Members claim to be owed close to P100, 000
About 160 people have been left in the lurch after the founder of a Ponzi scheme ‘Visionary Millionaires’ Linda Masalila exited the WhatsApp Group she created.
Angry members have reported Masalila at Central Police Station and are demanding she pay back at least P100, 000.
According to some irate members who turned up at The Voice’s Francistown office recently, Masalila promised them they could earn up to P24, 000 or more should they bring in more members.
“When we started we were only 12 and we all registered with P20 and deposited P500 into the group’s account,” claimed the five members who brought their concerns to The Voice.
“The number grew to 170 and so far only 16 people have benefited, the rest lost out.”
The Voice learnt that all transactions were done through pay to cell and the mode of payment was Masalila’s number.
“She was the sole account holder,” claimed the five.
However, when quizzed on the allegations, Masalila told The Voice she has instituted a Defamation lawsuit against some of the scheme’s members.
“I don’t owe anybody any money and do not even own the scheme! The money circulated amongst the members and funds dried up because the group failed to recruit more members to keep the scheme going.”
Masalila said she never held any account, as the money was sent directly to beneficiaries in line to receive the lump sum, which ranged between P1, 200 and P24, 000.
“I had suggested that since the funds had dried up all those who have already benefited should return the money so we return to the drawing board. No one is willing to return the money, instead they are hell-bent on tarnishing my name,” she insisted.
“This was a network account, we did not keep any money. Members were ordered on a particular day to deposit their money through pay to cell to the next member in line. I only have P6, 000 and that is the money belonging to the group!” continued Masalila.
“I’m warning you, publishing this story won’t end well for the newspaper,” she further fired.
Despite her denials, group members claim that while they used pay to cell to send money to beneficiaries, the receiving number at all times belonged to Masalila.
“Masalila has perfected this scheme. She recruits people to a group and then leaves them as soon as she has benefited to open another group. Everyone is looking for her, including the police!” maintain the members, displaying a screenshot of pay to cell transactions all showing that mode of payment was indeed Masalila’s number.
Central Police Station Commander Superintendent Lebalang Maniki confirmed to The Voice that the matter was reported to them.
“It is a matter we are currently investigating. First we have to establish whether it is legal because such a business must be sanctioned by the Non Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA),” explained the top cop, adding that while such cases were rampant in the past, this was the first case of this nature in 2019.
“I think people are becoming more wiser. They should stay away from Ponzi schemes because they are illegal!” he advised.