TODAY’S POST: A DONEGAL businessman offered a chance to join a get-rich-quick scheme turned it down because he said ‘it was too good to be true’.
The businessman from the south of the county has told donegaldaily.com this afternoon that he also advised other clients that the scheme was a scam – there were no proper documents and it was not regulated by the financial authorities.
His call to us today relates to an exclusive donegaldaily.com investigation into a mult-million euro scam headed by a convicted criminal and sold on to dozens of people throughout the county and in the North by a number of well-known Donegal people.
Investors were asked to put money into a scheme which has now been exposed as a so-called Ponzi scam. Investors at the bottom rarely get their money back, although in this case one of the sales people has told one of our contacts that everyone will get their cash.
The businessman said he also advised several friends to get out of the scheme after he checked a legitimate business that did invest in buying and selling liquidated stock and companies.
“It just wasn’t right, especially the claim that money could be turned around with profit within weeks. I know business doesn’t work like that,” he told donegaldaily.com
Today donegaldaily.com learned that Garda officers investigating the scam are close to cracking the case. They have been given help by the PSNI as well as police iniojs Germany, France and Estonia. They continue to trawl through documents and computers taken in raids on a number of premises in Donegal.
The businessman told us: “I know lots of people made money at it but it had no proper material for me to believe it was legitimate. I fear many other people will lose their money.
“I have since been told that police in England, the North and several mainland European forces are involved in investigating this scheme.”
This afternoon a Revenue source revealed: “We believe a lot of this money that was invested wasn’t clean money and hadn’t even been declared before it was invested. There are a number of major investigations.”
One man trying to get his money back told us at the weekend: “I know people think we were mad investing in this scheme but it was presented very well and by people I knew very well.
“I have to believe I will get my money back because I simply can’t afford to lose it. I don’t care at this stage if I don’t make any money on it. I have been told that I will get my money in the next couple of days but I don’t know if I will or not. I can only hope I will.
“To be honest I’m just sickened by it all. I can’t even think about Christmas at the moment.”
The so-called Ponzi Scheme is a fraudulent operation that paid returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned.
The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent.
They always collapse, with some of those behind them making off with the cash.
It is similar to one employed in the USA by crook Bernard Madoff who is now serving a 150-year jail term. His son committed suicide at the weekend as pressure grew on his family to pay back some of the $18 BILLION stolen from investors.
The Donegal scheme involved the scamsters telling investors that they could get between 10% and 40% on their cash investments in just TWO MONTHS.
The elaborate ‘get rich quick’ con involved false claims that people were investing in a company approved by Lloyds of London and Deloittes which bought liquidated stock, which was then sold at huge profit. Neither company was actually involved.
One investor was told that the company had bought four luxury Bentley cars for just €10k each and re-sold them to wealthy Arabs for ten times that figure. No such transactions ever took place. The cars didn’t exist.
Another investor told us that he was told the money was used to buy cheap airline tickets in bulk which were then sold off at huge profit.
Anyone with information that can help detectives is asked to call the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation on Dublin 01 666 3766.
* YOU CAN SEND US INFORMATION ON THE SCAM IN CONFIDENCE TO INFO@DONEGALDAILY.COM. WE NEVER REVEAL OUR SOURCES.
* MORE DETAILS ON THE TAX INVESTIGATION COMING LATER