“Call it blessings; Call it Pyramid; Call it SouSou: It was a non-refundable RISK!”
These were the words yesterday of a Beetham Gardens, Laventille man accused of making off with thousands of dollars from a pyramid scheme called “Blessings Overflow” earlier this week.
In a public Facebook post, the man said the ‘risk’ was taken by over 1,200 people. To join Blessings Overflow, members were asked to contribute $700 each. They were promised thousands in return.
On Thursday, however, reports began to surface on social media, along with screenshots and voice notes from the Telegraph group that members were added to once they paid their money, that the scheme had crashed.
The screenshots also showed a group administrator using the name “Cazim” declaring that the group had crashed. After his message, the group’s setting was changed, preventing the members from responding.
A hunt was then launched for “Cazim” until one member found his Facebook profile and posted his name and photos of him by changing the group’s profile picture and name.
Yesterday, the man whose name was identified as “Cazim” posted the message on his Facebook account. He claimed that while over 1,200 people invested in the group, about 300 members were paid out.
“A risk that 1,200 plus people took and over 300 persons (all who have remained silent) benefited successfully from,” he wrote.
He said he was being made a scapegoat, claiming there were over eight administrators in the group.
“Yet still persons who DID NOT even risk their money directly with me are trying to make me a scapegoat. It was perhaps well orchestrated from within! The balance of monies were repaid to as much people as feasible (many of whom remain silent).”
He defended himself, saying those who know him personally could vouch for his “good name.”
“I unreservedly deny these unfair accusations that I ran away with persons’ money! As soon as you invested/risked your money it went to “Bless” someone else in hopes that when YOU reach water, others after you would do the same,” he added.
Another administrator from the group posted a video to one of her social media accounts on Thursday night showing herself crying. The video’s caption read, “Just pray for me please.”
The woman is incoherent at the beginning of the video, clutching a blue towel and repeating, “Pray for meh please.”
She then says, “I get everything out of my heart. I ent thief nobody money, I ent have no money. I have zero dollars, I doh know where I getting the rest of money from, I praying for a miracle.”
As she continued to weep, she sent out an appeal to members from the group to stop calling her. She lamented that she had been unable to eat or sleep, adding, “All ah studying is to pay back everybody, I doh have, if alyuh want to kill meh I sorry.”
She begged for her life, saying, “Doh come and kill meh, please, I sorry, I understand everybody work hard for they money.”
She then claimed a relative is trying to get money to assist her in repaying the money but said none of the members were willing to wait for the repayment as the cheque would take 12 working days to clear.
She ended the video saying, “They set me up, alyuh they set me up, stop threatening meh please.”
The Financial Intelligence Unit has warned the public repeatedly about getting involved in schemes where small amounts of money are paid in with the promise of thousands in return.
Guardian Media reached out to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to find out whether any of the group’s members had made a report to the Fraud Squad yesterday but emails and WhatsApp messages went unanswered.
“Blessings Overflow” is believed to be just one of dozens of pyramid schemes that were started several weeks ago. There have been reports that other groups have crashed as well, leaving newer members without their money.