14 Oct 2003

Solomons court finds five guilty in fund scam

5:25 am on 14 October 2003

Five people have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud over the Family Charitable Fund scam, which took several millions dollars off thousands of Solomon Islanders last year.

About 20-thousand people contributed a minimum of 25 US dollars each, and in many cases much more, to the Fund, which promised to deliver massive returns after several months.

Jean Maenua, Jack Ako, Baddeley Au, John Meke, and Pat Tom are due back in the Magistrate's Court for sentencing in two weeks.

A court official says the group has been told to use the time to advise police of where the missing money is, and reveal others involved in the scam, and that this would be considered when they were sentenced.

The five had continuously blamed the central and commercial banks for its failure to pay out the promised windfalls, which were meant to begin just a month after the scheme started in April last year.

But earlier this year, threats against bank staff which lead to the closure of all the commercial banks in Honiara and the evacuation of some expatriate staff, prompted police to arrest them.