Picture: 123RF / NEJRON
Picture: 123RF / NEJRON

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has welcomed the 15-year jail term for David Wilmot, the owner of Nava Shore Holdings, handed down by the Port Elizabeth commercial crimes court.

Wilmot was found guilty of defrauding investors of more than R23m. He pleaded guilty to 153 counts of fraud, one count of contravening the Exchange Control Act, one count of contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, and one count of money laundering, according to a media statement released by the FSCA.

Wilmot is said to have “infiltrated” a local church where he exploited his relationships to attract clients. In 2013, the regulator investigated him and his company and found that he had taken funds from clients under the guise that he would trade forex on their behalf.

From January 2010 to June 2015, Wilmot had at least four bank accounts belonging to him, his company and relatives. The accounts housed deposited funds that were meant to be traded on the forex markets.

Of the R23.2m he received from investors, only R2.4m was transferred to overseas foreign exchange trading accounts. The remaining R20.8m was used to fund Wilmot’s extravagant lifestyle, while he reassured investors that their money was safe and growing in value. When prompted, he produced fake documents as proof, the regulator says.

“The FSCA commends the sterling work done of its own investigators and other law enforcement agencies involved in the matter.”

The conviction encouraged the regulator in its efforts to ensure that customers are treated fairly by the financial sector, the FSCA said.

The watchdog advised members of the public to be cautious when dealing with any individual or entity offering financial services. Checks should be made that the person/entity is registered with the FSCA to provide financial advisory and intermediary services and the category of advice the entity is registered to provide.

“There are instances where people are registered to provide basic advisory services for a low-risk product and then offer services of a far more complex and risky nature,” the FSCA said.

Check on the registration status of an individual or company by contacting the FSCA on the toll-free number 0800 110 443 or online at www.fsca.co.za/Fais/Search_FSP.htm