The United African Stokvel digital investment scam has spread from South Africa to neighboring countries

The United African Stokvel digital investment scam has spread from South Africa to neighboring countries

Daily Maverick In direct contact with investors – invested amounts range from less than R15,000 to over R500,000 in several instances. The victims are mostly between the ages of 30 and 50, with a large number of young investors between the ages of 2 and 30 and at least two retirees.

Many are afraid to reveal their contact details because they have not yet told their families that they have lost their savings in a scam.

Gerhard van Deventer, Head of Enforcement at the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), warned that although the FSCA was investigating the matter, it had no scope to take action because United African Stokvel was not a registered financial services provider. United African Stockil were also not a member of the National League for Stokvels after their application was rejected in July 2019.

While many investors are crying out for their capital back, Van Deventer says the FSCA has not handed the matter over to the asset forfeiture unit because there is no evidence of any physical money in the assets being investigated. All funds have been paid by wire transfer or debit orders to a Nedbank account.

Cold comfort

While Nedbank did not disclose when the funds in the account were depleted, a spokesperson for the company said there is zero tolerance for all forms of lying and criminality, and the bank takes all allegations of misuse of its accounts for fraudulent purposes seriously.

When such allegations are received, we will conduct an internal investigation to establish their veracity and will act immediately to block an account if it appears that such action would prevent further losses.

“While an account is blocked, it may continue to receive funds, but the owners of that account do not have the ability to access any of the funds in the account. Closing an account is a separate process that only occurs after certain legal and governance steps have been completed.

Nedbank strongly recommends that victims of fraud approach the police, as we do not have a mandate to conduct criminal investigations. However, we will provide all possible assistance to the police to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

A zero-tolerance policy makes for strong wording, but it will provide cold comfort to parents who are likely to have to take their children out of school when they can’t afford school fees; the mother whose husband left her after learning she had lost R118,000 of their savings; The woman whose partner died in January, leaving her with two children and a newborn.

An internal investigation at Nedbank

Sibusiso Khumalo, a Nedbank criminal investigator, hit back at some investors to say they should open a criminal case so the police can issue a subpoena for information about the fraudulent Nedbank account — such as account name, address, contact details and bank data. According to Kumalo, the account has been banned pending an internal investigation.

When the possibility of transferring funds out of the country or into cryptocurrency was raised, the FSCA noted that if this is the case, it is unlikely that investors will be able to recover any funds.

“My forensic team is analyzing bank account information to determine the flow of money, and we plan to interview Darren Langbein,” Van Deventer said. Daily Maverick on monday.

Nobelungu Zwane joined Stokvel in September 2021 and invested R504,000 from his reduction package. He has since opened a fraud case and is still waiting for a response from Nedbank.

Daily MaverickHis persistent attempts to reach Darren Langbein (who was managing United African Stockville) via mobile phone calls and emails remain fruitless.

The FSCA’s enforcement department has only received three formal complaints about United African Stokvel, but additional complaints are being registered through the call centre, particularly since the FSCA launched a call to action for investors last week.

Investors are requested to provide details of their investments and presentations made to them on the performance of these investments. All information will be shared with the FSCA lead investigator and then shared with the police in a criminal case.

Investors can contact the FSCA directly on 0800 20 37 22 or 012 428 8000, or register a complaint. here. DM


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