Port Elizabeth pyramid scheme fraudster jailed as MMM is probed

Port Elizabeth pyramid scheme fraudster jailed as MMM is probed

A 55-year-old Eastern Cape man convicted of investment fraud has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars by the Port Elizabeth Specialized Commercial Crimes Court.

Captain Anelisa Feni of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks) said the fraudster Jacobus Viljoen was a co-owner of a pyramid scheme F and J Consultants. Between 2006 and 2007 the pyramid scheme defrauded investors of R6 million.

Feni said Viljoen was found guilty of investment fraud which amounted to R5.5 million.

On Wednesday Viljoen was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the sentence was suspended for five years on condition that he pays R5.5 million to the curator of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Port Elizabeth.

Feni said Viljoen was also ordered to pay R533 014.91 in curator fees on or before 30 September this year.

Like any other other pyramid schemes, F and J Consultants enticed participants with the assurance that their money would grow by between 20 percent and 30 percent every month.

DefenceX, a similar scheme which was popular in Cape Town between 2012 and 2013, also had some of its participants enjoying thousands of rand before it collapsed.

The latest alleged pyramid scheme to hit the country is MMM, which also promises its participants 30 percent interest every month.

MMM scheme, which was linked to Russian convicted fraudster Sergey Mavrodi, was referred to the National Consumer Commission. It is still under investigation. –  ANA