Thousands of Guyanese invested millions in suspected Ponzi scheme; Police to launch probe

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The following is a press statement by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall 

MEMORANDUM TO: His Excellency President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo FROM: Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall

SUBJECT: Accelerated Capital Firm Inc.

DATE: 20th August 2020

The Government of Guyana has received dozens of complaints from members of the public, in relation to the operations of a financial outfit, located on the East Coast of Demerara.
The Guyana Securities Council (GSC) has written to the President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, the Vice President Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo and the Commissioner of Police, informing them of the operations of this scheme in the country.
As a result, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, yesterday, 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.
Today, Government assembled a high-level team headed by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, the Commissioner of Police, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit and Head of the Guyana Securities Council to immediately, adopting a multi-sector approach, investigate the operations of ACFI, with a view, inter alia, of reimbursing monies to the persons who “invested” in the scheme.
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 Guyana Securities Council pursuant to Securities Industry Act 1998 and Regulations thereto, requested from ACFI detail information and documents pertaining to its principals and the operations of the organization.
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.
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.
Significantly, the GSC submitted letters that were sent since October 2019 to Mr. Winston Felix, M.P., Minister of Citizenship, Ministry of the Presidency, and Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Security informing them of a suspected illegal investment (pyramid scheme) allegedly operated by Mr. Yuri Garcia Dominguez and Ateeka Ishmael after publications were seen in the newspapers giving notice that Mr. Yuri Garcia Dominguez had applied to the Minister of Citizenship for naturalization in Guyana. The notices invited persons who knew of any reason why naturalization should not be granted to be sent to the Ministry of the Presidency. The GSC received no response to these correspondences.