Colombia: people falling prey to pyramid schemes

Man reaching out to swallow a fishing hook
Hook, Line, Sinker by ToastyKen
On blogs, through videos and on facebook,  Colombian Diego Alejandro is exposing the deceit and scams behind pyramid schemes that masquerade as investment options. In a country where it doesn't make sense to have a savings account because the handling fees are higher than the interest gained from the savings, these get rich quick plans where citizens can pay to participate and then invite 7 other friends to enroll before they can enjoy sky high interest (between 40 and 70%) on their savings seem like a great deal. Currently the ranks of those cheated by the system keep growing, and the government tries to establish methods to punish those who take advantage of citizens who fall prey to their scam.

DiegoAlejandro1985 posts a video of people lining up outside one of these investment options known as DRFE, trying to claim their money after the General Attorneys searched the premises and took hold of money that could've been used to pay those with savings invested in the organization, but this search was deemed illegal and the pyramid scheme is still in operation.

Diego Alejandro explains in his blog Denuncias y Más where he's been following the ups and downs of several other pyramid scheme enterprises.

Para mi tristeza y la de los FUTUROS estafados, DRFE se escurrió por una grieta de nuestra “excelente” justicia; fueron allanados por la fiscalía y tomaron posesión de bastante dinero que pudo haber servido para reparar a las víctimas una vez colapse la pirámide. Pero como siempre pasa en Colombia; el juez de garantías declaró ilegal el allanamiento. El allanamiento se realizó tras el colapso de tres pirámides en Pitalito Huila.

Sadly for me and the FUTURE scammed, DRFE escaped through a crack in our “excellent” justice; they were raided by the General Attorney and money enough to pay the victims of the collapsed pyramid was taken in possession. But as is usual in Colombia, the guarantee judge declared the raid illegal. The raid was done after the collapse of three other pyramids in Pitalito Huila [Ed.note: city in the Colombian South]

The Laneros Forum (a Colombian technology forum that has become international) there are threads dedicated to these Ponzi schemes. On the DMG thread, clients of this investment scheme defend the system  of purchasing products to later redeem their value times two, stating that it has worked for them in the past, that they've never had problems receiving their money and believing that retail turnover rate is what generates their income, while others argue back stating that money doesn't just reproduce or multiply, that the dividends are actually other people's money, money from those who are just beginning to invest.

Back in June, DMG was investigated by the police and they were forced to close temporarily. DMG has their own YouTube channel in Spanish, and president David Murcia Guzmán,  sent out a Press Release message denouncing the government for the harassment they experienced, asking for fairness, thorough investigations and judicial processes before condemning them as scammers, and requesting authorities to take into account the creation of 12000 new direct and indirect jobs related to the DMG company. You can view the videos by clicking on Part 1 or Part 2 respectively. Following, footage they took of the DMG march:

As can be seen by these previous examples, Colombians on a whole don't seem to relate DMG's tactics to pyramid schemes since they aren't required to get more people to join, and support for David Murcia Guzmán is vast. The best example can be seen on Facebook: The group against pyramid schemes and scams is composed of 35 members, while the “Friends of David Murcia Guzmán” group has more than sixty thousand members, and at least 12 other groups are related to supporting DMG.


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