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Jan 19, 2005, 03:55 #1
Tanzanite/money Scam in Cape Town - South Africa
An Email I sent out after this happened:
Dear friend/colleague/client/business owner,
I am emailing you with this rather important warning. Sorry for it’s length.
I have had a rather eventful day, and I’d like to tell (warn) you about it.
Firstly, I was approached by a “prospective client” yesterday. He claimed to be from Botswana, and was interested in some printed marketing materials for the leather and curio goods that he is importing from Botswana. Well, that’s what I was lead to believe. I subsequently went to meet him at the airport at the news café in the international departures terminal. His name is (according to him) Chris Moyo.
After a fairly brief discussion on the above mentioned print materials, he went on to begin explaining other things that he would like me to do with him with regards to business. It came out that he apparently needed a “white, right hand guy” to aide him in the sales of these products and that was infact his only real requirement of me (not admitted on his side, but pretty damned obvious).
We arranged to then meet this morning, where we were to view the product samples and speak to the owner of the import company – a Mr Dlamini – who did not arrive for this meeting, which ended up happening in my bakkie. Mr Dlamini’s son (alleged) appeared wearing an incredibly expensive looking crocodile leather jacket and had an elephant leather bag. We spoke briefly and I explained my services as a designer (knowing that this is not what they were after) and they proceeded to show me a bank bag with alleged “rough tanzanite” (ie: still in it’s rock casing and uncut). This appeared to be the major “topic up for discussion”. Mr Dlamini’s son left the car, and Chris and I were to drive to Pinelands (howard center) for an evaluation of the tanzanite.
When we arrived there, Chris left the bakkie explaining that he had to speak to “Mr Anderson” of the jewellery manufacturing shop and attain access cards for us. He took a while and I phoned him and expressed that I was getting annoyed and he must get a move on. He arrived back at my bakkie soon after and said that the evaluator was going to come to my bakkie (again in my bakkie… don’t these guys have offices?... just adds to the scepticism that should have been experienced by their more gullible victims). This guy (very smart in a suit) called Joe (he was a coloured man, not black like the rest of this “syndicate”) announced that these tanzanites were evaluated at R260,000 (R10,000 per carat). They let on a little that they were bull****ting by expressing the fact that I did not flinch at the amount, because I remained utterly poker faced about this ridiculously “you magazine” like story unfolding around me. They also told me that when we returned with the money, that Chris must go ahead and fetch the “security passes” (remember this point).
Next chapter… damn this is getting long, but bare with me. We then proceeded with this R260,000 worth of tanzanite which was carefully left in my hands to meet with Mr Dlamini who Chris assured would take R150,000 for the stones. Leaving a tidy R110,000 for Chris and I to split 60/40. Bit of easy money?... nah… I don’t think so… Things like that don’t just happen, and if they do, they’ll bite u in the ***.
We met with Mr Dlamini at a restaurant in Rondebosch where he, his son, Chris and I sat and spoke about my services (again), and once this obvously non important subject was done, we got down to the tanzanite topic. The tanzanite was now in Mr Dlamini’s posession again. He confirmed that he would take R150,000 for the stones, but heres where I almost fell off my chair (either that or reach across the table and smack him in the face). He wanted me to put down a security deposit with him, and only then would he release the stones. He wouldn’t take less than R10,000. That’s where I closed my notebook, stood up and closed the conversation/meeting/bull**** session.
Chris desperately tried to make me come up with some money, but I got antsy with him and basically told him to be quiet, as I’m not giving him a cent.
And I left…
Now the truth of the matter. The tanzanite was most likely fake (this is a guess as they wouldn’t easily “lend” me R260,000 worth of rock), and even if it was real, it is illegal to export rough tanzanite from tanzania of it is over 1 carat. Therefore, that would instantly render the entire transaction below board and a smuggling scam (and quite possibly have been shoved up someone’s bum… SIF).
Now, what I suspect, is that the entire motive of this whole load of crap shenanigans was to intice me to fork over R5/10k and then when we got to the “buyer” (Joe) in pinelands… they would simply just bugger off. Luckily I have a few more brain cells than that.
I have notified ETV, who are most likely going to run a show or at least a news section on this if my statements, cellphone numbers collected etc… lead to any arrests. So keep an eye out for me on the news
These guys (according to the inspector at the polisie stasie) have been operating for a while, and we are hoping to nail them all tomorrow, but if nothing comes of it, please let everybody know about this as there are a lot of gullible elderly people that have already forked out their life’s savings to these *******s.
Just a warning… and sorry to take up your time like this, but these w@nkers deserve to be locked up for a very, very long time in one of south africa’s hardest jails with the horniest most horrendously well hung of life term inmates to keep them company. That would make me chuckle.
Oh, and no, this has not made me a xenophobic racist… I am still a neutral observer who wishes to see justice done anybody that crosses the line.