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Government introduces legislation to outlaw Ponzi and other pyramid schemes

Ponzi Scheme

Government introduces legislation to outlaw Ponzi and other pyramid schemes


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government has tabled legislation in Parliament providing for a TT$10 million (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) and 10 years in jail for anyone who establishes or operates a Ponzi or pyramid scheme. 

Finance Minister Colm Imbert tabled the Finance Bill No 2, which also provides for a five million dollar fine and five years imprisonment for anyone who participates in a Ponzi scheme, or a “prohibited scheme”. 

Imbert told legislators on Monday that there is no specific legislation in Trinidad and Tobago which criminalises Ponzi and pyramid schemes and schemes of that nature, though there were various provisions in pieces of legislation that would allow the authorities to act once the scheme falls within certain definitions within the Securities Act. 

“And some of these operators are quite clever and are fairly familiar with the grey areas in the law and therefore have attempted to get around the areas of the law with their Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes,” he said. 

Imbert said Clauses 3 and 13 of the Finance Act address the criminalization of these schemes under the Proceeds of Crime and Securities Acts, adding that the traditional “Sou Sou” arrangement was not being prohibited or outlawed because it had none of the features of the “prohibited scheme” or Ponzi scheme. 

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi sid the new legislation would deal specifically with fraudulent investments and financial…

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