Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Cash Plus scam?

Published:Thursday | August 18, 2016 | 8:00 AMLivern Barrett

The State agency handling the liquidation of Cash Plus is warning members of the public about a scam that seeks to take advantage of vulnerable investors who lost billions of dollars when the unregulated investment scheme collapsed eight years ago.

The warning by the Office of the Government Trustee comes in the wake of reports to The Gleaner that several persons have come forward, claiming they were contacted, through various social media websites, by individuals offering to help them get their monies back.

As part of the scam, a number of persons were reportedly informed that their names were on a list for payment from Cash Plus, but they would be required to provide personal information.

In other cases, persons say they were contacted by individuals claiming that their Cash Plus deposit was returned through a courier company and offered the same service.

Government Trustee Celia Barclay acknowledged yesterday that her office was aware of the reports, but said it does not utilise the services of external agents to make payments to creditors. "Those persons who are entitled to priority payment will never be asked to provide personal information over the phone or via social media," she insisted.

In addition, Barclay underscored that the Office of the Government Trustee is not yet making payments to the more than 40,000 Cash Plus investors who are owed approximately $10 billion.

"The public must therefore be diligent and contact the office directly through its official contact numbers to verify any information received regarding Cash Plus or other payments before disclosing personal information," she said in an email to The Gleaner.

 

Employee Payments

 

Last week, the Office of the Government Trustee revealed that it was in the process of paying out close to $50 million to former employees of Cash Plus who are owed statutory payments and outstanding salaries.

Some depositors reacted angrily to the announcement, but Barclay explained that there were legislative provisions that dictate the order of priority for liquidation payments.

"Redundancy payments and outstanding wages and salaries are among the priority payments," she said, adding that investors can only be paid after all priority payments are completed.

It has been a long wait and several unfulfilled promises for Cash Plus depositors since the entity ceased operations in August 2008.

Founder of the scheme Carlos Hill has been charged with fraudulently inducing persons to invest and is set to go on trial on November 21.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com