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Colombia: Government, banking and pyramid schemes

faithful supporter of DMGColombians are buzzing in outrage after the collapse last week of several investment offices which were operating as Ponzi schemes and pyramids, where people would deposit their savings and receive up to 300% in return. The last company standing was DMG, which has a massive following and is now being investigated and its owners arrested for alleged connections with drug trafficking cartels, money laundry and unlawful acquisition of funds. Surprising though, is that their followers have been unfailing in their support, defending DMG and its strategies on forums, comments and websites.

The topic of pyramids is so hot right now in the country that popular music singers have already released songs about it, as La Guayabita reports:

“Pongan cuidado señores
lo que les vengo a contar
por eso de las pirámides
nadie quiere trabajar
miren la fila tan larga
que hay que hacer pa’ consignar
yo con esos intereses
hasta me lo hago …
mamá me lo dijo un día
no meta la plata allá
porque esta gente es muy viva
y lo van es a robar”.

Listen carefully misters
what I come here to tell
due to those pyramids
no one wants to work
look at that long line
you have to do to deposit
with those interests
even I would go in…
mom told me one day
don't take your money there
because this people are very sharp
and what they will do is steal”.

We had previously covered these pyramids and DMG, you can read more about this story in Colombia: people falling prey to pyramid schemes. Jaime Plata writes in the Atalap group blog about the pyramid schemes and DMG, pointing out how these pyramids have affected rural communities, for example explaining the inflation bubble where goods have gotten more expensive since people have more money to spend, but also to the fact that liquid assets have practically disappeared in some of these communities, since all the cash is invested in these companies:

Sabían que en algunos pueblos del Putumayo y Nariño los campesinos han dejado de sembrar papa, yuca, y hasta Coca, porque las pirámides les dan un mejor salario y no hay necesidad de matarse trabajando en un trabajo honrado!! También hay otros municipios que ya no tienen dinero circulante para usar, porque todo el dinero esta metido en estas pirámides, están teniendo que regresar al trueque porque no hay liquidez!!

Did you know that in some towns in Putumayo and Nariño the farmers have stopped planting potatoes, yucca and even coca because the pyramids give them a better salary and there is no need to kill themselves working in an honest trade! There are also other municipalities which no longer have circulating currency to use, because all the money has gone into these pyramids, so they are having to return to bartering and exchanging goods because there is no liquidity!

In the comments, pastusos brings a completely different perspective to the problem, supporting DMG. The event mentioned regarding police stealing money can be seen on this video.

te cuento que gracias al dmg en el putumayo se dejo de sembrar coca y no por el glifosato ni por las campañas de publicidad mal hechas, porque empresas como esta aclaro NO SON PIRAMIDES LOGRO QUE este hermoso municipio tuviera otra oportunidad, oportunidad que el gobierno no les brindo ni les brindara jamaz[sic], jovenes profesionales sin empleo ni oportunidad alguna lograron proyectarse y salir adelant[sic], a su ignorancia les aclaro que carlos suarez nunca se volo y nunca incumplio, al contrario medios como rcn y caracol crearon panico en la gente permitiendo que las autoridades se tomaran las oficinas y como quedo registrado en pasto se robaran el dinero de los aportantes, siendo los principales autores del complot de sarmiento y grupo aval que manejan nuestro pais a su antojo y a nuestro presidente que le dio la espalda al pueblo

let me tell you that thanks to dmg in the putumayo people have stopped planting coca plants and not due to glifosphate or badly done campaigns, but because companies like this which I clarify ARE NOT PYRAMIDS MANAGED FOR this beautiful municipality to have another opportunity, an opportunity which the government didn't provide and would never provide, young professionals without a job or any opportunities managed to improve themselves and move forward, and to your ignorance I clarify that carlos suarez never ran away and never failed his word, the opposite is true media like rcn and caracol created panic among the people allowing for the authorities to seize the offices and it was registered how in pasto the money from the investors was stolen, being the principal authors of the sarmiento and aval group conspiracy who manage this country to their whims and to our president who turned his back on the people.

