Ponzi scheme principals charged by SOCU for operating pyramid scheme

Cuban national Yuri Garcia-Dominguez and his wife, Ateeka Ishmael
Cuban national Yuri Garcia Dominguez and his wife Ateeka Ishmael at Court (filed photo)

Operators of the ponzi scheme, Cuban national Yuri Garcia Dominguez and his Guyanese wife Ateeka Ishmael, were on Friday charged by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for operating a pyramid scheme in Guyana.

According to a statement from the Guyana Police Force, under which SOCU falls, the couple was charged with the offences of (a) operating a pyramid selling scheme in breach of the Consumer Affairs Act, No. 13 of 2011 and (b) carrying on a business without registering with the Guyana Securities Council in breach of the Securities Industries Act. Cap 73:04.

The matter was heard on Friday October 16, 2020 at 9:00h, before Her Worship Fabayo Azore at the Vigilance Magistrates Court, East Demerara Magisterial District. Corporal Goodridge appeared on behalf of the Prosecution and Dexter Todd, Attorney-at-Law appeared on behalf of the defendants.

They both pled not guilty to the charges and were placed on 25,000 dollars each on each charge.

The matter is adjourned to November 2, 2020 at 9:00h for statements to be filed.

SOCU said Dominguez and Ishmael, who resides at Lot 242 Tract ‘A’ Coldingen, East Coast Demerara, are suspects in a major fraudulent Pyramid scheme where they, mainly through Accelerated Capital Firm Inc., solicited millions of dollars from hundreds of ordinary Guyanese who were enticed by extraordinary returns of approximately 40%. Investors were also encouraged to enlist additional investors on a commission (10%) basis.

Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. was not registered with the Guyana Securities Council to conduct financial business ie either as an investment adviser and/or a broker.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act. Cap 10:11 prohibits businesses from operating as financial Institutions without the necessary registration for regulation and supervision by the Regulatory Authorities. FIU and Guyana Securities Council.

Already, the couple is facing over 80 charges in relation to the Ponzi Scheme. They are currently out on over $30M bail for those charges.