Pyramid scheme frustrates 'investors'

Another pyramid scheme that has allegedly left its investors high and dry and without money has emerged and operates out of Alamagoto.

The entity known as the Talimanao Family Club has been accepting payments from the public and issuing tickets and receipts, which their customers then use to collect their interest payments after a certain period.

But all has not gone according to plan for the T.F.C. as their investors have been frequenting their premises in recent days to follow up on their payments.

A couple from Vailoa, who only identified themselves as Peresitene and Tafai, told the Samoa Observer recently that they’ve spent $1,000 so far on the scheme and their interest payments are overdue. 

The couple, who are entrepreneurs and own a market stall in town, said they started investing in the scheme in February this year. 

“If I remember well, we spent $1000 as we purchased our money three to four times with the same amount since we played,” said Tafai.

“They told us the dates that we will receive and get our interest back but three times we didn’t receive any money at all, just gave us different stories and different excuses every time we came.  

“All we want is to return back our money to us. We just want our refund, but we got here at Sonya’s office under Wesley Arcade, and her employees at Leififi Travel Agent gave us the letter in English that no one wants to read, but no Sonya, no money, just the letter.” 

Samoa Observer has made attempts since Tuesday to get comments from Sonya, whom the disgruntled T.C.F. investor-couple claim runs the entity, but she has not been available. 

A copy of the letter that Tafai makes reference to was obtained by this newspaper and is dated 13 April 2021. 

The T.C.F. letter, which is more of a statement aimed at its customers, says they’ve decided to suspend their “TCF game” while they investigate how some of their “players” used the names of deceased relatives and minors to purchase tickets. 

“Regrettably, we have decided to temporarily suspend our T.C.F. game while we investigate this matter further. In doing so, we are left with no other choice but to refund all the spots that were genuinely purchased from T.C.F.,” the statement reads. 

“Please note that all refunds will be paid out on 21 May 2021 – 30 May 2021. This will give us sufficient time to complete our internal investigation to confirm genuine refunds and issues raised above.  

“Please note that all refunds will be paid out at our office at Alamagoto. We require IDs and receipts to ensure genuine payouts. Should you require more information, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.” 

Checks by the Samoa Observer with the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour’s business registry website confirms that the T.C.F. is not a registered commercial entity. 

The Central Bank of Samoa in January this year warned the public against investing in pyramid schemes or regifting schemes, saying they are likely to lose their money. 

The banking regulator said pyramid schemes are illegal under section 65 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2016, which is administered by the M.C.I.L. 

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