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Gov’t moves to outlaw Ponzi, pyramid schemes

The government is taking steps to make Ponzi, Pyramid and similar schemes illegal in Trinidad and Tobago.

This was announced by Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, as he spoke in the Parliament on Monday morning. 

He was moving the second reading of The Finance (No 2) Bill, 2021 – An Act to make provisions of a financial nature and other related matters.

Justifying the decision, Imbert recalled that in September 2020, police were investigating an incident that suggested the operation of a well-organised money laundering scheme under the guise of a pyramid scheme.

“These schemes were operating in parallel with these quite legitimate Sou-Sou arrangements. The government has been looking at this matter for a very long time and has noted the very deleterious effects of Ponzi and Pyramid and other similar schemes on the economy and on the vulnerable in society,” he said.

With that in mind, he said clause 13 b establishes a comprehensive definition of the term “prohibited scheme” to remove loopholes or lacuna in the law that would allow persons to operate these schemes.

“For the purposes of this act, ‘prohibited scheme’ means a scheme in which a business is structured in such a way that the returns an investor or client earns, is directly tied to the number of persons he recruits to join this scheme. This is the typical infrastructure in a Ponzi scheme or a Pyramid scheme. It relies upon the recruitment of other persons in the scheme,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister…

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