(CMR) It has been revealed that popular Guyanese Chutney singer Terry Gajraj (Guyana Baboo) was swindled out of millions of Guyanese dollars in a forex Ponzi scheme operating out of Florida. Among those arrested is ring leader Avinash Singh.
Action News Guyana reported that Gajraj invested over G$4 million (Guyanese dollars) and claimed he wanted to use the anticipated profits to help with his daughter's wedding. Instead, he along with over 150 others ending up losing a substantial amount of money. At least 30 of the victims were in Guyana.
The United States' Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged at least 10 people who they claim were involved in a US$4.75 million fraudulent forex scheme on September 10.
Court documents filed in September named 5 companies and their operators for misusing and soliciting funds. The investment scheme was started in 2013 by the 5 companies continue to operate and accepts funds the CFTC alleges. Arrested are:
- Avinash Singh, Guyanese residing in Florida – Highrise Advantage
- Randy Rosseau, Florida resident – Bull Run Advantage
- Daniel Cologero, Florida resident – Green Knight Investments
- Hemraj Singh, New Jersey resident/Guyanese residing in US – King Royalty
- Surujpaul Sahdeo, Florida resident – SR&B Investment Enterprises
Avinash Singh of Highrise Advantage is accepted to be the ring leader of the “master commodity poll” and the other four companies were feeder pools that funneled most of their deposits to Highrise.
Avinash and Hemraj Singh are well known in the Guyanese Chutney industry.
Singh claimed to be an experienced forex and commodities trader and approached investors with false track records of positive gains with no losses. The CFTC claims that they only invested a small portion of the money collected and misappropriated more than $3 million for personal expenses. They are also accused of issues and showing false monthly statements to investors.
On September 16, 2020, US District Court Judge Carlos E Mondoza signed a statutory restraining order freezing the assets of Singh, Highrise, Green Knight, Bull Run, King Royalty, and SR&B. The order also prohibits the destruction or concealment of the defendants’ books and records.
CFTC has charged the funds with no registered with it as a commodity pool operators (CPOs) and that the operations, the funds and its operators alleged violated the Commodity Exchange Act and other CTFC regulations. The regulator has sought asset freezing, operating injunctions and civil monetary penalties, remedial ancillary reliefs – including trading and registration bans, disgorgement, rescission and pre and post-judgment interest.
This is not the only high profile case involving Guyana at this time.
It was reported that over 17,000 persons have been swindled of over G$200 million in an alleged Ponzi scheme operated by the principals of Accelerated Capital Firm Inc (ACFI) – Cuban national Yuri Garcia-Dominguez and his wife, Ateeka Ishmael. They are facing 70-plus charges for obtaining money under false pretense, running a pyramid and money laundering.