Bad Lawyers

South African Attorney Jay Adriaan Venter Faked His Own Death
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Summary: In an attempt to escape persecution for misappropriating funds, a South African lawyer faked his own death.

A Vryheid attorney trying to save himself from punishment for misappropriating funds went so far as to enlist his fiancée in an attempt to fake his death. Jay Adriaan Venter reported he had a heart attack in July and died. His fiancée Rozanne Vosloo claimed to identify his body before cremating the body.


Adriaan Venter

Venter was being investigated for misappropriation of funds before he came up with the scheme to fake his death. The Vryheid Herald ruined his attempt to hide when they reported that Venter and Vosloo were arrested while trying to leave the country.

According to the report, the couple had reported his death to the insurers Liberty Group, of which they are now being investigated for filing a false claim. Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala stated, “It is alleged that on August 28, 2017 at 10am, the suspects submitted a fraudulent claim to the insurance company. Two suspects, aged 27 and 24, were arrested and charged. They appeared (on Friday) in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.” Essa said there were conflicting reports in July of Venter’s death, raising alarm.

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As one Vryheid resident stated, “This town is angry. We all attended the funeral. We all cried. We felt so bad for his mom and dad, they were devastated … heartbroken. His sister even flew out from Australia. I was puzzled that Rozanne seemed so calm. I assumed she was on some medication.” This resident explained that they were told Venter had been hijacked and decapitated in KwaMashu Durban. Then they heard “he was struck from the roll [of attorneys], that after the hearing he wasn’t feeling well and he had taken an uber to go to hospital where he had a heart attack.”

KZN Law Society president Asif Essa explained to The Mercury that the investigation into Venter began in May. “He was being investigated for the alleged misappropriation of trust funds while handling a matter involving the transfer of immovable property. The investigations revealed a shortfall in the trust accounts.” It was believed that nearly $235,594 was missing but further investigation determined that over $353,000 was in question. The Witness reports that Venter bought a luxury home with money from the trust account.

Venter’s former business partner, Abrie Kilian, told reporters that he went to the law society in early November 2016 to report Venter’s misconduct. Kilian, who now lives in Canada, said, “My initial reaction on learning of Mr. Venter’s death was shock (and), upon learning of his resurrection, total disbelief. I seriously hope that the money (will) be returned to everyone that entrusted him with it. Mr. Venter owes me a significant amount of money as well.”

Kilian states he moved to Canada to recover some of his financial losses. “My heart bleeds for our support staff, (many of whom) moved from another firm in Vryheid to his firm. Due to his irresponsibility, they are without employment.” He wants to see Venter tried before a court, not by social media.

The law society was in the process of removing him from the list as a practicing attorney when he faked his death. The wrongdoings he was accused of put the entire profession under scrutiny, Essa said.

Do you think things like this really make the entire profession look bad? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about attorneys getting in trouble in other countries, read these articles:

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