Eastern Cape lawyer Karl Olinger guilty of R500K trust fund theft
Eastern Cape attorney Karl Olinger has been found guilty on numerous charges of theft of trust fund money amounting to nearly R500,000, the Hawks said on Wednesday. Spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said Olinger, 64, was convicted in the East London Regional Court on Tuesday.
During the period between 1999 and 2007, Olinger, as a practising attorney, received trust funds on behalf of his clients, but did not use the funds for the intended purpose. This resulted in a number of his clients’ lodging complaints with East London based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team of the Hawks for probing.”
Captain Mgolodela said investigation by the Hawks revealed that Olinger received proceeds of the sales of numerous immovable properties but did not pay the proceeds over to his clients.
“In another instance, he was instructed by a client to recover funds owed to the client by debtor. The debtor paid the funds into the trust account of the accused, however he did not pay the funds over to his client.
The accused further represented the Maletswai municipality in recovering outstanding rates from a municipal client. The unpaid municipal rates were paid into the trust account of Olinger and he did not pay the funds over to the municipality.”
She said Olinger was also appointed as an executor in winding up the deceased estate.
“The complainant paid a total of more than R181,000 in respect of the winding up of the estate. He did not finalise the winding up of the estate.
The accused was again appointed as an executor of a second estate. He received a total amount of more than R319,000 in respect of the estate. The claims against the estate amounted to no more than R197,000 but Olinger only disbursed an amount of less than R173,000.”
She said the Hawks’ finding revealed that Olinger prejudiced his client’s cash to the value of more than R467,000. He was expected to be sentenced on May 9.
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