Nov 26, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – A widow (name provided), 56, of Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, who is still to be repaid by Ponzi scheme operators was allegedly told by one of them “You punished one month already, you can bear with us little more”.
“They have honey in their tongue to trap you” said the woman as she recalled borrowing and scraping all her savings just to invest $300,000 with Accelerated Capital Firm (ACF) Inc. With this investment, she hoped that she would receive great profits as was promised by the company. The widow dreamed of paying all her medical bills and relished the opportunity to live a better life.
All her hopes were shattered, however, when it was discovered that ACF Inc. was a Ponzi scheme that bilked 17,000 Guyanese of billions of dollars – over $4B (US$20M).
The principals of the company, Yuri Garcia-Dominguez and his wife, Ateeka Ishmael, were arrested August and slapped with 80 fraud charges and remanded to prison. On September 24, they were both released on $30M bail and promised to repay all their investors. It was reported on October 12, that the operators had begun to repay its client and promised 50% percent returns. The operators also stated that the company would use cryptocurrency to repay its clients – cryptocurrency is a digital method designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein an individual can do online transactions.
Some clients have refused to be repaid with this form of currency and the Attorney General Anil Nandlall labelled its use illegal in Guyana. Moreover, many of the investors have come forward to say that Christmas is approaching and they still are yet to receive any payments from the Ponzi scheme operators.
Speaking with Kaieteur News, yesterday, the widow shared her experience of how in May of this year, she was lured into the trap by one of the company’s marketers and spoke of currently being “pushed around” by the woman when she asked for her investment to be repaid.
“I am a widow and I lost my husband some years ago. My health is deteriorating but then came along a sweet mouth marketer sharing out flyers”, said the woman.
The Mon Repos woman said that she passed the information to her son-in-law and together they were beguiled into investing almost all their savings.
“I invested $300,000 and my son-in-law invested $500,000 because he dreamt of owning his own home,” recounted the woman.
To make the payments, the widow claimed that she met with a man, who a marketer said was her husband, instead who insisted that she meet him at a roadside not far from her home, and not at the company’s office.
She said that they were promised returns every month but this never happened.
“We began inquiring and was told that payments would no longer be made monthly but rather every three months, six months and yearly”.
The widow said she waited until three months was up to check her account but there were no payments. She inquired again and was told that she would have to wait. The woman asked if she could visit their office. They responded by saying no, said woman. “I was told to be patient”, she recalled.
She continued that she began investigating and soon discovered that it was a scam. “The address of the office written
on the flyer did not exist,” said the widow.
Realizing that she was being defrauded, she made contact with the marketer and told her that she wants back her investment.
“I told her, ‘I am a poor woman, I have bills to pay, I give you all my money, now I don’t have any more left, I have been punishing one month now waiting to be paid, I don’t work anywhere”, said the widow. “Her response to me was, ‘You punished one month already, you can bear with us little more”.
The very next month, she continued, the principals of the company were arrested.
She is now awaiting to be reimbursed her investment, as was promised by the operators but continues to be pushed around by the same marketers who she did business with.
“They proposed the cryptocurrency but I rejected the offer because I am too old to understand what it is,” she said.
The widow said that she was given a number to call but didn’t get through until yesterday. The person who answered, she said, told her to call back today.
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