PORT MORESBY – A set-up calling itself Golden Sun is operating a Ponzi scheme in Papua New Guinea.
The scheme claims to be affiliated with big name Hollywood film production companies and sells the scam for fast easy money through bogus movie reviews.
The fake outfit claims to be working closely with Bank South Pacific. However the financial regulator Bank of Papua New Guinea recently released a public notice warning of unregulated entities operating within PNG.
As Golden Sun is unregulated, there’s a definite risk to ‘investors’.
The so-called ‘movie reviews’ seem to be just a front and the payment gateway is also suspicious.
In other words, the money paid to ‘investors’ may not be coming from what's being circulated within the scheme. It sure looks like a scam, the money coming from somewhere else.
An important point that needs to be mentioned is that Pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes are often associated with the proceeds of organised crime.
Money laundering is the process of disguising of transforming the proceeds of illegal activities making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect and confiscate them.
Such activities may have a deleterious impact on the economy of a small country.
This is a way of potentially filtering the proceeds of crime into the economy by spreading it through thousands of the ‘investors’ accounts thus committing the crime of money laundering.
Once ‘laundered’, the funds are often hidden from tax authorities (in the case of PNG, the Internal Revenue Commission).
Money laundering contributes to inflation by injecting large amounts of illegal money into the economy and maybe even destabilise financial institutions by introducing large amounts of illicit funds into the banking system.
To combat money laundering, governments and financial institutions need to work together to implement forceful measures and ensure financial systems are transparent and accountable.
But the big guys, like governments, should be capable of looking after themselves.
It’s the little guys, who think they’re on to a good ‘investment’ who get stung badly.
So open your eyes people. If something appears too easy to make money, it's a scam.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably ain’t true.
* Justin Taim is a pen name