BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - A popular Pyramid Scheme that is making its round in the region is slowly falling apart, as law enforcement officials in two territories have made arrests in what is being described as a scam.
In Georgetown, Guyana, police slapped a couple with close to 50 charges and they are expected to lay about 70 in total relating to the scheme.
Charged are Cuban national Yuri Garcia Dominguez and his Guyanese wife, Ateeka Ishmael for allegedly swindling millions of dollars from more than 17,000 people.
In Trinidad, the Police Service last evening (Sept. 22) swooped down in an area on the islands and arrested nine people and seized millions of dollars in connection with the Ponzi Scheme.
So, what exactly is a Ponzi Scheme?
In its advisory, the local Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) described the scheme as “ a fraudulent investment offering that profits almost solely, through the recruitment of other participants into the programme”.
According to the financial bodies, the scheme requires individuals to invest a one-time payment and recruit other individuals, with the promise of receiving large sums of money. By joining the group, it allows the new member to profit by signing up for other new members: “This is known as a scam and a fraudulent financial activity.”
Back in Port-of-Spain, police said the nine persons arrested include a soldier, as the probe continues into the discovery of millions of dollars at a house in Kathleen Warner Drive, Phase I, La Horquetta.
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service in its media statement said there were reports that several persons had assembled, in breach of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations, waiting to collect large sums of money from a Pyramid Scheme.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, had directed the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) to mount an exercise in the La Horquetta area. But on seeing the police, the people dispersed.
In executing a search warrant, police found the cash and now raised the matter with the Finance Intelligence Branch of the TTPS.,
Meantime, the police have not indicated whether anyone has been charged in connection with the Ponzi Scheme in St. Kitts and Nevis or if any complaints were made.
However, in a joint statement from the Police Force, the RSCNPF, FSRC and FIU advise the general public to be vigilant and for the operators of these schemes to cease and desist.
Persons with information of these operations in the Federation are asked to contact the authorities at the following email addresses: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com