Woman convicted for manufacturing counterfeit money in Pietermaritzburg

Wednesday, January 31, 2024
 – A Pietermaritzburg woman who had hoped to print her way to riches by running a counterfeit money manufacturing racket was convicted on various charges on Tuesday and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment or a fine of R10 000.

Bombay Road resident Shobana Manipersadh (42) appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court charged with producing and being in possession of counterfeit money. She pleaded guilty and was convicted.

She was arrested in October last year following an investigation by police and local security companies that had received complaints from multiple small business owners in the Northdale area of purchases made with fake money.

The uMgungundlovu Crime Intelligence Unit, Mountain Rise Crime Prevention Unit, Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit and Mi7 Security, who conducted the raid, found Manipersadh in possession of counterfeit money, and a small home laboratory containing home-office colour printers and various paints and nail-polish that she used for touch-ups that made the counterfeit notes appear to be genuine currency.

Small store owners in the area complained that the fake money used by the con artist had impacted their businesses and livelihoods.

Manipersadh was also selling the counterfeit money.

After magistrate Nkanyiso Madlala delivered his verdict and sentence, Manipersadh asked him to clarify the sentence and announced on-the-spot she would opt to pay the R10 000 fine instead of serving a jail sentence.

In her plea, the unemployed mother of two who was on a R1 000 bail, admitted that after hatching her scheme she had carefully researched how to create counterfeit money.

‘On October 14, 2023, I purchased a printer in order to print counterfeit money. In the following days I purchased the inks, dyes and other materials to attempt to make the counterfeit money. I had seen social media posts that illustrate how a lay person can make counterfeit money. I researched the topic and found that I could obtain the materials from local stores in order to make counterfeit money. I intended to use the money at local stores …’

“On October 19, 2023, the police came to my house and raided the premises and found in one of the bedrooms, six R100 notes and nine R200 notes next to the printer’

“They arrested me and took me to Mountain Rise where I was accordingly charged,” said Manipersadh in her plea.

Magistrate Madlala described Manipersadh’s crime as “serious” in nature.

‘This was a deliberate offence and not just by fault. You went and bought equipment to make money and you were going to give that money to shops for goods.’

During the proceedings, Joel Durugiah, a currency protection device management officer within the currency integrity division at the South African Reserve Bank, provided expert testimony.

He was requested to determine whether the currency obtained in the evidence bags from Manipersadh’s home was genuine or counterfeit.

In his affidavit, Durugiah said several security features were missing including microprinting of the denomination numeral that does not appear in micro lettering in the animals to the left of the image of former President Nelson Mandela; no raised features; no feature for the visually impaired; a slight security thread with a colour change simulation which was created by means of an unknown green adhesive substance placed over the security thread security and the animal on the back of the banknote is not displayed as a seen-through feature in the counterfeit money.

Following her sentencing, Manipersadh waited inside the courtroom while her son left the public gallery to make a telephone call.

An hour later she went to the court’s cash office, where she paid the R10 000 fine in full, after which she was released from custody.

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