Oscar Pistorius trial: Fraudsters cash in on athlete's financial woes
Oscar Pistorius was forced to put his Pretoria mansion on the market to cover the legal costs of his murder trial
Fraudsters in South Africa are using the Oscar Pistorius trial to make a quick buck by fooling supporters into donating money to cover his spiralling legal fees.
The latest Internet scam involves a fake Facebook profile claiming to be that of Carl Pistorius, the athlete's older brother often seen in court, which solicits "financial support for the trial" from fans.
The page, which also includes a photograph of Carl, added: "If you are interested in working actively with us in this direction, please do contact: Mrs Victoria Anderson at email@example.com."
The page's most recent wall post read: "Thank You all for the continued support and words of encouragement during this difficult time. Pray for Oscar."
Attempts to contact the purported Mrs Anderson were unsuscessful.
Family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess told South Africa's Star newspaper fans wishing to make a donation were asked to meet in person in Pretoria, where the trial is taking place.
She warned fans against attending such meetings and confirmed Carl Pistorius doesn't have a Facebook page.
"The family has made it clear that anyone soliciting money on their behalf are doing so fraudulently," she added. "We will, once again, request Facebook to shut this profile down."
Back in March, Pistorius announced he was selling his mansion to cover the spiralling costs of his murder trial, which has now adjourned until 30 June as he undergoes a mental evaluation that could determine whether his state of mind played a part in the shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Last month, Dr Merryl Vorster, an expert witness for the defence, claimed Pistorius suffers from a generalised anxiety disorder. Her testimony raised the possibility that Pistorius could now claim diminished criminal responsibility for the shooting
Pistorius was released on bail of one million rand (£73,000) in February last year. His finances have taken a hit after losing lucrative sponsorship deals with Nike, reportedly worth $2 million, sunglasses maker Oakley, and French designer Thierry Mugler.
Oscar Pistorius is greeted by the "Support for Oscar" Facebook group members as he arrives at the Pretoria High Court If convicted of murder, which the athlete denies, Pistorius faces a mandatory life sentence which usually carries a minimum of 25 years in jail, though mitigation could reduce it in this case. If found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide, he could face 15 years or a non-custodial sentence.
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