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Accountant suffers from identity theft

A chartered accountant turned to the Pretoria High Court in South Africa for help after an impersonator used her name and qualifications to gain employment.

Judge JMC Smit interdicted Charmaine Vermaak, of Roodepoort, from using the identity number of Charmaine Cogle. Vermaak may also not claim that she is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) or a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors SA.

Vermaak claimed she was a chartered accountant while in fact she is not, the court heard. It is claimed in court papers that Vermaak used Cogle's membership of the two bodies as her own whenever she tried to get a job or do business.

Cogle, a forensic auditor, said Vermaak's use of her qualifications and identification, could cause irreparable harm to her reputation.

She said Vermaak was also known as Charmaine van Wyk, Betra Connie Abrahams and Connie Cogle.

Cogle said she received a telephone call from Saica informing her someone was using her particulars in order to get work.

Late in February this year she heard that Vermaak tried to get a job at Santam using her qualifications. A Charmaine van Wyk said her maiden name was Cogle and gave the applicant's identity number and membership numbers of the professional bodies.

After investigations it came to light that Vermaak was sequestrated, that she was out on bail pending a criminal trial and that she had several civil sentences against her, Cogle said.

It appeared, Cogle told the court, that two years ago Vermaak worked at a sister company to the company for which she (Cogle) worked at the time. “I remember that I saw and met her on two occasions. It seems that she became aware of my personal details then,” Cogle said.

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