The Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S) has warned that the government will not tolerate “financial fraud” and foreigners who come to Samoa to “con unsuspecting victims” using “financial crimes.”
The warning from Governor, Maiava Atalina Ainu’u-Enari, follows the Bank uncovering and successful prosecution of two people accused of running a pyramid scheme in Samoa.
The defendants, whose names were suppressed by the Supreme Court during the hearing, were found guilty of charges including running a money scam and falsifying accounts, last week.
The verdict was delivered by Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu, last Thursday. He will release his reasons to the parties involved soon and he has also scheduled sentencing for 2 February 2016.
In the meantime, the Central Bank of Samoa has reiterated that the government will stand firm in protecting its citizens from the threat of financial crime.
In a statement issued by the Bank after the verdict, Governor Maiava said the Bank had been working with the Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of Police to protect all Samoans from becoming victims of such scams and schemes.
Maiava said the crimes were often “transnational” meaning they were set up by foreigners overseas, who then tried to con unsuspecting victims from other countries.
“This is a global fight,” she said. “We will be working with foreign authorities and partners to help protect Samoa in stamping out financial fraud.” Maiava said all Samoans had to play their part and be vigilant.“You must use your common sense and critical thinking,” she said.
“If someone makes you an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is! “Whether it’s an investment, the purchases of goods or services, or a large donation, always make sure you are doing your own independent research before handing over significant amounts of cash.
“Remember that family members and friends may try to involve you in a ’scam’ without realising that it is a scam themselves.”
Scam warning signs:
• You are offered a chance to join a group, scheme, program or team where you need to recruit new members to make money.
• There are big up-front costs.
• The promoter makes claims like ‘this is not a pyramid scheme’ or ‘this is totally legal’.
• There is a great sense of urgency, for example, ‘you must buy in now’.
• The promoter claims you will receive a guaranteed income.