More Scam Scandals, with Losses of RM70M and RM19B

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Mention Nigerian scams and what immediately comes to mind are the offers to share a huge sum of money that needs help to be transferred out of the country. It seems like Malaysia is getting as notorious a reputation, but for masterminding investment scams.

100 people duped RM70 million by alleged scammer Maria

About 100 people lost investments totalling RM70 million following their involvement in what they claim now was a scam.

A woman, known only as Maria, was said to have approached potential investors alleging that she owned a handphone trading company and was short of capital.

Jeff, a spokesperson for the group, said that Maria told them that she would repay them with an additional 15% return per deal.

“She approached us claiming she needed capital as she did not want to take a bank loan with the high interest rates.

“She even showed us a contract that she had with big corporations such as Brightstar and we have verified the validity of the contract,” Jeff said in a press conference today which was also attended by DAP’s Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.

According to Jeff, whenever he contacted Maria to ask about the returns on their investment, he would get a letter from Maria’s lawyer assuring them that they would receive their money.

It has been about 18 months since the investors last received some returns.

Lim urged Maria to resolve the issue with the investors, giving her two weeks to come forward, failing which he will lodge a police report and an official complaint with Bank Negara.

Ten police reports have already been filed against Maria and the investors are now looking at taking legal action against her.

400,000 investors fleeced of a staggering RM19 billion by couple

A Malaysian man is said to have been involved in a large-scale forex investment scheme, which is believed to have received a staggering RM19 billion (30 billion yuan) from 400,000 investors in China within six months, the local Chinese media reported.

The scheme turned out to be a scam, with the man and his wife, a Chinese national, believed to have fled to Malaysia to evade authorities and investors.

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The woman was identified as Zhang Xuejiao, 26. The man, though not identified, is said to be a major shareholder in IGOFX, a forex investment company registered in Vanuatu.

The company’s website hailed the man as a “world-class forex player”.

Zhang, believed to be the mastermind of the scam, was also named as the head of a company in China which was the sole agent for IGOFX.

According to the Chinese media, IGOFX started operations in Shenzhen earlier this year, quickly attracting investors with the usual promises of high returns.

It carried a slogan in Mandarin, which translates to “one can earn US dollars even without getting up from bed”.

It feigned credibility and legitimacy by sponsoring sports activities and car races.

Having made good initial weekly payouts, it rapidly gained fame. Through word of mouth, the company attracted thousands of new investors daily.

Some investors told the media in China that the payouts stopped early last month and with that, the news on IGOFX having collapsed started to circulate.

Zhang was said to have been seen in public for the last time on Jun 11, which is also believed to be the same day she left China.

She was unreachable on both WeChat app and her mobile phone.

On Jun 30, about 100 investors gathered at the Shenzhen police station to appeal to the Chinese government to help them recover their investments.

Investors in the cities of Nanjing and Changzhou in Jiangsu province, Shijiazhuang in Hebei province as well as cities in Zhejiang and Hubei provinces also lodged police reports against IGOFX.

Reportedly, a photo of an investor cutting his or her wrist was posted in their WeChat groups.

However, Malaysian authorities said they have not received any report on such a couple on the run and alleged to be in hiding here.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said he was prepared to cooperate with China should there be a request for cooperation from the relevant authorities.

“We will cooperate according to regulations set by the law,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Investigation of JJPTR still ongoing

As for the JJPTR case, the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said on Friday that investigation is still ongoing.

“It is a very tedious investigation as we have to go through heaps of documents and accounts. So we need to be given time to analyse the structure of the money game for us to identify the offences involved,” he said.

Companies like JJPTR have come under public scrutiny after investors claimed they have been cheated of their investments.

On Jul 3, Penang Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief ACP Abdul Ghani Ahmad said Johnson Lee, founder of JJPTR, is still in Malaysia, contrary to rumours that he has fled the country.

Ghani said 26 police reports have thus far been lodged in Penang on JJPTR, with three investigation papers opened on cheating and money laundering.

He said those who had invested in the JJPTR plan in Penang had in total claimed to have invested more than RM239,000 but only received RM30,000 in return.

The scheme is said to have collected RM1.7 billion.