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Scam Warning: Police Alert As Second Scheme Fails

Assistant Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

POLICE are urging members of the public to report instances of suspected fraud after several alleged “asue” companies have been accused of scamming persons out of thousands of dollars.

In an interview with The Tribune, Assistant Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander said as far as he knows, the Central Detective Unit (CDU) has not received any official complaints regarding theft and fraud despite seeing several accusations on social media.

His comments came as nearly a dozen persons contacted The Tribune on Thursday over concerns about a company called Golden Chess Asue Holders.

The calls came one day after this newspaper reported a warning from the Securities Commission advising the public that local “asue” business Pineapple Express Asue Holders should be viewed as “unsafe and very high risk.” The commission also advised members of the public to “exercise extreme caution when considering to engage with this entity or persons soliciting membership.”

The commission said the methods used by Pineapple Express is structured like a “pyramid or Ponzi scheme” where promoters claim they can turn a small investment into large profits within a short period of time. The statement urged anyone with concerns about the company to contact police.

Golden Chess, similar to Pineapple Express, promised persons a “big payout for a small investment.”

In order to join, persons were required to pay a one-time fee of $85 and receive $800 or pay $170 and receive $1,500. Persons were also required to pay a $20 membership fee. After signing up, a member was supposed to receive a payout in about “14 business days.”

However, The Tribune understands after collecting money from persons interested in the scheme, Golden Chess allegedly shut down without paying anyone the money promised or without issuing refunds.

On the company’s Facebook page, representatives from Golden Chess claimed that two persons stole the money and as a consequence they were unable to continue business. The post claimed that the alleged theft was reported to CDU and the persons responsible were being sought by police in connection with stealing by reason of employment.

However, ACP Fernander said CDU never received a report from Golden Chess in reference to theft and police are not currently searching for anyone in reference to the matter.

In an interview with The Tribune, a former employee of Golden Chess, who asked not to be named, alleged she was scammed by the company twice, once when she invested her money into the company and then when she agreed to work for them and allegedly never got paid.

“I went to carry my money to a house on Carmichael Road with some members of my family and there was a lady there who said they needed drivers. At the time, I was pregnant and said I could work for them for a few weeks to get some extra money,” the former employee said.

“On my first day, I worked from 7am to almost midnight collecting money for the company and having people fill out the forms - that day I collected nearly $5,000. When I got home, the persons came to the house and got the money from me. I never had it overnight.

“The next day on Monday, I went back on the road and collected some more money but that was the day everything fell apart and so I was able to return the money I collected from persons that day but the persons who gave the money to me on Sunday, it was already gone. I just want persons to know that it wasn’t me that (took the cash), I got ripped off too,” she claimed.

“I was just an employee. That’s it. I really thought this was a real job and straight forward and legit. They asked me for my passport and my NIB card and everything. I never got paid. I went to CDU to report what happened and they told us that it was a civil matter and they did not even take my statement,” the former employee said. 

Another woman, who claims she was also scammed but wanted to remain anonymous, shared a similar story.

“So about two Saturdays ago I went to a house on Carmichael Road and paid my money and signed up. They told me to come back the following Monday to get a membership card and in 14 days I would receive my payment of $1,500,” she said.

“So on Monday, when I was going to get the card I saw online they posted a thing about these persons running away with the money and so they said they can’t pay out any funds. Turns out these people never went to the police and reported any stolen money, it’s like they just took our money and shut down. One girl started giving people a portion of their money back out of her pocket but most people got nothing. This cannot be right. I didn’t know it was an (alleged) scam, I felt confident in the fact that it was a new company and I trusted they would not steal people’s hard-earned money because people are getting killed in Nassau for less.”

ACP Fernander is urging members of the public who feel they were scammed to speak with the police.

“Currently we don’t have any complaints so there is nothing we can do if people do not come forward,” ACP Fernander said.

“If these people come to us we will investigate and see if there is anything there we can do with respect to the law. If they have a complaint, come let’s sit down and talk and we will determine whether it is a civil matter or not. I would rather people come to us than to take matters into their own hands.”

Comments

tell_it_like_it_is 3 years, 2 months ago

Anything that seems too good to be true...

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avidreader 3 years, 2 months ago

I hate to hear about people losing their funds and/or being taken advantage of BUT it is so true that many people are looking for a short cut to "wealth" and that the old saying that a fool and his money are soon parted is as true now as it ever was.

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BaronInvest 3 years, 2 months ago

This scam only works in the Bahamas. Bad education and greed - perfect place to run a scam like this.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

That's not true, CNBC's American Greed had a show about persons in the US and elsewhere being scammed out of millions from a Jamaican lottery scam. The Nigerians have their racket going. The Soviet Block people use technology to rip people off. There are greedy dishonest people all over the world praying on desperate people

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

What I would say is, in such a small community, how do these shysters operate with such impunity....has the securities commission checked them people "trading gold" yet?

