More than 2,000 investors who have invested about R270m in VaultAge Solutions (US) have been scrambling around for the past week after the company’s CEO, Willie Breedt, was sequestrated.
The court order shows that an urgent application to go bankrupt was brought by one of the investors, Simon Dix, in the Pretoria High Court. Dix is from Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal and apparently invested R7.5 million in cryptocurrencies through the VaultAge platform.
Investors say Breedt promised them a monthly growth of 20% on their money, but by September last year he had stopped paying them. Many of them are pensioners, motorcycle enthusiasts and members of the SA military.
Maroela Media, meanwhile, could confirm that 44-year-old Breedt had a previous conviction for fraud for which he received a six-year sentence suspended for five years. The suspended sentence apparently ends in September this year.
Available photos show that Breedt lived glamorously. Among other things, he owned a collection of luxury cars and motorcycles worth millions of rands.
In January, he exchanged his palace-like house in the Featherbrooke estate on the West Rand for one in the Marina Martinique estate in Aston Bay in the Eastern Cape. However, he hurriedly made tracks after a group of investors and debt collectors showed up at his house to demand their money back.
According to Maroela Media’s sources, Breedt opened a case of intimidation with the police in Jeffreys Bay, after which he disappeared without a trace. The speculation was that he had fled to Mozambique. However, according to a private investigator, Breedt and his wife’s cellphone signals indicated that they were in Pretoria.
According to various media reports, the sheriff, police and a team of forensic investigators from the Hawks were allowed after the court order, to a house in Silver Lakes in the city’s east. Here, Breedt has allegedly remained under a pseudonym since mid-June.
A laptop and nano-stick were allegedly seized, possibly storing information on where the cryptocurrencies that Breedt traded could be. He was not arrested.
One of Breedt’s former confidants, who wished to remain anonymous, said that there were investors who handed over as much as R10 million to Breedt to buy cryptocurrencies that he would trade on the Bitfinex, Bitrex and Binance platforms, respectively. The money was apparently paid into his South African bank account or directly into his crypto wallets.
He claims that some of the investors apparently wanted to withdraw their money early in the year, but Breedt informed them via email that it would take eight to 10 weeks to receive the money. “We try to handle every query and feedback as quickly as possible. I have learned a lot in the last six months and apologize to every member. I just want to say that I will continue with my dedication to each member, ”says the source
According to Breedt’s former confidant, the amounts to be paid out were specified, but in the end no payments were made.
The Businessman from the West Rand says that almost all the members of the motorcycle group to which Breedt belonged invested money with him. He handed over R9m and his investment grew to R180m within two years, according to Breedt’s correspondence.
“He is terribly dishonest and has lied openly to everyone and the worst is that we have believed him for a long time,” the man says. “My parents and other family and friends all invested a lot of money and now have nothing. Everyone’s dreams were destroyed, ”he says.
Another investor who wishes to remain anonymous has invested R2 million and his daughter R400 000. He says people must take responsibility for their decisions. “Nobody complained when things went well and big payouts were made.”
He claims that the members of the motorcycle group have “created millions” and that there is still a lot of money in Breedt’s cryptocurrencies.
Gordon Kayser of GTA Kayser Attorneys told the media earlier that Breedt could possibly be charged with various violations of the law on financial institutions. There is also the possibility of a class action against Breedt’s bankrupt estate.
A group of investors has recently obtained a court order to freeze two South African bank accounts of Breedt and VaultAge Solutions, while the Reserve Bank has appointed an accounting firm to investigate VaultAge Solutions.
Breed did not respond to inquiries.