By BMG Staff: Belize has once again been named among jurisdictions where millions of dollars, obtained through a fraudulent pyramid scheme, was laundered.
Police in Toronto, Canada have arrested two men in connection with a US$ 93 million pyramid scheme.
Detective Sergeant Ian Nichol, of Canada’s Financial Crimes Unit’s mass marketing section, said the scheme was operated under the name Banners Broker between October 2010 and March 2013.
Banner Brokers promised users the chance to double their money by investing in an advertising company that was linked to a “globally renowned network.”
Users were allegedly misled into believing that these investments would go towards a program that offered payments for directing web traffic using referral links.
“It was smoke and mirrors, there was nothing real being posted up there,” said Nichol. “We’re not talking about people who tried and failed. We’re alleging that this was a pyramid scheme from the get-go.”
He called the program an “obvious” scheme that implicated thousands of victims around the globe.
By the end of 2012, the scheme brought in over US$ 93 million, about $45 million of which was paid out to participants. The rest of the money was put in offshore accounts located in Belize, St. Lucia and Cyprus among others.
Christopher George Smith, 45, of Toronto, and Rajiv Dixit, 45, of Vancouver, were both taken into police custody.
Their charges under Canada’s Criminal Code include defrauding the public of over $5,000, possessions of proceeds of a crime, and laundering proceeds of a crime.
They are also being charged under that country’s Competition Act with operating a pyramid scheme and making false or misleading representations.
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