A waitress at a sushi and cocktail bar in Sea Point, who used an illegal skimming device to clone the bank cards of three customers, was fined R50 000 or 15 months jail on Monday.

In addition, Naledi Cecelia Masuku, a 28-year-old mother of a seven-year-old child, was fined R60 000 or 18 months, plus R30 000 or nine months, all conditionally suspended for five years, for violations of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.

She was also sentenced to five years in prison, suspended for five years, on a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Effectively, she had to pay the R50 000 fine immediately, or face 15 months in prison.

The proceedings took the form of a plea bargain before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, which deals exclusively with serious fraud, corruption and serious violations of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.

According to the plea negotiations document, she used a mini 400 card reader, better known as a skimming device, to access the bank details of an FNB credit card, an Investec private bank account and a MasterCard bank account respectively.

Prosecutor Tracy Belelie listed as aggravating factors that Masuku had had ample time to reflect on her actions, but had persisted, and that the cloning of bank cards required the vigilance of victims to uncover.

The cloning of cards also required an element of premeditation, she said.

Mitigation was listed by defence attorney, VB Kathemba, as her financial desperation in caring for her child, and that she did not have the benefit of a fixed salary.

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