(CMR) Following news that at least nine people were arrested in Trinidad and Tobago in connection with a suspected pyramid scheme, new details revealed that the money seized in the incident was returned to the scheme's operator.
On Tuesday (September 22) it was revealed that police seized millions of dollars at a house. The police were then faced with an immediate public backlash with people claiming the police are trying to “fight down poor people” and demanded the police should “give the money back”.
These comments were shared by the police commissioner during a press conference in St Ann's Young in Trinidad and Tobago after he expressed concerns that people are all too willing to take the side of criminals instead of the police. Police Commissioner Gary Griffith reminded the public that these ill-gotten gains could be used for all sorts of other criminal activities including the purchasing of guns, drugs and promoting gang-related activity.
The substantial haul was found in various areas of the house including the ceiling after an early morning police raid. Among the nine people arrested a soldier was also taken into custody. The CoP explained how the scam works and that those benefiting are doing so at the peril of other poor people:
“Ignorance is indeed a common factor by some, as either based on ignorance or being a crook, how could one sleep at night knowing that you are putting in $10,000 and when given $50,000, it is 4 to 5 “other poor people” who would lose $10,000 when the Pyramid Schemes collapse, and $10,000 turning into $50,000 overnight, becomes “your money.”
He added, “No smart people! It is “other poor people” money that you are taking, but your greed and lack of common sense would prevent you from understanding that.”
Subsequent reports revealed that the money seized amounted to $21 million (USD $3.2 million). The police will be working closing with their Financial Intelligence Bureau (FIB) to ascertain the true source of the suspected gambling money.
In T&T media it was revealed that the money was returned to the operators from the police station within hours of its seizure on Wednesday morning without his knowledge or any input from the (FIB). In a release from police on Wednesday (September 23) the Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, revealed that a high-level investigation had been launched to determine who returned the money.