(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is again warning people of pyramid schemes saying they could be fronts for money laundering and financing of criminal activities such as drugs, human trafficking and illegal firearm trade.
Speaking at the weekly police media briefing yesterday, Griffith, in explaining how the scheme works, condemned “greedy” supporters adding that such actions will cause financial grief for other people who have been cheated out of their money.
“Start with six people they all have to find $60,000 each. Fair enough. Six people would get $60,000 by finding 36 other people. For those people to benefit they would have to get $360,000. For them to do that they would have to find 260 people. Level four is the important level. For 1,296 people to benefit that means you would have to find $12,000,960 for each of them to get five times the amount. This is where we are right now in this country. These people now have to find 7,776 people for them to get five times the amount. When this happens that is when it will collapse,” Griffith said.
“So the people who are benefitting here are those who are speaking the most. But for you to get $10,000 it means six other poor people’s families will lose ten grand. When these 7,700 people cannot get 46,000 people they are going to lose their money and it will crash. The pyramid scheme will collapse eventually and when it collapses these people (at the top) would benefit from these people (at the bottom) if the 7,700 people get their $10,000, 46,000 people would have lost their $10,000,” he added.
Griffith said that people who continue to praise the pyramid scheme do so because of their ignorance in maths, accounting and business.
“A business does not work by me just putting in $10,000 and getting back $60,000. That shows greed, stupidity.”
Griffith, in referring to the recent investigations into the Drugs Sou-Sou, explained further that there is a difference between a sou-sou and a pyramid scheme.
“This is not a sou-sou. Putting in $10,000 to get $50,000, without putting in $50,000, is not a sou-sou. The public is being misled by devious people. This is not a sou-sou, it is a pyramid scheme…and it will collapse.”
Speaking on the current Drugs Sou-Sou matter, Acting DCP McDonald Jacob said the investigation continues, with the ‘main subject’ Kerron Clarke being sent on administrative leave by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF).
He said the court is currently addressing three matters under the Proceeds of Crime Act: the seizure of $655,000 which occurred on August 25; a seizure of $707,500 which took place on September 2, and the seizure of $6.4 million on October 27.
He said on September 22, a TTDF officer who was found with a firearm at the address was also detained.
Two investigators from the Royal Barbados Police Force and the United Kingdom are assisting with the investigation, with the UK officers involved via virtual connections.
Griffith again reiterated that it is the right of the TTPS to investigate DSS as “such schemes have been used in other places as a front for money laundering, for drugs.
“Must we always take it that every time we find a quantity of money it is for poor people? Is poor people going to be the excuse as a cover for something that could be wrong? It cannot be. They have set up schemes like this to wash their money and use that for the people who has a concern. I challenge you to prove to me that every single cent of that $22 million has been legit.”
“If something like this can be illegal it allows criminal elements to build such a franchise to buy drugs weapons and use the extra funds to buy off police officers and officers of the judicial system. That is what the prime minister is speaking about when he says something like this could cripple the country.”
“I am not going to try to justify or clarify or give any relevance to the organisers of DSS. We have our job to do, DSS has theirs. No one external with this investigation is going to influence, compromise or pressure me with regard to how this is happening,” Griffith said.