schyff will effectively serve ten (10) years direct imprisonment.




Zinzi Hani

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