Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ponzi Analysis: Suspected Australian and Canadian Ponzi Schemes show all the classic signs long before collapse

In 2017, there were lots of Ponzi schemes, and two of them caught my attention. One was the Pilbarra Ponzi scheme in Australia, and the other was Istuary Innovation Labs Ponzi in Canada. Both of them show classic Ponzi signs long before their collapse.

To recap, the alleged Pilbarra Ponzi was a real estate investment project on the island of Newman near Western Australia, and Port Hedland, also Western Australia. Over $120 million where raised from 1800 investors who were promised between 10 and 36% per year return, into what they thought where property-backed investment. Turns out, the largest property was a piece of undeveloped land on the island of population 7000. The group of companies went bankrupt in 2016, and the Australia agency ASIC charged the operator Veronica Macpherson of operating a Ponzi scheme, with the later joiner's money went toward paying the early participant's interests.

As for Istuary Innovation Labs Ponzi, it started in 2013 as "technology incubation platform" to link tech startups in Canada with customers in China. What was interesting was it promised to return FIVE TIMES what was put into the company in two years, alleged the victims suing the company. Several employees and contractors claimed they had not been paid for work or wages. One investor outright called Istuary a Ponzi scheme.

Let's ignore for now whether they are really Ponzi schemes or not. But what are the signs of danger both exhibited long before they started actually showing problems?