Sun | Sep 22, 2019

Murdered businessman linked to collapsed pyramid scheme

Published:Wednesday | January 23, 2019 | 12:23 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer

Police investigators have found evidence suggesting that 39-year-old businessman Ricardo Hewitt, who was murdered in the western city of Montego Bay last Friday, was involved in an illicit pyramid scheme that collapsed late last year.

Yesterday, investigators told The Gleaner that Hewitt, who resided on Poinciana Drive in Pitfour, near Granville, was one of the founders of the scheme, which was quite popular before it collapsed. He was also the chief executive officer of the online shopping website, ShopinJa, which deals in the importation of motor vehicles and other items.

“Based on our initial investigations, we have learned that he (Hewitt) was one of the main persons behind the pyramid scheme, which operated as the money wheel or money loom,” said an investigator. “We understand that the scheme collapsed in December and several persons lost money, so we are seeking to find out if there is a link between that situation and his death.”

While many persons boasted about making money from the scheme, which attracted an initial investment of J$5,000, the people who reportedly joined after November did not manage to cash in as the scheme began to fold.

“We are investigating reports that following the collapse of the scheme, there was a falling-out between some of the major players,” the investigator added. “This story looks as if it is going to be very explosive, as some of the early revelations are quite disturbing.”

According to police reports, about 4 p.m. on Friday, a group of motorists drove to a section of Fisherman’s Beach to purchase fish when they noticed a man sitting motionless around the steering wheel of a silver Nissan Wingroad motor car for a while.

The went to investigate and discovered that the man, who was later identified as Hewitt, had his seat belt on and blood on his body. They summoned the police, who discovered that the body had multiple bullet wounds.