ACCELERATED Capital Firm Inc (ACFI)’s Yuri Garcia Dominguez and Ateeka Ishmael were, on Thursday, ‘hauled’ before the courts again to answer 15 more fraud-related charges.
This time around, the pair appeared before Magistrate Marissa Mittelholzer at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court where they were charged jointly but not required to plead to allegations that, between May and July, 2020, with intent to commit a felony, they conspired, with persons known and unknown, to obtain a total of over $10M from 15 victims, under false pretence.
The Cuban national and his Guyanese wife, who are represented by Attorneys-at-Law Glen Hanoman and Dexter Todd, were released on $750,000 bail each on Thursday and have had the case adjourned until October 8, 2020.
Within the past month, the couple made several appearances before several magistrates in the Georgetown and East Coast Magisterial Districts. The couple is accused of swindling monies from 86 victims in a multimillion dollar scam.
On Thursday, the couple posted a whopping $30M bail for those offences.
Many persons have come forward and lodged complaints against the couple with the police. Investigators were told that some 17,000 Guyanese collectively invested approximately US$20 million in the company but never saw any returns as was promised.
The duo was first held by the police in early August following an investigation into widespread rumours that they were 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.
It was claimed that the first investors were only being paid from money invested by successive investors but the couple has vehemently denied this. They had said also that money for refund was ready to be disbursed.
The police here have listed Dominguez, a naturalised Guyanese of Cuban origin, and his wife, who is Guyanese by birth, as grave flight risks given that they have no assets in the country.
The couple is alleged to have been operating their investment company, ACFI, here in Guyana from as far back as 2017 without the required licence from the Guyana Securities Council (GSC).
ACFI has been attributing its failure to remit refunds to clients to the absence of a bank account. Several local commercial banks have closed whatever accounts they had held with them, the company had claimed.