If a person establishes or operates a prohibited Ponzi or pyramid-type scheme, that person is liable to pay a fine of $10 million, or face 10 years’ imprisonment if convicted.
Manager of Corporate Communications at the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC), Ellen Lewis, described a Ponzi scheme as one which attracts persons to make a contribution. However, Ms. Lewis argued that the traditional type of savings such as a ‘sou sou’ is not considered a pyramid scheme.
Since certain amendments were made to the Securities Act Chapter 83:02, Ms. Lewis said persons who suspect they may be a victim of a pyramid or Ponzi scheme can visit the TTSEC for assistance to seek redress. Victims can also send an anonymous tip to the TTSEC through its new App, which is available for Apple and Android devices.
The amendments also state that a person who knowingly participates in a prohibited scheme is liable, if convicted, to pay $5 million, or face five years in prison.
Those who knowingly advertise or invite another person to join a prohibited scheme is liable, if convicted, to pay $2 million, or face three years in prison.