Combating growing investment scams

The Selangor MCA complaint bureau is gearing up to prevent public from falling prey to various scams by organizing a public awareness campaign scheduled to run next month.

The latest kiddy machine scams has involved more than 71 people and this has prompted the Selangor MCA to draw measures to fight these scams.

The bureau head Theng Book said a tri-parties meeting comprising of Bank Negara, police and the consumer tribunal will also be conducted to study a legal way to deal with fraudulent business schemes.

Since the kiddy machines scams were highlighted in media last week, 71 victims from various races have contacted the bureau and the number is increasing every day, he added.

“The victims have been cheated for an amount of RM1.75 million as of now.”

He added that the conmen had been changing forms and products over the past few months; ranging from offering lemongrass growing, water filtration system to the latest kiddy machines scam.

However, the modus operandi of these scams remain the same- promises of a lucrative return up to RM1000 a month once a person invests more than RM20000 on the products.

“The victims will be happy when they get the first month return as promised, but after that the whole company will disappear,” Thang said.

Scam companies exist through loophole of law

These investment syndicates seem to exist through the loophole in law as both the tribunal consumer and Bank Negara cannot enforce any law to take action on them, he added.

“The consumer tribunal said they can’t do anything as the products were purchased for business purpose, not personal consumption, whereas money laundry act cannot be enforced to deal with the conmen as the victims were given products initially,” he said.

Thang said the bureau will conduct a series of activities in the campaign to find a solution.

“In case we need to amend the law, we will put forward a manifesto,”

Ex-worker blamed

On the other hand, a former location surveyor in the kiddy machines company is now having fingers pointed at him after the sudden shut down of the company.

The person, who requested anonymity, said many investors are now alleging him to be the mastermind behind the scam.

“Some of them came to my house with parangs and threatened to harm me,” he claimed.

He had landed in hot water due to his job, where he was to attend to the investors’ complaints and identify suitable locations for the machines.

“When the whole thing went wrong, people started calling me,” he said.

He also claims that his former employer still owes him RM5000 in salary.

“I just want to get back my money, get out of the situation and find a new job,” he stressed.

He however said he would not brand the scheme as “a scam” as he had witnessed people getting back their investments in the past two years.

He added that every investor was given the kiddy machine, unlike what was reported in the media.

“I am not taking sides, that was part of my job responsibilities that’s why i know,” he added.

On September 3, Theng held a press conference with 25 victims who were duped to invest RM35000 in kiddy machines that were to be placed in major shopping centres.

He is now calling on all the victims to come forward and contact MCA complaint bureau at 7956 2266.