A Cape Town man who was convicted of betting fraud for issuing fraudulent cheques has been issued a suspended sentence after he appeared in court on Wednesday. The man was said to have issued cheques to a company that trades in race and soccer betting, having known that those cheques would bounce due to insufficient funds in his account. 37-year-old Marc Berton O’Connor who originates from Brackenfell was charged with fraud this week and appeared in Cape Town’s Specialised Commercial Crime Court, where it was found that he was guilty.
37-year-old Marc Berton O’Connor who originates from Brackenfell was charged with fraud this week and appeared in Cape Town’s Specialised Commercial Crime Court, where it was found that he was guilty. His sentence though, has confused many who followed the trial, as it seems to be way too light for the damage done.
The charge sheet details that he issued cheques for amounts of R20 000, R10 000 as well as R15 000 all on the same day, in favour of a betting company, although he knew he had no money to honour those cheques. The following day, he issued another cheque in the amount of R22 000. Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg accepted O’Connor’s please bargain and sentenced him to either six months’ in prison or a fine of R6 700, which he will be able to pay in monthly instalments.
Those following the trial are wondering how it is that O’Connor was able to get off so lightly, since his acts seem to have been pre-meditated and malicious. This has raised an even larger question: how do Land-based and Online Casinos deal with fraud? Are the punishments harsh enough to deter those who would commit the crime?
For those who have never been in the position to be punished for online fraud, know that in most cases, players who have been found guilty of online fraud at their favourite casino accepting rand (ZAR) will be handed a ban. As the law in regards to online casinos in South Africa is currently in flux, it is highly unlikely that criminal charges will be pressed against players who are found to be committing online fraud. Of course, the kinds of crimes players might commit online will probably comprise only of false chargebacks on cards, but as cyber-crimes become more of an issue every day, it is likely that casinos will soon be dealing with more issues related to identity and financial information theft.
The concern for many is that the case of O’Connor as detailed above may be setting a precedent that gives criminals the confidence that their crimes won’t be harshly prosecuted. If this is the case is South Africa, the numbers of cyber-crime, especially in relation to online casinos, may be on the rise.
As a player at online casinos, ensure that your details are protected. Never give out your real money account name of password to others, and ensure you only play at casinos that have been tried and tested at trusted sources. Check out our list of the safest and best casinos to play at.