Potchefstroom couple released on bail for money laundering worth R65 Million

News South Africa

Tebogo Msimanga |

A couple, Bennie Basson Otto (68) and Johanna Hendrina Otto (69) appeared before the Potchefstroom Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 21 September 2022 for fraud and money laundering worth approximately R65 million.

The couple was arrested following investigations into allegations of fraud involving a Potchefstroom-based company called  RSA Search (Pty)Ltd which has an accommodation booking website with the same name, where Bennie Otto is the company director.

North West Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said it is alleged that from 2011, the accused lured approximately 120 investors to invest in his business, and promised them a three (3) per cent profit share per month from the income he would generate from advertising and subscriptions.

“It is alleged that the accused unlawfully lured investors under the false pretence that his company was strong and solvent and that he was conducting a profitable business. However, the company collapsed as it was not generating enough income.”

Rikhotso further said through investigations, it was revealed that the company allegedly operated like a Pyramid scheme, as funds from new investors were used to pay the outstanding dividends of earlier investors and many investors allegedly never received their money back.

“Bennie Otto was charged with 69 counts of fraud and 31 counts of money laundering, meanwhile his wife was charged with a single count of money laundering. They were each released on R10 000 bail and the matter is postponed to 23 November 2022 for instructions for the attorney.

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