A LOCAL company that sells Toyota vehicles and parts, Mike Harris Toyota, lost US$2,1 million to its sales manager between December 2020 and to date.
Shankman Ben (51), who was represented by Tapson Dzvetero, appeared before Harare magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa on Wednesday who granted him US$500 bail.
According to the State, Ben defrauded his employer on several occasions in a scam where he received cash payments and invoiced the complainant’s customers with doctored invoices.
He did not surrender the money received from the customers and enter such transactions in the system, but went on to procure motor vehicles from African Mobile Solutions (AMS), Dubai, United Arab Emirates using third party payments on the pretext that it was Mike Harris Toyota buying the cars.
The complainant tried to purchase motor vehicles from AMS and was informed that its bank account used for purchase of motor vehicles was in arrears.
The company then checked the transactions and discovered that 27 motor vehicles were fraudulently purchased using its dealership and bank account.
Mike Harris Toyota immediately engaged auditors and unearthed the scam before reporting the matter to the police.
The total prejudice suffered by the firm was US$445 038 and only US$1 600 was recovered.
It is further alleged that between January 2017 and September 2023, the accused person received pre-owned cars from customers for resale while at the company premises.
He did not register these transactions in the company’s standard operating procedures.
He received US$1 710 767 from buyers of such vehicles, and issued fake and fraudulent receipts on Aitocs Motors trading as Mike Harris.
The offence was discovered by forensic auditors.
Total value stolen is US$1 710 767 and nothing was recovered.
The prosecution further alleged that between December 2020 and September 19, 2023, Ben purchased a Ford Ranger WildTrak and other properties that are yet to be identified from proceeds of theft.