Police say at least 10,000 Zimbabweans lost a total of US$30 million after “investing” large sums of money in pyramid schemes, which collapsed in the past 12 months and some of the scammers are on the run.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, some families sold their houses, vehicles and other valuable properly to invest in pyramid schemes run by scammers, mostly through social media platforms, especially WhatsApp groups.
The newspaper quoted police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, as saying they arrested some of the scammers.
Nyathi told the newspaper that “at least 10,000 complainants lost over US$30 million between them. We have handled 892 such cases involving thousands of complainants. The scammers quickly disappear after swindling unsuspecting investors.
“Millions of dollars were lost, some lost houses while others committed suicide upon discovering they would have been duped. We have handled suicide cases related to ponzi schemes.”
He further told the newspaper that Beven Capital was among the top most ponzi schemes that defrauded Zimbabweans of US$17,823,000, adding that the scammers are on the run.
Nyathi said some of the alleged scammers were Bitcom Interchange Zimbabwe Private Limited, Delight Credit, Elamante Global, Manifest Global Marketing, Crypto Shares, Mudzimai Akarongeka, KDW Investments, Crystal Shares, May Investments and Beyond Credit, which conned Zimbabweans of millions of dollars.
According to the New York Attorney General’s Office, apyramid scheme, also known as a chain distributor scheme, is a fraudulent system of making money based on recruiting an ever-increasing number of "investors."
The AG’s Office states that the “initial promoters recruit investors, who in turn recruit more investors, and so on. The scheme is called a ‘pyramid’ because at each level, the number of investors increases. The small group of initial promoters at the top require a large base of later investors to support the scheme by providing profits to the earlier investors … Pyramid schemes may or may not involve the sale of products or distributorships. The trend is to involve sales of products or distributorships in an attempt to show legitimacy. This is done solely to sidestep the regulatory agencies …The bottom line, however, is that in all pyramid schemes, the selling of a product itself is much less important than the recruiting of new investors.”
Police have warned Zimbabweans to desist from these dubious investments.
Nyathi said, “Ponzi schemes start with lucrative interest rates but at the end the investors will lose. People must not be that gullible and they should shun such illegal schemes.”