IN THE dying days of December 2011, billionaire heiress Wendy Appelbaum decided to add another wine farm to her property portfolio when she bid for Dave King’s liquidated Quoin Rock farm. But she was hoodwinked on the auction floor by Rael Levitt, of Auction Alliance, who attempted to drive up the bids by placing a phony bidder in her path. Appelbaum became wise to him and over the course of the next few weeks, she attracted considerable attention to the attempted fraud.
The media then moved in and began to dig around Levitt and the firm he had started in the mid-1990s. In the middle of February 2012, a newspaper report that Levitt attempted, unsuccessfully, to interdict, exposed years of dodgy dealings that linked bank staff, liquidators and attorneys to a money-making racket, allegedly orchestrated by Levitt and Auction Alliance.
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