OFFICIALS at Drug Sou Sou (DSS) say they have assisted “thousands” of investors who wish to apply to the court to get their money refunded.
Members were e-mailed on Wednesday and told if they want a refund they could visit the home of DSS founder Kerron Clarke Kathleen Warner Drive, Phase One La Horquetta, with two copies of their ID cards and their receipts. Those who turned up were then e-mailed a link to make personal applications to the Arima Magistrates Court.
On October 29, Arima magistrate Cheron Raphael authorised the detention of $6.4 million, seized two days earlier, for an initial three-month period. In total $7.7 million has been seized by the courts under the Proceeds of Crime Act. No specific crime has been identified but police have been looking at money laundering as one offence to warrant seizing the cash. Police took $22 million in September but it was returned before police could apply officially to have it seized.
The Government intends to bring legislation to make pyramid schemes illegal with a punishment of a $10,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to three years. The proposal will come under the Consumer Protection Bill, which will replace the Consumer Protection and Safety Act.
DSS administrators are using the Proceeds of Crime Act to facilitate the return of the money to investors. According to Section 7(a) (ii) of the Proceeds of Crime Act, “At any time while cash is detained under this section, a Magistrate may direct its release if satisfied on an application made by any other person, that detention of the cash is not for that or any other reason justified.”
In the e-mail to investors, DSS administration told investors they will have to prove the money they invested was legally obtained. When they get a court date they will each have to serve the Financial Intelligence Branch, which will have to counter with reasons why the money should not be returned.
DSS supporters who said they would have preferred the scheme to crash over the money being seized have protested outside Parliament and the Prime Minister's residence hoping to get back their investments.
Since the October raid, DSS has ceased operations. Its founder, a lance corporal with the Defence Force, was sent on 83 days' leave.