On 19 January 2015, the Pretoria High Court ordered that ownership of Mr Matthys’ home be restored. Mr Matthys, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, had lost his home due to being a victim of the Brusson Finance scheme.
The favourable judgment follows an application instituted by Mr Matthys against Brusson Finance and First National Bank (FNB) for the return of the property which he lost in the Brusson scheme.
A number of people like Mr Matthys have approached the Legal Resources Centre indicating that they have fallen victim to a scheme which attached their homes as security for loans that they have applied for and received from Brusson Finance. Brusson Finance deceived the applicants into believing that they were entering a loan agreement. In reality, the documents they signed authorised the sale of their family home to a third party (the Brusson investors).
In an earlier judgment, following the successful application by another of the LRC’s clients, Mr Sathekge, the judge stated the following regarding the documents that Brusson Finance used to deceive their victims, “they are drawn in such a way that they cause serious confusion. In my view, this is not a mistake but a part of the grand scheme. It is in pursuance of a well-designed process to deceive and defraud.”
Following the transfer of the property into the name of the Brusson Finance investor, Brusson Finance would approach a bank and, using the name of the Investor (who would have a good credit record), receive a mortgage over the property. In Mr Matthys’ case, the bank in question was FNB.
The investor would be responsible for the mortgage payments but, if the investor defaulted on these payments, the banks would obtain a judgment declaring the property executable (to be sold in order to pay back the mortgage). This is what happened to Mr Matthys’ property in April 2008, after his property was transferred into an investors name without his knowledge.
Brusson Finance has subsequently been liquidated, leaving the clients of the scheme in a precarious position: the properties are in the investors’ names and the banks are executing against the properties while the clients still reside on the properties. The clients stand to be evicted from their homes if the sale of the home proceeds.
In the matter between Mr Matthys and FNB, the bank originally opposed the application to restore ownership to Mr Matthys, but later withdrew its opposition, leaving the matter unopposed. Mr Matthys had paid over and above what he had borrowed from Brusson Finance. FNB removing its opposition was an encouraging move and assisted in allowing Mr Matthys to get his home back after years of being in stuck in what Mr Matthys called a “Brusson nightmare”.
In the order made on Monday, the honourable Judge De Vos also set aside the Brusson agreements and the mortgage bond in respect of the property. Mr Matthys and his family were extremely pleased with the outcome.