Many Jamaican overseas have invested in alternative investment schemes based in Jamaica. There is a hush amongst the Jamaican Diaspora to discuss it openly mainly because of shame with the direction things have gone and the large sum of money they invested in these schemes. You can hear these discussion when you go out to social events and you hear the names May Daisy, Cash Plus, Worldwise, Higgins-Warner, Olint and LewFam. But I have come to learn about Jamaican living overseas who used their accounts and formed their own sub-investment clubs. These sub-investment clubs were able to get money from investors in their local market plus becoming the face of many of the investment schemes in Jamaica. I was able to get an interview with someone who invested a large some of money in one of these sub-investment clubs. They wanted to remain anonymous and also not name the sub investment club or parent investment club in this interview.
How did you get involved in the alternate investment scheme?
A co-worker told me about the great returns they were getting each month from an investment club?
Was to co-worker Jamaican?
What were these companies investing in?
The foreign exchange market. They call it forex.
What type of return were you promised?
On average I was seeing a return of approximately 8-10% each month.
Did it seem too good to be true?
No. I had other friends and relatives who were doing it. I have a cousin in Jamaica who quit her job and lived of the compound interest she received each month. They provide statements and even a telephone number. Everything seemed like it was good. Everyone was doing it.
Where were these schemes based?
The companies are based here in the US however they put the money in clubs in Jamaica.
How does this whole thing work? Do these companies have a direct relationship with these investment clubs in Jamaica?
I am not sure these clubs in Jamaica know about these companies. You see the individuals I dealt with had an account with these clubs that paid a higher premium that most of the other members. I was told they would pay me at the regular premium and their payment was the difference.
When did things start to go wrong?
About a year ago. The statements stopped coming in a timely manner and when I inquired I kept hearing that they are doing due diligence to balance the accounts. They were sending us the communication from the investment clubs in Jamaica on their letter head.
Did you believe them?
No. I heard that some of the big Jamaican business people and politicians withdrew a lot of money and that is when things started to go bad.
How much money did you have invested in the alternate investment schemes?
I invested over $135,000 in two investment schemes?
That is a lot of money. Did you have this large sum of money in other investment vehicles before you put it in these investment clubs?
I pulled money from my 401k and also took out a mortgage on my house. I also had some land in North Florida that I sold.
Were you withdrawing money from the investment scheme?
Yes, I would withdraw enough to pay my bill and the mortgages.
With a bad economy how are you surviving? How are you paying for bills right now?
ome are unpaid. I am trying to negotiate new terms with my bank. I may file for bankruptcy.
Many of theses investment schemes have been shut down, in the courts, and their owners were arrested. Do you have any hope that you will see any of this month back?
I have to hope I can get this money back. It is all I had. I will not be able to retire if I don’t get back my money.
Having you been following the Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford investment schemes in the US? Some of the investors are suing the companies and others who pulled out with a profit to get some of their money back. Have you looked at this option? Do you plan to sue?
I am considering it but will give things a few more months. Communication from these clubs has been good and I think I should give them the opportunity to sort it out.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes I do. If something does not happen I will lose everything I have worked for.