Tag Archives: Defencex

Ponzi scheme alert: How to know when it really is too good to be true

27 Sep

Author: Dawie de Villiers, CEO, Sanlam Employee Benefits

Publications:  Sanlam

Date Publiched: 27 September 2013

The extended economic downturn and interest rates hovering around the 5 or 6% mark make investment returns all too elusive right now. With many South Africans, in particular retirees, struggling to make ends meet, it is fertile ground for fraudulent investment schemes – known popularly as Ponzi schemes – to flourish.

The SA Reserve Bank recently launched a national campaign to increase awareness of pyramid or Ponzi schemes. The campaign encourages people to be careful when looking at potential investment opportunities.

South Africans seem to repeatedly entrust their hard-earned savings to operations which, at best, have short-term track records and, at worst, knowingly sell promises that they are unable to deliver on. Investors buy into these promises without fully understanding how these operators achieve their alleged returns.

Over the past six years the following schemes – which have had traumatic consequences for unsuspecting investors – come to mind: Fidentia, Leaderguard, Sharemax, King Group, the Herman Pretorius saga, and Defencex. There is a golden thread running through this list; each one promised a return far superior to that of the financial market, at a very low risk. In hindsight, such promises were too good to be true. But why do we continue to move from one such scandal to the next?

Spotting a Ponzi or pyramid scheme is actually relatively easy – here is a checklist ………

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Bedrieglike beleggings vang jou só

12 Apr

Author: Hanlie Stadler

Publications:  Die Burger

Date Publiched: 12 April 2013

Dis ’n frase wat almal ken: As dit te goed klink om waar te wees, ís dit. En tog verloor duisende mense jaarliks miljarde rande in twyfelagtige en bedrieglike“beleggings”. Hoe keer jy dat jy ’n slagoffer raak?

VERSKILLENDE SOORTE BEDROG Geen swendelaar gaan jou ooit nooi om in sy Ponzi- of piramideskema of ander soort skelmspul te belê nie. Hulle gaan jou intrek met indrukwekkende syfers en woorde wat klink of dit wettige beleggingsinstrumente is.
In die geval van ’n Ponzi-én ’n piramideskema word jou geld egter nooit regtig in ’n werklike onderneming, eiendom of ander beleggingsinstrument belê nie. Die geld wat jy belê, word gebruik om die belegger voor jou se beloofde opbrengs te betaal. Net só word jou “opbrengs”betaal uit die geld wat die volgende belegger belê.

Voordat jy jou geld belê, vra die raad van ’n sogenaamde finansiële tussenganger – hy kan die titel finansiële raadgewer, gesertifiseerde finansiële beplanner (CFP) of makelaar hê. “Ervare raadgewers het al ál die skemas gesien en weet hoe hulle werk,” sê Came.

Uiteraard is daar enkele vrot appels in die bedryf vir finansiële tussengangers. Só was tussengangers by Herman Pretorius se bedrogspul betrokke. Die Fais-ombudsman het pas tussengangers wat beleggers se geld in Sharemax (’n eiendomsindikasie wat in duie gestort het) belê het, skuldig bevind aan ’n verskeidenheid oortredings.

Maar, sê Lubowski, baie min bedrieglike skemas laat hul produkte deur finansiële tussengangers verkoop óf hulle beperk hulle net tot enkele sulke tussengangers, wat dan ook gewoonlik ’n baie nou verhouding het met die“ghoeroe” van die beleggingskema.

Lubowski sê die rol van ’n finansiële beplanner strek baie verder as net die verkoop van versekerings- of beleggingsprodukte. “Hy moet jou éérs help om realisties en voldoende te beplan en dan te kyk na ’n portefeulje produkte. Enige beplanner wat net aan jou produkte wil verkoop voordat ’n behoorlike proses deurloop is, moet vir jou ’n rooi vlag wees.”

Lees Artikel in Die Burger

Warning signs of Ponzi schemes: Part 2

22 Mar

Author: Malcolm Rees

Publications: MoneyWeb

Date Published: 22 March 2013

Lessons from Defencex: avoid schemes affiliated with religion, huge returns and friends’ advice.

JOHANNESBURG – The apparent collapse of the 2%-a-day scheme, Defencex, has left a very large, mostly poor, investor base out in the cold.

The Defencex bank account, held in the name of Net Income Solutions, contained R320m at the time it was frozen.

Although it remains unclear how much in total has been collected through the scheme, the sheer size of the account suggests a very large operation which has managed to attract thousands of members .

……… Ponzi schemes are often disguised as legitimate investment operations such as with the massive Bernard Madoff scheme in America or the tragic Herman Pretorius case locally. In an effort to help potential investors identify when they might be falling victim to such schemes Moneyweb asked experts to describe some of the typical red-flags that would be suggestive of a prohibited business practice.

……… Many of the more sophisticated Ponzi schemes are not as bold as to offer returns at levels in excess of 30% per annum. Instead such scheme, as with the Herman Pretorius case, may offer investors high but not extreme levels of profit. These sophisticated operations blend genuine investment or activities with a Ponzi type structure and can stay in operation for extended periods of time, says de Villiers.


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