Guyanese Chutney singer among dozens scammed in Florida Ponzi scheme
Prominent Guyanese Chutney singer Terry Gajraj is among several persons who have been scammed of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme operating out of Florida by US-based Guyanese.
Guyana Times understands that Gajraj, popularly known as “Guyana Baboo”, invested over $4 million.
Gajraj, via Facebook, said that he was looking forward to use his profits to offset his daughter’s wedding.
Over 30 persons/businesses have been affected by the Ponzi scheme and are entitled to restitution.
This publication had previously reported that a US-based Guyanese was among 10 persons charged in relation to the multi-level off-exchange foreign currency (forex) Ponzi scheme.
According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the complaint charges Florida resident Avinash Singh with fraudulently soliciting and misappropriating funds through a master commodity pool Highrise Advantage, LLC.
Florida residents Daniel Cologero and Randy Rosseau, as well as New Jersey resident Hemraj Singh, were also charged with fraudulently soliciting funds from clients for Highrise through the commodity pools they operated, Green Knight Investments, LLC; Bull Run Advantage, LLC, and King Royalty, LLC.
Avinash and Hemraj Singh, who are Guyanese living in the United States, are known in the Chutney music industry. The complaint also charges Florida resident Surujpaul Sahadeo and his company SR&B Enterprises with unlawfully soliciting, accepting, and feeding client funds to Highrise.
On September 16, 2020, US District Court Judge Carlos E Mondoza signed a statutory restraining order freezing the assets of Singh, Highrise, Green Knight, Bull Run, King Royalty, and SR&B. The order also prohibits the destruction or concealment of the defendants’ books and records.
In giving a background to the issue, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said the complaint alleged that, beginning in or around February 2013 and continuing to the present, the defendants accepted at least US$4.75 million from over 150 victims.
In soliciting potential victims to participate in Highrise, Avinash Singh falsely claimed to be a successful commodities trader with a track record of positive gains and no losses. Cologero, Hemraj Singh, and Rosseau also allegedly misrepresented the profits Highrise had generated — as well as the potential risk of loss in Highrise — when soliciting funds for their scheme.
Here in Guyana, some 17,000 persons have been swindled of over G$200 million in an alleged Ponzi scheme operated by the principals of Accelerated Capital Firm Inc (ACFI) – Cuban national Yuri Garcia-Dominguez and his wife, Ateeka Ishmael.
Together, the couple is facing 70-plus charges for obtaining money under false pretence. They have also been charged for running a pyramid scheme and money laundering. They are out on over $30 million bail with instructions to report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters.
In judicial review proceedings filed at the Demerara High Court, they have asked that the court orders the discontinuation of all charges and investigations against them. On October 12, 2020, the couple had commenced repaying investors. However, that process has since been halted following a raid on their home by ranks of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
So far, only 27 investors have been repaid.
The couple’s lawyer, Dexter Todd, during a recent press conference said, “The effect of the [search] is that the company is now not in a position to continue any forms of repayments to their clients. So those persons who have invested, they will now have to hold on until this matter is cleared up, whether it be through the civil court or further interventions with the Police department.”
“And when those items are returned, then they [his clients] will be in a position to continue the payments to the thousands of investors who are requiring their monies. When I say the materials are gone, I mean the phones, the laptops… the codes to withdraw the bitcoins and to transfer the bitcoins into dollars.”
The lawyer has assured all investors that his clients have all intentions of reimbursing investors, since they understand that some of them were desperately in need due to COVID-19. Todd said that Police have insisted on harassing his clients. The lawyer has mulled the filing of civil rights proceedings against the State.