Craig Warriner, a trustee of BHI Trust, handed himself over to authorities last week before appearing in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court (Johannesburg) over a suspected investment fraud involving numerous people.

Warriner remains in custody and waived his right to apply for bail, reports Moneyweb.

He has reportedly asked for a single cell because of death threats he has received from other inmates.

A letter from Cawood Attorneys detailing the background to the case says the purpose of last week's court hearing was to afford Warriner an opportunity to obtain legal representation.

He reportedly declined, saying he preferred to represent himself.

According to the Cawood Attorneys letter, Warriner ‘indicated that he would plead guilty to any charges that may have been brought against him’.

Warriner apparently confessed that he had been running the BHI Trust in an irresponsible manner, 'using the funds of Peter to pay Paul’.

He allegedly suffered significant losses in the 2008 recession, and has ‘since been attempting to trade the available funds of the trust in such a manner as to trade the trust back to a position of liquidity’.

In the process, he made further losses from which he reportedly believes he cannot recover.

The funds of hundreds, if not thousands of investors are at risk. It is unclear how much money is involved, but it is expected to be at least hundreds of millions of rands.

Cawood says the first step is to protect the existing assets of the trust, requiring a court-appointed trustee on an urgent basis.

It also suggests bringing an urgent application to sequestrate the BHI Trust, resulting in a provisional trustee being appointed to safeguard the existing assets.

The trustee’s powers would then allow for an insolvency inquiry into the trust’s financial affairs.

The inquiry would also be able to subpoena those with knowledge of the trust and identify other people of interest.

An urgent court application of this kind typically takes two weeks to be heard.

Full Moneyweb report