A pastor accused of running a ponzi scheme says the only thing he is guilty of is trying to improve the finances of arme mense.
“A Ponzi scheme is when people never got paid out. All the investors were paid. They (the investors) never gave me a chance to fail so how can I be accused of running a ponzi scheme?” David Cupido of Touwsrivier tells Daily Voice.
Cupido, 40, and his company 4th Power Investments, made headlines when the elite investigation unit the Hawks swooped on his house in Touws River at the end of September, seizing documents, money and electronic equipment including laptops.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha confirmed they are investigating charges of fraud, theft and money laundering against Cupido after complaints were received.
But Cupido says it was a shock when the Hawks arrived on his doorstep.
“They treated me like a criminal and said I was a con artist who stole people’s money,” he says.
The father of four worked as a consultant for Metropolitan financial services for a year, but quit his job in 2008 after losing five close relatives including his parents, to various illnesses, within a space of five months.
Last year he got into touch with his mentor John Yiandros, who runs an international business teaching people how to trade.
David started 4th Power Investments earlier this year after being approached by people who heard of his success.
According to reports, his firm’s fleet of vehicles includes a larney BMW, Mercedes-Benz, an Audi and luxury Ford models.
He was accused of running a ponzi scheme after allegedly telling potential investors that a R1 000 investment could earn R2 500 within one month.
And if the investor didn’t take a payout, he or she would earn R1.8 million by December.
But Cupido claims he could pay such high dividends as they were “dealing in foreign currency”.
“If you invested the minimum of R1 000 which is $70, you could earn $1 profit, which is R14 that you didn’t have, that you could now add to your R1 000,” he explains.
And investors agree with him. Last week, hundreds of people in De Doorns and Touws River held marches to demand the Hawks drop their investigation and that 4th Power Investment’s assets be unfrozen in order for their dividends to be paid out in time for the holiday season.Franswa Pietersen, one of the organisers in Touws River, says people face a bleak Christmas.
“We did a study that showed no kids were put up for foster care between June and September after 4th Power Investments was established because people could now afford to care for their children,” he explains.
“Business improved and crime dropped. But now that the assets are frozen, we will once again become part of the unemployment statistics,” he adds.
The unemployed father of three now fears losing his house.
“Since my company folded, my monthly payouts (from David) was my only income.
“I had big plans – I wanted to buy the house I’m renting but now it looks like I will have to move to the squatter camp,” says Franswa.
David says his “heart is broken” for his investors.
“But my hands are chopped off. I can’t even sell the vehicles registered in my company’s name because all the assets are frozen,” he states.
Meanwhile, the company also faces an application for liquidation in the Western Cape High Court which was postponed to February.