The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has received reports of more than a dozen pyramid schemes operating in Guyana, defrauding citizens of their hard-earned cash.
According to FIU Director Matthew Langevine, the organisations are operating different types of unauthorised and unlicensed financial activities, intended to defraud persons.
“You know in Guyana, we have had major pyramid schemes being identified, and so the FIU has been actively involved with other agencies in terms of getting an understanding and information regarding the amount of money involved, the persons involved and supporting the investigations with financial data,” he said.
According to Langevine some of the proposals offered by the operations, “are not practicable, not reasonable and we believe that it is all in an effort to scam individuals of their hard-earned currency.”
He added that the FIU has been actively involved in supporting all the different investigations.
“[W]e believe that we have had a lot of success in that regard and we may have served to help to reduce the number of losses that persons were likely to have had if there was not a very proactive and consistent effort by law enforcement.”
The Attorney General Chambers has been actively pursuing justice for thousands of Guyanese who were caught up in a local Ponzi scheme operated by the Accelerated Capital Firm Incorporated (ACFI) on the East Coast Demerara.
Government, in August, received thousands of complaints from citizens, after they were cheated out of their savings. A police investigation saw the operator and his wife arrested and charged with over 30 counts of fraud.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, recently said the Government will be strengthening laws to address investment fraud, as the lack of this legislation has affected prosecution of the largest Ponzi scheme operators in the country.
Meanwhile, Langevine said the FIU has also noted the use of social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook by persons to scam others.
“Because of the pandemic, I think persons are more inclined to be at home and using those forms of platforms and so criminals have been seeing that as an opportunity to and have been reaching out to individuals and have been orchestrating all kinds of financial scams,” he said.
The FIU has been collaborating with institutions regionally and internationally to effectively deal with the threats that are surfacing, he said.