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ConchFretter 3 years, 2 months ago

The name is "Golden Chess" but the logo is a "Golden Chest". https://www.facebook.com/Golden-Chess...">https://www.facebook.com/Golden-Chess... You should know something fishy when they can't even get the name right!

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TalRussell 3 years, 2 months ago

Comrades! You're not expecting to looks at somebody you just handed over ya Ausue money to and think "THIEF?"

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Alex_Charles 3 years, 2 months ago

Show how many morons we have in this town we call Nassau. People fell for these ponzi schemes and defended them like absolute jackasses.

There is not get rich quick scheme (unless you are running the scam).

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OMG 3 years, 2 months ago

These scams take place everywhere. Sounds like either an outright quick cash scam or the makings of a Pyramid scheme where initial investors get paid out by the next set of investors.. Mind you whist not coming under the heading of scams I have to question why a local beer Kalik Platinum had just gone up by $4 a case from $50 a case to $54 a case a rise of just over 12%. Funny how items rise by such large amounts. As for buying Bahamian, WHY when even local produced items often cost more expensive than imported items ?

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TalRussell 3 years, 2 months ago

Comrades! Legitimate Asue Draws have been the economic engine for the poor and near poor for many years. Id bet that 3 out every 5 adult Bahamalanders have been members of an Ause Draw at sometime in their lives?
Doesn't Royal Bank Canada (RBC) offer a Asue Savings Account (ASA)?
I seem recall you started off Initial deposit of $100.00 required to open your account with No monthly service charge with free statements for easy record keeping. While the ASA requires a minimum term of 12 months - you are also allowed Early withdrawals which will incur a small penalty fee.
We need our local Banks to cater to teaching the poor and near poor about savings and maybe reduce the open amount of a ASA to $50 initial deposit and $10 Per week deposits.

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OldFort2012 3 years, 2 months ago

Funny how they don't warn you about the scam the Government of the Bahamas is running? You know the one: you pay VAT and they give you a service.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

it’s like they just took our money and shut down"

There's no "like" in it

"I trusted they would not steal people’s hard-earned money because people are getting killed in Nassau for less."

Oh boy...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 2 months ago

These illegal unlicensed scamming businesses should all be shutdown by the police and their assets if any confiscated together with the assets of their known owners who should be charged with, and prosecuted, for promoting fraudulent schemes of one kind or another.

And because the regulators have once again failed these public school educated dumbed down gullible people, like the regulators did with CLICO and BOB, our new government may be inclined to step in and use our hard earned tax dollars to mitigate the losses that these people would and should otherwise incur. Can't wait to see if our new FNM government will try to buy the support of these people by throwing our hard earned tax dollars their way just like the corrupt Christie-led PLP government always did in an effort to 'buy' supporters of the voting kind. It certainly didn't pay-off for Christie and the PLP (they lost the last general election) and the same will be true for Minnis and the FNM down the road if they are so stupid as to use our tax dollars to bail-out these people. Already Minnis and the FNM seem to have betrayed their supporters by their apparent decision to adopt lock stock and barrel the failed Bahamas Resolve bail-out plan that Christie created for BOB; a failed plan which continues to use our tax dollars to keep both of BOB and Bahamas Resolve afloat notwithstanding their de facto insolvency with absolutely no possibility whatsoever of any recovery! And to think we, the people, accepted at face value Minnis's campaign promise repeated over and over again that he would put an end to Christie's foolish policy of using ongoing taxpayer support to subsidize future operating losses of BOB and Bahamas Resolve on an indefinite basis. Most of us are now left to truly wonder whether Minnis can be trusted. He and his new cabinet have also gone totally mumm on arranging for the repeal of all of the web shop legislation enacted by the corrupt Christie-led PLP government that is 'allowing' the racketeering numbers' bosses, like Sebas Bastian and Craig Flowers, to wreak havoc on our economy. Just how much money did Minnis and the FNM party take from the corrupt numbers' bosses to fund their last general election campaign, and what was the quid pro quo???!!!!!!

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proudloudandfnm 3 years, 2 months ago

If you're dumb enough to think you can pay 85 bucks and get 800 back, you deserve to lose ya money. Dummies. Pure dummies. Good for them. They need to learn their lesson...

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TorontoGal 3 years, 2 months ago

But they don't learn! I went to a Thursday night meeting in February for some sort of gold scheme out of Switzerland. I could not believe the gullibility of the people in the audience. They swallowed the story hook, line and sinker!! "This one is different" they said. "Our own people wouldn't scam us" they said. " So and so from town made so much money" they said. "This one is different" they said.

