24 Feb 2003

Pyramid scam cost Solomons millions

5:28 pm on 24 February 2003

The Governor of the Solomon Islands Central Bank, Rick Hou, says around ten million Solomon Islands dollars paid into a pyramid scheme could have been put to good use in the country.

Mr Hou has gone on local radio to discourage people from giving more money to the Family Charitable Trust, a pyramid scheme promising million dollar returns on a 250 dollar investment.

He says more than nine thousand people have signed up with the scheme with an average buy in of around a thousand dollars.

Mr Hou went public at the weekend to warn people not to expect payouts in the scam.

"Secondly to warn everybody that given the economic and financial situation we are in and given what I described earlier on about the public being ignorant, naive, tolerant, forgiveness, disorganised ....this is the conman's paradise.....So in that I mean there is going to be more coming, so they'll have to be prepared for these sorts of things"