SOCU charges pyramid scheme marketers with money laundering
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Head of SOCU, Senior Superintendent Fazil Karimbaksh
Head of SOCU, Senior Superintendent Fazil Karimbaksh

TWO agents and marketers of the Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. pyramid scheme, ran by Yuri Garcia Dominguez and Akeeta Ishmael, were on Thursday “slapped” with the first-ever money laundering charges brought by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) since its establishment.

The charges were brought against Aubrey Norton and Martina Seepersaud, who reside at the upper flat of the property once also occupied by Dominguez and Ishmael, located at Lot 242 Tract ‘A’ Coldingen, East Coast Demerara.

Aubrey Norton

They were charged with the offences of Money Laundering, in accordance with Section 3 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act. Chapter 10:11.

They appeared before Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court where the first charge was read to them. They were not required to enter a plea and were placed on $300,000 bail each on the condition that they lodge their passports and report every Friday to SOCU. The matter was adjourned to July 8, 2021.

Later in the day the duo then appeared before Magistrate Ruschelle Liverpool at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court, where the second charge was read to them. They were not required to enter a plea and were placed on $200,000 bail each. The matter was adjourned to the July 22, 2021 for report.

Martina Seepersaud

Dominguez and Ishmael are suspects currently charged and are before the court in relation to an alleged major fraudulent pyramid scheme whereby they allegedly, mainly through Accelerated Capital Firm Inc., solicited millions of dollars from hundreds of ordinary Guyanese who were enticed by extraordinary returns of approximately 40 per cent. Investors were also encouraged to enlist additional investors on a commission basis.

SOCU reports allege that Norton and Seepersaud, agents and marketers for Dominguez and Ishmael, had accrued millions of dollars through the illegal pyramid scheme and they used the proceeds stemming from the alleged crime to purchase properties.

SOCU investigations reveal that on June 8, 2020 at Coldingen, East Coast Demerara, the couple entered into an agreement of sale and purchase for the property located at Montrose, East Coast Demerara, for some $60,000,000.

Additionally, it was also revealed that Norton and Seepersaud also transferred some $53,000,000 to vendors as part payment for the property located at La Bonne Intention, East Coast Demerara. These properties were later resold to purchasers in the United States of America (USA).

SOCU alleged that the payments were made by the duo knowing or having reasons to believe that the monies used are allegedly the proceeds of crime, that is the pyramid scheme operated by Dominguez and Ishmael, as the couple had no legitimate source of income that could have generated the funds acquired to enable them to purchase these properties.

A report from SOCU noted that these are the first-ever set of money-laundering charges instituted by SOCU since its establishment in 2014; they followed an immense investigation conducted by the unit.

When contacted by this publication for a comment, SOCU head, Senior Superintendent Fazil Karimbaksh confirmed the charges and indicated that the investigations were instituted from the inception the allegations against Accelerated Capital Inc. were reported.

In light that these are the first charges of its kind instituted by the unit within months under the command of Karimbaksh, he disclosed that several more charges of this nature and similar are forthcoming. He also stressed that under his leadership the unit will continue to function free of fear or favour, and with strict adherence to the law.

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