Shocked clients lose life savings to car salesman

WHITE RIVER – The family of Mr George Marx said their name is unfairly being dragged through the mud, but investors do not know where to turn.

Three told Lowvelder they have little to show for the money they paid him.

How they invested in second-hand cars

George would approach them to purchase a car to be resold. He or she would pay the amount and be presented with the Natis, and be placed under the impression that the vehicle was theirs as it stood on one of the three stands George used in White River.

He would inform the investor that “his” car had been sold at a profit and that he had another vehicle available for a sightly larger amount. They would inevitably buy the next one too, which showed a tidy profit on paper.

When he died, they discovered that more than one of them “bought” the same car, that they did not own them and that, in some cases, “their” cars did not exist. Those that did, often needed much repair work.

It was also discovered that his estate was insolvent. Some investors moved fast to put “their” cars in their names.

The victims

  • Mr Pieter Goosen from Middelburg invested his wife’s R1,2 million pension payout from 35 years’ police service, over three years. He received the total back, while he was made to believe he made a profit and owned 16 cars.

“Meanwhile it was other people’s cars I thought I owned, and he just paid me back my own money.”

Seven of “his” cars did not exist.

  • His colleague, Ms Eureka Kloppers from Pretoria was likewise left with no cars and lost her entire pension fund.

“I am a single woman. I wanted to grow my pension,” she said. She made her first investment in April last year. George would WhatsApp her a photo of a car, and she would take his advice and “buy” it. She paid George R771 900. “We ‘sold’ a lot of cars,” she said.

When George died not one car was in her name. She thought she had 12. “I almost had a heart attack.

“I had complete faith in him. I can’t tell you why, but he never made me uncomfortable.”

• Mr Jaco Booysen from White River showed Lowvelder the payments he made to George, totalling at R661 420 since December.

The family

  • George’s son, Mr Pierre Marx, the owner of Marx Motors in Mbombela, said his father’s business had nothing to do with his own.

When he moved his dealership to Mbombela in 2011/12, his father took over his stands in White River, and they just never took the signs off.

George never traded as Marx Motors, Pierre points out. He used his girlfriend’s private bank account to do business.

Pierre has been trying to untangle who owned what, but there was not any paperwork to back up investors’ claims. “Now I have to use the bank statements to try and made sense of it all,” he told Lowvelder.

But he is certain, his father was no crook. “They say he went through how much of their money? Impossible! He didn’t have a paid-off house or car or even a contract phone.”

He said he does not know what went on. “That you have to ask him. Everybody asks me.

“I don’t have a clue. He was the last man I talked business with. We didn’t have that kind of relationship.”

Pierre tried to help the investors, even advising them to obtain dealer licences to ease registering their cars in their names.

However, the relationship soured because, he said, they were smearing him. Now they can use their cars to make back the money they claimed they lost.

“Each guy got his car back.”

  • George’s girlfriend, Ms Karen Klein, confirmed that she was not involved. George handled everything himself and merely used her bank account. “I was a housewife.

“George looked after me. Only with his death did I find out about the investors.

“We were just as shocked as everyone,” she said.

“The investors are welcome to get an auditor to come and look at the statements.”

Pierre concluded, “These people dragging my name though the mud are cowards who want to take it out on a dead man’s children.”

Mireille de Villiers

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