Cuban national, wife in alleged Ponzi scheme slapped with 19 charges, remanded to prison
Thirty-four-year old Yuri Garcia Dominguez and his 32-year-old wife Ateeka Ishmael who allegedly swindled millions of dollars from Guyanese in an alleged major Ponzi scheme appeared before two Magistrates Thursday slapped with 19 charges of conspiracy to commit a felony.
While they were granted $3.9 million bail for 13 of the charges at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court, the Cuban national and his wife were remanded to prison for six of the charges by Magistrate Alisha George at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court.
Dominguez and Ishmael of Track ‘A’ Coldingen, East Coast Demerara are associated with Accelerated Capital Firm Inc; they made a physical appearance at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court and were represented by attorneys-at-law Glen Hanoman and Dexter Todd.
The first set of 13 charges were read by Magistrate Marissa Mittelholzer and the particulars alleged that between May and July 2020, the couple obtained a total sum of $24.7M from the 13 victims under false pretence.
Bail was granted in the sum of $3.9M and this case is adjourned to September 18, 2020.
Meanwhile, six similar charges were read via Skype by Magistrate Alisha George at the Sparendaam Court and alleged that they obtained over $1M from the victims under false pretence.
For these charges, they were remanded to prison until September 21, 2020.
As the couple made their appearance at the Vigilance court, about 100 protesters gathered outside shouting “free Yuri” and calling on the authorities to release him.
Attorney Todd, in comments to the media, lamented that the case is a civil matter and not a criminal one.
He explained that his clients were criminally charged in their own personal capacity as directors for the company.
“We have advocated that these matters are private in nature… all the complainants that were made, forms part of a contract…
“What the State has done is to impose themselves as a third party to a private contract and they are forcibly allowing the course of a criminal nature to take shape which ought not to be,” Attorney Todd told the News Room.
Recently, Attorney General Anil Nandlall said the Government received dozens of complaints from members of the public regarding the scheme.
The Guyana Securities Council (GSC) had written to President Irfaan Ali, the Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and the Commissioner of Police, informing them of the operations of this scheme in the country.
Currently, Accelerated Capital Firm Inc. (ACFI) is not licensed by the Guyana Securities Council to solicit investments from the public.
Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act, it is required for all investors to provide the source of funds and ensure that the financial activities and money laundering risks associated with a customer are properly recorded.