So how are you doing now folks. They are always asking you to put $200 or $300 more in to buy something and you'd get another $5000 - $6000 back. Such nonsense.

People will never learn. Right there in the meeting I googled this organization and up came SCAM in the biggest, boldest lettering and no one believes me!

Don't expect the government to help you through this or God for that matter. Prayers won't help. What will help is using your brain. If it sounds to good to be true then it's a scam. Report to the he police and run away from the scams!

I just left the meeting shaking my head and muttering to myself "stupid", "stupid", "stupid"!

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

The gold thing is ridiculous, they promise you a 10% return, a guaranteed return for trading a commodity. how is that even possible? Someone who's a part of the scheme told me it's legit because after a certain period they give you a small bar of gold...uuuuuuhhhh...if you "give" me 500 dollars in fees I wouldn't mind using 150 of that to get you a small piece of gold either. And if I have 100 people giving me those fees I'd buy 100 bars of gold, I've just made 35,000 off you guys in 3months. And you pay me to come to meetings, you can't make this up....well I guess someone did

They build the system on people "trusting" people not to cheat them, because "you know me". As a friend explained to me, you believe "you can trust me" but can you trust me to look after your interest more than I'm looking after the interest of my other friend who trusts me too? and that's what's happening here, competing interests and levels of trust.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

These churches preaching this prosperity gospel are the main culprits, telling people Gods going to bless them if they say one word. Even God puts criteria on blessings. Stop being deceived by these false prophets in long robes. The media needs to focus a broad spotlight on the scams run in these churches every week with their collection plates. God een pleased. Don't mind Jane who they buy a house or car for, that's the hook, they'll have you for years believing " you could be next", all while they take hundreds from you month after month, over and above 10%. No different to the webshops.

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TalRussell 3 years, 2 months ago

Comrades! The "Prosperity Gospel" flowing from Sunday morning pulpits is a whole new topic worthy much deeper discussion.
Don't be misinterpreting Jesus’ words in John 12:8: “You will 'always' have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” ....... Jesus was directing his words at Judas - who would soon go on to betray Him - because he was too money hungry for himself.
But Jesus wasn’t saying we should lay the blame on those seeking a way out poverty through schemes - even if they sounded too good be true. The unfortunate victims of such schemes - did not do this to themselves, they had lots inspiration from those at the top 'food chain' that created them.
Comrades, just because people take advantage of the poor and near poor - it shouldn't mean its the way the operators should be allowed to operate so publicly openly by our government officials.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 2 months ago

Our new FNM government needs to put pressure on the police to shut down these illegal scams and at the same time fully repeal all of the gaming web shop legislation that was enacted by the corrupt Christie-led PLP government which has been fueling all of these types of fraudulent pyramid schemes. The corrupt racketeering numbers' bosses must be put out of business so as not to continue incentivizing these other crooked schemes that are popping up everywhere. A National Lottery should be established to satisfy the gambling desires of our society. Profits from the National Lottery could then be exclusively used to help fund our public education system. This is the road that Minnis, KP and Jeffrey Lloyd should all be on, and the sooner the better.

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Groidal 3 years, 2 months ago

I wonder why you all are so quick to jump all over the struggling Bahamian entreprenoors that are creating and operating these "asue" buiensses? All businesses have "growing pains" and its just plain wrong to blame the buisness operator for failure when hey let's face it, the customres do have a choice and can take there business elsewhere

In closing let me say that dont be so quick to judge and maybe we should all let these businesses operate for a bit to see if they're really ok

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ohdrap4 3 years, 2 months ago

these schemes are known to be fraudulent all over the world.

i could care less whether the 'entreprenoors' are struggling.

so are the fools who gave them their money out of desperation.

the commentators on this sections do not issue business licenses they write here for entertainment.

the police should crack down on them.

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observer2 3 years, 2 months ago

The police are as likely to crack down on the ponzi scheme as they did the numbers houses before they became a legal rip off scheme for the masses.

My understanding is that the ponzi scheme has a business license. Under our "rule of law" there doesn't seem like there is anything wrong with promising someone to triple their investment in one week. No one is protecting the uninitiated. In the Bahamas its "all for me baby" and God help us all.

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Greentea 3 years, 2 months ago

Are the runners of these ponzi schemes arrested and charged with fraud? Bernie Madoff is in prison until Jesus comes for doing the same thing on a grander scale. Why is this such a lawless country? No repercussions for wrong doing? Sure the people who fell for it were fools but those who organized it are criminals and should be jailed.

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