October 30, 2009 Edition 2
Jade Witten – Cape Argus
A FORMER attorney convicted of misappropriating R400 000 in trust money is to be sentenced in the Bellville Commercial Crimes Court next month.
Carl John Botman appeared briefly in court yesterday, where his lawyer, Guestav Cook, asked for the case to be postponed so Botman could raise R400 000 and reimburse the Attorney’s Fidelity Fund.
On August 31, Botman pleaded guilty to a charge of theft for stealing trust money he had received from hundreds of Cape Flats families, while a dispute between the families and the Cape Town Community Housing Company was being resolved.
The company, in partnership with the city, built houses in Newfields Village, Hanover Park, Lyuoloville, Heideveld, Philippi, Eastridge and Woodridge in Mitchells Plain.
But the families said they were shoddy and refused to pay the company. A civil claim ensued against the residents, who also resisted eviction orders.
The residents approached Botman to safeguard their money while the matter was being resolved, but he, without their permission, used it for “professional fees”.
He pleaded guilty to 50 counts of fraud and to failing to keep proper accounting records of trust money he received.
“I admit that at all relevant times I knew that my conduct was wrongful and that I could be punished by a court of law,” Botman said in his plea.
Botman will be sentenced on November 27.