Oct 17, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Alleged Ponzi scheme operators, Yuri Garcia-Dominguez and his wife, Ateeka Ishmael, of 242 Tract ‘A’ Coldingen, East Coast Demerara, are now slapped with two charges under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act.
This is the first time the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), an arm of the Guyana Police Force, has instituted charges under the AML/CFT Act. The AML/CFT Act, Chapter 10:11, prohibits businesses from operating as financial Institutions without the necessary registration for regulation and supervision by the Regulatory Authorities, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and Guyana Securities Council.
Garcia-Dominguez, a Cuban national who was granted citizenship in June, and his wife, are accused of running a Ponzi scheme operation, in which millions of dollars were swindled out of the pockets of hundreds of Guyanese.
Already facing 80 plus fraud charges, the couple was yesterday appeared in the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court before Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore, with their attorney, Dexter Todd.
They were not required to plead to operating a pyramid scheme in breach of the Consumer Affairs Act, No. 13 of 2011, and carrying on a business without registering with the Guyana Securities Council, in breach of the Securities Industries Act. Cap 73:04. The couple denied the charges and were both released on $25,000, each on each charge; the matter was adjourned to November 2, 2020.
The duo is currently before three different courts facing charges which allege that they obtain monies under false pretense. They were recently released on $30M bail after spending over a month in prison on remand.
According to reports, Garcia-Dominguez and Ishmael are officials of the Accelerated Capital Firm (ACF) Inc. and they allegedly lured hundreds of Guyanese claiming that by investing with their company, they would get a 40% return on investment. The investors were also encouraged to enlist additional investors on a 10% commission basis. ACF Inc. is not registered with the Guyana Securities Council to conduct financial business either as an investment advisor and/or a broker.
Earlier this month, Garcia-Dominguez announced at a press conference that all 17,000, persons who invested with the company will be repaid from Monday, last. The company had also planned on ceasing all operations in Guyana until a licence is granted for them to operate.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Todd said that ranks from SOCU, went to his clients home with a search warrant to search and seize monies, electronics, and financial documents that would help with their money-laundering investigations. The seizure of the electronics, Todd claimed, has put a halt to the repayment process, resulting in only 27 out of the 17,000 investors being repaid. The lawyer added that the ranks did not discover any cash.
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