It is a measure of success of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that on November 6 its Lahore office returned Rs169.68 million to 1,474 affectees of the Double Shah scam. According to NAB, it was the third phase of the returning of money to the affectees. The accountability body said it had so far distributed Rs1.2 billion among 6,490 victims of the scam. NAB deserves kudos for recovering and returning money to those who had fallen victim to the tricks of the swindler. The number of people that the conman defrauded of their money is said to be 46,000 and the amount that he collected during his two years’ operation runs into billions.
The conman Sibtul Hasan Shah alias Double Shah ran a Ponzi scheme to collect money from gullible people. He made people to part with their money on the promise that he would double the amount in 15 days which was later extended to 70 days. Initially, he did fulfil his promise and thus succeeded in bringing more and more people into his trap. This is how Ponzi schemes work. We saw many Ponzi schemes operating in Karachi in the late 1980s and how gullible and innocent people willingly fell for them thereby losing large amounts. Some elderly people are said to have even sold their houses in the hope of getting big returns on their money deposited with investment companies. These Ponzi schemes were then known as investment companies. But so far no one has been returned their money nor has anyone been compensated by the government for their loss. Even there were reports that some ministers facilitated some of the fraudsters to flee the country. Now that NAB is meeting with success in recovering money from scammers we hope action would be taken against owners of those fake investment companies too.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2018.
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