Question posted in the General Law category relating to Western Cape
What are the concequences of unknowingly being part of a fraud scheme or presented fraudulent access card given to you by someone who you though was doing a legal business with you. I am a student. Me and my friends saved money for like two months to save up for a retreat. Some of them are working and some are student and others are employed. We got a guy from Cape Town kwaLanga who seemed to be a business person dealing with properties. He presented his business to us as we were sitted and it was a beautiful dream. We asked him for prices and went on having communications with him. We collected money amongst us and payed him cash to book for us a place. once he was done he gave us a card with my friends name on it as he said it would be needed for us to clock in in the appartment he booked for us, which he said would be needed. The card was presented to the owner and he verified it and everything was on point, but were 10 and when we got there the appartment owner said there are only 4 guests allowed. I was one of the four to sign in and my other friends could not go back home as we all sacrifised money for the retreat. We wronged the Appartment owner and he will be charging us for the extras with R500 each. it was on the 4th september weekend until monday the 27th when he came back with a big invoice saying we have to pay about 15k for the damages to the appartment and another money for the nights booked for because the card was counterfeit or else he will report us to the police for fraud. My friend who was used for this booking and presented the card that was found fraudulent is now being suicidal because she is scared for her life and I am also scared too of this harsh news about us. We explained to the owner that we knew nothing about the card being fraudulent and exlplained to him everything from ourside and where we stand with the guy who did the booking with us. All we have is his number, he is not answering anything from us ever since we heard abour this. The appartment owner discouraged us that no one would believe us as our explanation is naive and positive ...meaning we would loose anyways and the option we have is to pay him his money and we are done. I dont know where he thinks we can get the money from. I am suffering from food insecurities as I am seated at res. We currently do not have such amout of money as we will have to fundraise it and he wants it this friday or else we face jail time. My anxieties are high, I am not even focused on my school work. Wish to hand this issue over to the police of get legal advice that can help us from being blackmailed and threatened for this over something we sincerely did not know of and only found out last week Monday the 27th and for the law to allow us to pay the money we owe him lawfully not through threats and blackmails.