Confidence tricksters and the public
The desire of many young people to educate themselves has exposed many of them to fraud and even abuse, with some of them being asked to offer their bodies in order to get the so-called break. Such reports are not often reported, because there is often the element of embarrassment; but they happen, nevertheless.
There are two talked-about cases at this time. One of them involves a woman who has been known to trick the society on a number of occasions, walking away with substantial sums of money in each case.
She goes by a number of names, and she has presented herself as many things, not least of all as a medical doctor. In one case, she actually presented a certificate that she said she secured as a medical student at a university in South Africa. Thank goodness that the Guyana Medical Council decided to seek verification for this certificate. The body learnt that there never was a student by that name at the South African University.
This woman operated as a medical officer with credentials to operate a laboratory. In fact, she actually established three laboratories, injected people, prescribed medication, drew blood for testing, and a whole lot of other things that she should not have done.
In the end, the Ministry of Health remarked, it is a wonder that the woman did not kill one of her ‘patients’. Her attempt to inject people could have led to paralysis, and even worse. We would never know if this was the case, because Guyanese are a people who easily move from one medical institution to another when they fail to get the kind of relief they seek from one of them.
This time around, the woman set up a nursing school and collected tons of money from students seeking a better life. There are reports that the outside world will be needing medical staff, and these young people saw a chance to qualify. And they were made to believe that the certificate they would receive would be accepted by the United States.
The Health Minister burst the bubble, and the woman was made to pay back some of her ‘students’. Remarkably, this woman has never been prosecuted, leading some to believe that she is “protected,” although there is nothing to stop a private individual from filing criminal charges.
One individual, an American citizen who was born here, actually sought the services of this woman for a tidy sum. She, too, has been fleeced; and from the look of things, she would have to watch her money go down the drain.
Another case involves people seeking to leave these shores for the bright lights of the north. At one time the rush was to the United States; this time, the place of choice appears to be Canada. Hapless Guyanese are being promised visas, for which they pay millions of dollars, and then they find out that they will not only be remaining here, but they will also be millions of dollars poorer.
It still boggles the mind that people will seek to part with money like that, when they should trust in themselves. A few days ago, an immigration lawyer was at pains to explain that people, from their living rooms, can know whether their visa application would be successful.
But these people refuse to believe that, so they fall prey to the unscrupulous person who actually seeks to guarantee them visas. These are the hopeful people.
These past two weeks, this newspaper had cause to report on the case of a group of people who were fleeced of millions of dollars. One of the people fleecing them cannot be found by the very people who paid him their money.
What is hard to believe is that a licenced consultant actually passed these persons on to this individual without verifying that the person was licenced to handle visa applicants. The victims can seek legal action in a Canadian court, but a lawyer said that it could be expensive, although eminently winnable.
It would be interesting to see whether others would present themselves to be fleeced, given that at least two major scams have been exposed. But, then again, there are always people who do not want to hear that their dream is unattainable. So, once there are these people, there will always be the confidence tricksters.