Probe Launched Into Suspected Ponzi Scheme in Guyana

Attorney General Anil Nandlall

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug 21, CMC – Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, says the Guyana Securities Council (GSC) has warned of a suspected Ponzi scheme operating in the country.

Nandlall said the GSC has since written to President Dr. Irfaan Ali, Vice- President Bharrat Jagdeo and acting Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie, on the matter.

A government statement said that as a result, Nandlall, who is also the Minister of Legal Affairs, met with and received from the GSC, a report of the operations of this agency.

“In short, the Report describes the agency, styled Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. (ACFI), as a “Pyramid or a Ponzi Scheme” that has received hundreds of millions of dollars from thousands of Guyanese,” the statement said.

It said that the government has assembled a high-level team, “to immediately, adopt a multi-sector approach to investigate the operations of ACFI, with a view, inter alia, of reimbursing monies to the persons who “invested” in the scheme”.

Nandlall is heading the team that also includes the acting Commissioner of Police, the Governor of the Central Bank, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit and head of the Guyana Securities Council. And that statement said that persons with relevant information are invited to assist in the investigations.

In its Report, GSC noted that the business engaged in by ACFI violates several pieces of legislation across the fiscal, regulatory architecture.

“Currently, Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. (ACFI) is not licensed by the Guyana Securities Council to solicit investments from the public. Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act, it is required for all investors to provide the source of funds and ensure that the financial activities and money laundering risks associated with a customer are properly recorded. The Guyana Securities Council is not in receipt of that information from the application submitted.”

The statement noted that under the Securities Industry Act 1998, the GSC requested from ACFI “detail information and documents pertaining to its principals and the operations of the organisation.

“To date, the information has not been submitted as requested by the GSC, and the application will not be processed unless the requisite supporting documents are submitted. The GSC also wrote to Mr. Yuri Garcia Dominguez to cease and desist from advising the clients of Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. that the reason for non-payment to their clients is that the Guyana Securities Council is in the process of granting a license to Accelerated Capital Firm Inc.

“In fact, the GSC made it pellucid that it would have no choice than to apply the full force of its mandate to Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. (ACFI) since the application dated the 5th August 2020, has not been approved.”

The government statement said that “thousands of Guyanese citizens have enrolled in the Ponzi scheme where ACFI claims that it uses a foreign exchange platform to trade and it seems that all aspects of the scheme operate online via training webinars, WhatsApp and emails. The methods of payment used to invest and trade are credit cards or by wire transfer.

“Further, investigations have revealed that local banks have terminated the accounts of Ms. Ateeka Ishmael, and Mr. Yuri Garcia Dominguez, and refused their request to open a corporate account as a result of their due diligence and the public notice by GSC in the print media.”

ACFI has not yet responded to the statement.