An insider view of the DMG system is shown in A Midas in the Tropics [es], where Julio Caycedo and Nathan Jaccard, explore the process of becoming part of DMG, and include examples of successful clients who managed to buy products such as cars or computers, and later paid them off out of the return, in such a way that they were practically for free. The comments are largely made by supporters of DMG, who believe that if DMG collapses, it will be the government's fault, and not the company's. They consider David Guzmán Murcia the messiah, who has taken them out of poverty. One of the strongest arguments on behalf of DMG has to do with the mistrust of banks in Colombia, and how someone, after saving a certain amount of money in a bank, at the end of the year ends up with less, after the banks debit for account management, for calls requesting information and other hidden charges, while in DMG they invest and 6 months later they receive the same amount of money they invested.

Marialucy comments what seems to be echoed in the rest of the supporters:

Yo he invertido en sitios aparentemente seguros como Corfipacífico, Fondos de Pensiones, Bolsa de Bogotá, Cáceres y Ferro y en todos he perdido dinero.

Que no me vengan a decir ahora que DMG es inseguro. Y si es así, prefiero perder la plata con ellos y no con instituciones donde uno pierde y el banquero siempre está barrigón y con las arcas llenas. Por lo menos David Murcia ayudó a mucha gente y si no alcanza para mí, bueno, qué se va a hacer!

Lo que sí es cierto es que el gobierno se mete en problemas si lo hace quebrar. Además los periodistas tienen mucho que ver con ésto pues se ensañan dándoselas de virtuosos y éticos.

Ojalá nos vaya bien.

I have invested in apparently safe places like Corfipacífico, Pension Funds, Bogotá Stock Market, Cáceres and Ferro and in all of them I´ve lost money.

So don't come here to tell me that DMG is insecure. And if that is the case, I'd rather lose my money with them and not in institutions where one loses and the banker always has a fat belly and full chests of money. At least David Murcia helped a lot of people and if it isn't enough to go around for me, well, what can one do?

What is true is that the government will get into a lot of troubles if they make DMG go broke. Besides, journalists have a lot to do with it since they attack from their high-horse of ethics and virtue.

I hope we do well.

Recently during the collapse of the other pyramids, one company left a parting message on the front door of their office, which Reticente reproduces on his blog, where the company berates the gullible investors for believing there was an easy, quick and effortless way to make money. It ends with:

Y recuerden, las únicas pirámides que existen y no se van, son las de Egipto. Les deseamos una triste navidad y vergonzoso año nuevo pelado”.

And remember, the only pyramids that exist and don't leave are those in Egypt. We wish you a sad christmas and a shameful and bare new year.

There is even a facebook group where they are discussing the possibilities that David Murcia Guzmán could be the next presidential candidate. Although it isn't translateable on a blog post, calls on radio shows also show that David Murcia's followers believe him close to being the next Messiah, speaking of him as a prophet unjustly picked on by the government for helping the poor.

One of the greater complaints has been the lack of action from part of the government, who didn´t take measures to stop people from investing in these schemes. If it was so illegal, why didn't the government stop it, and why were they charging the company taxes if it was in the shady side of the law? Some people have their own conspiracy theories about the relationship the government has with DMG:

Bueno pues segun mi Fuente que trabaja directamente en DMG; hace algunos años hubo un negocio para Lavar dinero del Narcotrafico, en especial de los paramilitares através de DMG y en estas marañas estaba interesadisimo don Alvarito asi que, segun la parte Administrativa de DMG mientras Alvarito este y se mantenga en el Poder DMG se mantiene protegida y funcionando. Osea que al cosa ya tiene mas sentido.

Well, according to my source of information who works directly in DMG; a few years back there was a business deal to launder trafficking money, particularly that of paramilitary groups through DMG and in these schemes little Don Álvaro [President Álvaro Uribe] was really interested, so according to the administrative area of DMG, as long as little Álvaro is involved in the DMG power, it will be protected and continue working. So it makes a lot more sense now.

