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From dodgy coal deals to fake law Suspected con artist still at large despite litany of charges



There are several complaints against suspected con artist Fred Enslin under investigation, involving deals totalling more than R4 million.

It is a bizarre tale of a con artist whose ability to deceive and shape shift, chameleon-like, into as many characters as he has fingers on his hands. Apart from the middle finger, that is, which was always reserved as the parting shot when former Capetonian Fred Enslin walked into the sunset, away from his victims.

The story started around 2015, when Enslin, under the guise of a legitimate businessperson, engaged in a coal transaction with a Canadian company. This deal, involving a substantial amount of coal, is believed to be nothing but a con, meticulously crafted to ensnare the unsuspecting company in a financial trap.

“There was never any coal, never any deal. It was just Enslin who hoodwinked the company into believing that a large amount of coal was available at a bargain price,” said forensic and financial crimes investigator Chad Thomas of IRS Forensic Investigations.

The case went to the Pretoria High Court where the court awarded the Canadian company $979 000.

“They should have opened a case of fraud but didn’t. I think this emboldened Enslin even more”, said Thomas.

ALSO READ: ‘Scam artist’ on the run

Thomas has been tracking Enslin ever since.

Watch: True crime: Of Kakaboys and imaginary courts

After going off the radar for a while, Enslin resurfaced and launched Kakaboy Plumbing in Langebaan, Western Cape. It was a venture that, by its very name, hinted at the path that Enslin had set for himself.

“Enslin’s Kakaboy plumbing business operated for a while in Langebaan until he got tired of cleaning drains. He then reinvented himself as a security professional. Down came the Kakaboy Plumbing signs and up went the security company signs, right next to the police station.”

But the kaka gets better.

Enslin’s next transformation saw him suddenly acquire multiple degrees in law, and the Kakaboy Plumbing sign that had transformed into a security company board was taken down, and replaced by his name, up in lights, as a commercial and litigation law firm. He branded himself as one of the world’s best litigators.

Enslin partnered up with a local accountant, Stephanie Olivier. She had an established financial practice and sent clients to the freshly invented ‘doctor of law’. She is currently on trial herself in a case linked to the fugitive preacher, Shepherd Bushiri.

It was during the pandemic that one of Enslin’s most elaborate performances happened. He acted against a large multinational mining company for a local businessman after he convinced them that he was licensed to argue a case of theirs in the United Kingdom. It was an easy stunt to pull off because courts were virtual during Covid-19.

“So, there he was,” said Thomas, “putting on the performance of a lifetime for his client, arguing legal matters dressed up in a ’legal’ gown, all cameras focused on him, talking quite literally to the walls in his office,” said Thomas. “Enslin faked a courtroom setup, fooling his client that only found out, after paying a substantial bill, that it was all simply theatre.”

“He’s a master manipulator that can come up with a ruse for just about anything,” Thomas said.

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Enslin’s journey from the coal fraud to Kakaboy Plumbing, and fake courtrooms, said Thomas, was not a series of random ventures but a calculated progression designed to exploit whatever he could, whenever he could. Thomas assumes Enslin thought he was buying himself some prestige when he turned to the security industry, after the plumbing venture and coal swindle.

”I suspect that he was looking for respect. He wanted people to admire him,” said Thomas.

Although the Canadian firm that first engaged Thomas to investigate Enslin declined to press criminal charges, there are now several complaints against the suspected con artist under investigation today, totalling more than R4 million. Charges of fraud and money laundering were laid at the Langebaan police station by Thomas in 2022 and are presently being investigated by the Provincial Investigation Unit of the Saps in the Western Cape. Further charges of fraud were laid by former clients of Eslin’s legal practice in Kathu, Northern Cape, also in 2022; there is an ongoing Hawks investigation into the charge.

Colonel Katlego Mogale, national spokesperson for The Hawks and and Colonel Athlenta Mahthe, national spokesperson for the Saps, had not responded to questions about the cases at the time of going to press.

Enslin remains comfortably at large, likely where he was last seen in Jacob’s Bay in the Western Cape.

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