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According to investigation agencies, many MLMs and ponzi schemes in the country are operated by selected ‘gang’ of so called ‘leaders’, who move from one scheme to another with new name and product
The ongoing investigations into the multi-crore rupees Speak Asia scam has revealed that majority of the so-called ‘leaders’ of all multi-level marketing (MLM) and ponzi companies operate in a group or syndicate and all are well connected with each other. The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police, currently investigating the Speak Asia scam, is tracing the possible links between Speak Asia and other MLMs widely operating in the city.
According to a source from the EOW, apart from Speak Asia’s officials, arrested earlier and its absconding head honchos, few other names linked with several other MLMs have cropped during the investigations. A handful of people, all closely linked, are operating several MLM and ponzi schemes, as mastermind in Mumbai.
“EOW now has a clear picture about Speak Asia investigations. There is a possibility that these schemes are in touch with each other. They are called as MLM gang and EOW is examining such gangs,” said another person close with the investigation.
Echoing the same view, a senior police official from Andhra Pradesh, who is investigating various MLMs in that state, told Moneylife that, “The modus operandi of all of such schemes is the same. The only difference is the product. Some may have soaps while others may sell nutraceuticals. They are part of an organized gang. If at one place they come under police scanner, they quickly change their base and start the same business. RMP Infotec is one such company.”
Meanwhile, the agents or panellists of Speak Asia, who have not received a single penny since May last year are still trying very hard to keep their flock together. Several leaders can be found giving promises and dates to all their downlines through social media. Last heard, they were saying that 9th January would be the ‘final judgement day’ for Speak Asia and they will ‘win’. However, according to new information, the Supreme Court postponed the hearing by a week to 16th January. (No wonder, the leaders and panellists can be found saying that “16th is the ‘final’ day!”)
The EOW, Mumbai is also awaiting for a report from the forensic laboratory on the encrypted data. EOW had sent all the material such as computers, laptops, CDs, hard disks, which it had seized during the arrest of the various officials and associates of Speak Asia, to the forensic laboratory for a scientific analysis. “The data is huge. But certainly there is some vital information that is helping us in the investigation,” an official from the EOW said.
Recently Moneylife reported that the EOW is keeping a strict vigil on several sites that promote and help in communication for several MLM and ponzi schemes. The department is even encouraging its official to attend seminars organised by MLM and ponzi operators so that they would understand the modus operandi of these fly-by-night operators.
Speak Asia duped around 23 lakh investors to the tune of Rs2,000 crore. It promises a weekly income, merely on filling online survey forms. Initially the company paid the money to its panellists but stopped all the payments since May 2010. After complaints were lodged against the company, it came under the scrutiny of the EOW, Mumbai. Recently the Enforcement Directorate also registered a case against Speak Asia, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the multi crore MLM scam.
Earlier the investigating agency has arrested Speak Asia’s chief operating officer (COO), Tarak Bajpai, along with few other employees. Currently Manoj Kumar, its CEO and Harendar Kaur, a Singaporean of Indian origin and company’s chairperson are absconding.