— no response to government’s offer to re-open bank account
ACCELERATED Capital Firm Inc (ACFI) Financial Adviser, Yuri Garcia Dominguez and Director, Ateeka Ishmael, are expected to appear at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court, today, charged with conspiracy, even as an additional 10 persons came forward, on Wednesday, to make reports against the couple and their company.
Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, confirmed that the couple will be charged, noting that so far a total of 57 persons have made
reports with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), with claims amounting to over $31.5 million in investments in the company.
Dominguez and Ishmael, who are married, have been in police custody since last Thursday, as investigations continue into the company which authorities allege has been running a “Ponzi Scheme”.
A Ponzi Scheme is a form of fraud in which investors are made to believe in the success of a non-existent enterprise, and encouraged to invest because of the payment of quick returns. However, the first investors are only being paid from money invested by successive investors.
However, the company vehemently denies the allegations and, in statements issued, affirmed that “the funds necessary to refund our clients are ready to be disbursed”.
News of the charges come even as Attorney General, Anil Nandalall, said that the company is yet to respond to the offer the government made last Tuesday, to facilitate the re-opening of a bank account for the company so that it can remit monies to its clients.
Nandalall said he is not holding on to hope that the company will ever take up the offer since investigation continues to reveal that overseas companies being named by the couple as where their money is stored, continues to lead to dead ends.
“No, they have not responded and I suspect that they cannot respond. It is clear that the gentleman only wants to get out of custody. All the promises that he has been making he has not been able to deliver them, none of them,” Nandalall said.
He added: “Of the places he has identified, as where the monies are, the monies are not there. The Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) just received a correspondence from Belize to say that the name of the company – “FK Choice – that he said he has the money in Belize it is not registered in Belize, they have no evidence of it.”
Nandalall said that investigations by the police have also revealed a similar situation for a company that the couple say they have ties to in the USA.
“The FIU has its own processes and is checking. They have access to information and the companies that he is saying they have these monies they don’t have them. There’s a company he said in Nevada, he has no connection to the company, it’s an escrow account owned by some other people in the United States, some trust company,” Nandalall related.
However, attorney for the company, Dexter Todd, said that his client does intend to utilise the AG’s offer to open a bank account, but is waiting to see how the situation develops.
“That is an offer, we will accept that offer and we are presently putting systems in place so that that can be facilitated, that is what we are doing at this point in time,” Todd said,
WANT TO BE CAREFUL
He further added that: “We just want to be careful with the investigation, because if we open up a situation where we publish that a bank account has been opened, people can come and collect, it will open it to abuse, people are going to turn up who don’t even have a contract, some of them their contract would’ve even expired.”
Todd reiterated his clients’ innocence, adding that he believes that the situation is actually a civil and not a criminal matter.
“I would say it is still a civil matter. It’s not a criminal matter. I don’t know why my clients are being held. They have made a decision to put them before the courts tomorrow, but the charges as far as I’m concerned are just holding charges to hold them in custody,” Todd said.
The police have listed Dominguez, a naturalised Cuban national, and his wife as grave flight risks given that they have no assets in the country. The pair is said to have been operating their investment company in Guyana for as far back as 2017; however, they have never been licensed to do so by the Guyana Securities Council (GSC) as is required.
According to reports, approximately 17,000 Guyanese are said to have collectively invested approximately US$20 million in the company. The company came to the limelight earlier this month, when several persons are said to have been making claims of not receiving their monies from the company.
ACFI has been attributing its failure to remit payments to clients as being due to its lack of a bank account, as several local commercial banks have closed accounts for Dominquez and Ishmael and their business over the past few months.
The company, in its latest press statement, issued on Tuesday, pleaded with the authorities to release Dominguez and Ishmael so that payments to client could resume, and for investigators to allow Dominguez to explain “how the company is structured”.
The company said that the funds are “successfully secured in three physical ‘Bitcoin’ wallets, inaccessible to outside interference and protected”, and is asking that the authorities “facilitate the opening of a bank account on behalf of ACFI in order to be able to transfer the funds from our Bitcoin Wallets into the bank which will be used to repay ALL investors in Guyana”.
Nandlall said that the government’s main concern is that Guyanese who handed over their monies to the company get back their cash; and as such the government is willing to facilitate the bank account’s re-opening.