Local August 26, 2015 | 6:59 am

Telexfree pyramid scam defrauded US$1.6 billion

Abankruptcy court in the United States calculates the fraud perpetrated by acompany known as Telexfree at US$1.6 billion, obtained through 831,000 accountsheld by hundreds of thousands of people recruited by the pyramid selling scheme, including many in the Dominican Republic.

Theevidence includes cash confiscations, a check for US$10 million in the name of TelexfreeDominicana, a Ferrari, luxury SUVs and boats. The accused include a Dominicannational, Santiago de la Rosa, as well as United States nationals James M.Merrill, Carlos N. Wanzeler, Steven M. Labriola, Joseph H. Kraft, SanderleyRodriguez, Randy Crosby and Faith R. Sloan.

Thecourt appointed Stephen Darr as the executor for the return of the assets tothe victims of the multi-million dollar fraud.

Thedecision was made by judge Melvin S. Hoffman after the presentation of evidenceobtained during almost a year of undercover investigations by the FBI and otherbodies, which led to the accusations of electronic and financial fraud throughthe Telefree.com website.

Theinvestigation found that over a period of 18 months 902,000 unique e-mailaccounts were affiliated to the scheme, of which only 68,000 actually benefited. 831,000 of the registered account holders lost their money, for a total of around US$1.6 billion from victims worldwide.

Thecourt in Massachusetts has started the legal process ofvalidating the victims from all over the world, as well as the sums they areclaiming in order to work out how the assets confiscated from the company willbe divided and shared out equitably.

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