DMG itself has also defended itself on the YouTube Channel: On DMG Vs. Financial Terrorism (Part 1) [es] he blames Aval group and its banking directors for the collapse of DMG due to their refusal to deal with DMG and their mudslinging tactics against the organization:

Currently, David Murcia is in the process of being extradited from Panama, where he currently lives, along with his wife, mother and other family members to answer to legal charges. DMG's supporters are blaming the government for freezing the company's assets and staunchly believe that the money they were receiving had to do with investments and trade and in the capital city of Bogotá they marched yesterday to prove their support of their hero. You can see images, read posts and view their perspective on their blog “Let us Work”. The following video records the support march which took place on November 17th to support DMG and protest against the government's actions:

As Apeláez writes in “The Putumayo Messiah”, with hard numbers to prove his point:

En particular, los holgazanes que invierten en DMG parecen no entender ( o entender muy bien) el riesgo que está detras de sus inversiones. Actuan como fanáticos religiosos detras del nuevo mesias que promete fortunas con sólo esperar y confiar. Suponen, también, que los retornos de su inversión son una muestra contundente de la mezquindad del sistema financiero colombiano y están dispuestos a inmolarse con tal de proteger al mechudo.

Según han dicho en los medios, cerca de trescientos mil colombianos son holgazanes que tienen una parte de sus ahorros en DMG. Si cada uno de estos tuviera invertido en promedio doscientos cincuenta mil pesos, hoy DMG estaría manejando en su último round cerca de treinta y ocho millones de dolares. Para poder cumplirle a sus inversores, el señor del pelo largo necesita recoger casi ciento veinte millones de dolares o de lo contrario colapsa. Si lo logra, necesitará trescientos cincuenta y cuatro millones de dolares para mantenerse a flote, y en caso de lograr conseguir esta plata con sus amigos oscuros, necesitará mil y pico millones de dolares para evitar ser crucificado.

La tiene dificil el mesias.

In particular, those bums who invested in DMG seem not to understand (or to understand all to well) the risk behind their investment. They act like religious fanatics behind the new messiah who promises fortunes for only waiting and trusting. They assume, as well, that the returns to their investment are a blatantly celar example of the miserliness of the Colombian financial system and are willing to immolate themselves as long as they can protect the long-haired one.

As the media have reported, close to three hundred thousand Colombians are bums who have part of their savings in DMG. If each one of those had invested on average two hundred fifty thousand pesos, today DMG would be handling in their last round close to thirty eight million dollars. To be able to follow through with their investors, the long haired man needs to amass close to one hundred twenty millios of dollars or it will collapse. If he manages that, he will need three hundred fifty four millions of dollars to keep his head out of the water, and in case he manages to get THIS amount with his dark friends, he will then need more than one thousand million dollars to avoid being crucified.

The Messiah will have it tough.

5 comments

  • Nice post, thanks for the links

  • as the saying goes, “if it’s sounds too good to be true, it probably is”

  • marcela

    this article is great, i just wanna tell you guys that this david murcia has just been captured by colombian police and it is a proof that DMG is directly related with drug dealing. I cant believe there are hundreds of people still defending him!!!

  • Alex

    David murcia was captured by Panamenian police and is now in Colombia. DMG scheme work probably because was a laundry service for drug money, they can keep going and people will keep returns on their investment, drug money is big and the banks and many peolple on Uribe goverment probably want all the money DMG was probably washing for their pockets. When Banks in any country got caught in laundry you think they get 150% return? They dont invest a penny and charge the drug dealers to wash the money. when they got caught a few go to jail for a few months and the money keep deep in the pockets of many rich people, and they dont close the bank? So thats all folks, peace

  • […] Beitrag erschien zuerst auf Global Voices. Die Übersetzung erfolgte durch Martin Ruopp, Teil des “Project Lingua“. Die […]

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