UPDATE: Charges pile up against fraud couple

Helena Nepgen, alias 'Lenie,' was arrested at the Modimolle Magistrate's Court

CHARGES of theft and fraud involving millions of Rands are piling up against a man arrested in Richards Bay after being on the run from police since 2008.

Johan Nepgen (46) was arrested in February at a luxury house in Meerensee on a warrant issued at Modimolle, shortly after also reportedly defrauding the owner of Imvubu Lodge and Richards Bay Caravan Park of millions.

Cases against Nepgen and his wife Helena are investigated in Modimolle, Pretoria, Jeffrey’s Bay and Richards Bay.

Nepgen allegedly promised to install kitchen cupboards for an elderly Modimolle woman, but after she paid a deposit of R18 000 into his account, he failed to deliver and she laid a charge of fraud, on which he was arrested in 2008.

He was released on bail, but fled his trial.

His whereabouts remained unknown until police received information of his activities in Richards Bay in February and swooped down on his hideout.

Nepgen appeared in the Modimolle Magistrate’s Court on 24 February.

Helena was also arrested at court when she arrived to support him.

It subsequently emerged that the couple was also sought for a case in 2009, investigated by the Pretoria Central police station relating to more than 70 counts of fraud involving approximately R800 000.

Warrants of arrest

They fled their trial in that case and warrants of arrest were issued for both.

They will also shortly be appearing in the Richards Bay Magistrate’s Court.

According to the owner of the Imvubu Lodge and Richards Bay Caravan Park, he concluded a sales agreement with Nepgen to sell the lodge and caravan park last year, after Nepgen introduced himself as a successful businessman from Gauteng.

Nepgen also took possession of four residential properties belonging to the owner.

He took over the day-to-day management of the establishment, pending the transfer of the properties.

He however remained in breach of issuing bank guarantees for the purchase price.

After repossession of the properties, the family discovered that the money was never deposited into the bank accounts of the business as agreed, but was in fact channelled to Nepgen’s private account.

One of the houses were also stripped of all furnishings.

Nepgen’s bail was refused in the Modimolle Magistrate’s Court, while Helena was released on bail on condition that she does not leave Richards Bay.

More charges originating from Richards Bay may be added.

Johan Nepgen in cuffs and supported by Helena, at the Richards Bay police station following his arrest  in February

Johan Nepgen in cuffs and supported by Helena, at the Richards Bay police station following his arrest  in February

Rachelle Breed

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