Oct 12, 2020 Editorial
The first round of Guyanese who invested in Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. and were fleeced should start receiving repayments today.
This was according to the article titled, “Alleged Ponzi scheme operators to halt operations; to start repaying investors from October 12 (KN, October 4th).
This sounds like a good start, but it is one that must be overseen closely and carefully, and with no let-up. The persons hauled before the courts have shown themselves to be resourceful and adaptable to changing circumstances. We believe that the arrangements made for restitution must be watched with hawkeyed interest from beginning to end, with no loose ends left hanging. In a nutshell, the alleged perpetrators of this huge scam must be made to fulfill every aspect of what they have agreed to do.
There are some good measures put in place by government to facilitate repayment to those swindled. According to KN, “The Government had set up a bank account at Demerara Bank to facilitate payments.” Also, one of the attorneys for the accused stated that, “the arrangement of repayment will be made to the court to avoid an allegation of tampering with the witnesses.”
From those two positives, we proceed to some of the elements of this court-sanctioned repayment plan, that raises concerns.
First, there is a group of some 70 complainants which, most likely, represent those who are on the hook for probably many millions. It appears that they would be paid, but as to whether it is dollar for dollar is still not clear. In addition, there emerges the troubling matter of the other 17,000 investors reportedly taken for an expensive ride.
We ask this because when the big losers (those who went to court) are made whole, there is the risk of the mass of smaller investors falling by the wayside, with nothing by way of repayment coming their way. They are too small and too weak to fight the matter in the courts and could become part of the collateral damage from the deceptions delivered. In other words, nothing comes their way, the matter fades away, people move on, and they are left to lick their losses.
Then, there was the revelation that the payments would be the first 100 persons repaid starting October 12th and then the next 100 seven days later. That seven-day interval is too far apart; in fact, it should not have been allowed, and the repayments should have been continuous, as in no pausing. Something does not sit right with this, for there is the sense that the principals of Accelerated Capital Firm are still waging skillful defensive rearguard actions that prioritize their own interests. Anything that places the interests of these alleged schemers above that of defrauded Guyanese investors must be condemned and discontinued. The accused have been given enough room and opportunity to make good on their criminal actions.
Further, there is something of this repayment arrangement that is just as troubling, if not more. It follows this line, “if the complainants are repaid, the decision of whether or not the charges will continue against the accused is left to be made by the Director of Public Prosecution.”
That does not sound right or leaves with a good feeling. Saying sorry is not enough. Making whole is not enough. Messages have to be sent and hard lessons delivered. Do not do this here. Do not even think of it, for the price will be harsh.
We say this because of reports making the rounds of $100,000 house lot scams. Commonsense conveys that more of these deceptive and costly schemes will occur with the influx of foreigners pulling fast ones and gullible Guyanese being the losers. That influx is sure to include its contingent of the shady and slick, which adds to the local brigade of opportunists and confidence tricksters, who sit back and calculate the best ways to prey upon naïve Guyanese and separate them from their assets. At times, this can be as easy as giving children some cheap candy while separating them from their stuffed piggy banks.
Hard punishments must be the order of the day. Do not come here with plans to rip-off Guyanese.
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