South African Woman Jailed For 50 Years For $28m Theft

South African Woman Jailed For 50 Years For $28m Theft

A South African woman who stole $28m (£23m) from her employer received a 50-year prison sentence on Friday.

Hildegard Steenkamp siphoned off the money over a 13-year period from the healthcare company she worked at as an accountant in Gauteng province.

Steenkamp had earlier pleaded guilty to 336 counts of fraud.

She appeared in front of a magistrate, who said he had never worked on a case that involved the theft of such a large sum by an individual.

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Magistrate Phillip Venter expressed his shock saying “to comprehend that one employee stole so much money from her employer is mind-boggling”.

Steenkamp’s defence was that her abusive late husband forced her to steal the money. Mr Venter disputed this and said “she perpetrated the actions alone”.

Forensic investigators found that Steenkamp spent the money funding her lavish lifestyle of gambling, jewellery purchases and travel.

On one spending spree she spent $263,000 in a single night at a casino.

The court also heard that Steenkamp spent nearly $1.6m on international trips and visited Dubai frequently.

She worked at the company between 2004 to 2017 before she resigned.

Steenkamp managed to concoct this plan as she was given authority to add or remove creditors from the company’s database, according to the South African police.

She added her husband as a creditor and started depositing money into his account.

Steenkamp handed herself to the authorities in 2018 and was granted bail. She eventually pleaded guilty earlier this year. BBC

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