Argent Global confirm regulatory issues behind payout delays
Like most of the schemes forged in the aftermath of TelexFree’s billion dollar Ponzi meltdown, Argent Global’s top priority was establishing itself where they believed they’d be out of reach of US regulators.
With Argent Global soliciting $10 to $2400 investments on the promise of weekly returns of up to $160 a week, why owner Victor Rival felt he had to “hide” the business from regulators is obvious enough.
Where exactly owner Rival (aliases “Victor Rivel”, “Victorien Rival” and “Victorien Antoine Rivel”) is running Argent Global out of is unclear. However as is common with these types of schemes, efforts to dodge regular banking channels attracts with it a host of payment processor problems.
Last we checked in Argent Global they’d just announced the suspension of signing up new US investors, along with ROI payouts through i-Payout.
That was late July, with Argent Global investors claiming withdrawal requests haven’t been honored dating as far back as August:
I hope its (sic) not a dead horse…. I have invested money, a lot of it and That was my first withdrawal in august that Im (sic) still waiting on. I dont (sic) want to turn anyone off here but I cant help feeling like I have lost alot of money.
I knew there were risks involved. It looks like it was really taking off and then one payment processor after the other stopped paying out for agn. If they had of got their argentpay sorted out earlier it might have made all the difference.
I think alot of people got alot of money out of it. I was told it could not fail, they had some sort of master algorithm that could not fail….. ? I hope for my sake and the sake of friends who loaned huge amounts of money from banks and credit unions
With investor complaints on social media piling up (the majority of which appear to be in the US, Brazil and Russia), Rival held an affiliate call less than 24 hours ago.
The call was certainly revealing, with Rival (right) laying out precisely why Argent Global was set up the way it is:
[2:16] From the very beginning we registered Argent Pay (later corrected as “Argent Network”) in a non-US district, or a non-US country, so that we’d have the flexibility to be able to operate without some of the US… um, regulatory mandates.
One such mandate of course being the illegality of Ponzi schemes.
[2:58] But now we have members in the US and to be able to operate and have US members, we still have to have our company to be compliant with the US laws for our industry.
Making a Ponzi scheme compliant with US law?
Here’s where Argent Global began to come undone…
[3:26] Several months ago we met with some leaders in Brazil and decided that we would add more value to our program. And we started working on a plan to really start to change the business model, to make it much more substantial in what we offer to members.
Huh? Your problem is your running a Ponzi scheme… and you think bundling more with affiliate investments is going to somehow make you compliant?
[4:00] We then went and consulted with a US attorney, who was the number one compliance attorney here in the US for our industry, and asked them:
“What do we need to do to our program so that the US would be happy or we would be compliant with the US laws?”
The reason we did this was because several companies that were in this genre, in the same kind of business, has recently closed. You had TelexFree and a few others, and we wanted to make sure that the parts of our program that were similar to, for example TelexFree, we could come and make a change and correct it so that we wouldn’t have the same fate.
Unfortunately, Rival does not disclose who the US attorney was he claims to have approached.
[5:39] The attorney said to us on, I believe the 15th of July, that he recommended that we close business in the US, become compliant and open back up when we were compliant.
And so on the 18th of July we made a decision to stop operations in the US with respect to signing up new members.
[6:26] So on the 18th we ceased operations in the US in terms of members being able to come-in new, and at the same time we made a decision to stop using i-Payout because i-Payout was a US-based ewallet system and we didn’t want to have any exposure in the US.
With Rival himself appearing to be based out of Florida and Argent Global already having signed up hundreds, if not thousands of US investors – one could easily argue it was a bit late to start worrying about US exposure.
[7:12] Now in the past, the same attorney would have told us to simply stay open and make the changes and then continue to do business the whole time.
This time his attitude was, “You need to close, fix it and reopen”, but he spoke in a very aggressive and very determined manner – that told us that we needed to take his advice as soon as possible.
Again, who this attorney is was not disclosed.
[8:07] Now our intention in the very beginning was we were going to stop using i-Payout to make withdraws, and we would continue to use them to take our deposits.
They handled about 80% of our daily cash flow through the deposits that were made through i-Payout from everyone around the world.
[8:41] So we actually said, “We don’t need withdrawals anymore, only deposits”. They came back a week later and said “No, we’re not going to have any deposits.” And then they stopped us from being able to use them completely.
A bit different to Argent Global making “a decision to stop using i-Payout”.
Reeling from the SEC’s shutdown of TelexFree, for whom i-Payout processed millions of dollars for, the processor has developed a reputation for accommodating MLM Ponzi and pyramid schemes.
In late 2013, i-Payout even went so far as to contact BehindMLM to defend their handling of TelexFree Ponzi funds. At the time, i-Payout claimed to have ‘done a complete due diligence on TelexFree‘.
To date, i-Payout management have failed to explain how they missed the billion dollar Ponzi scheme TelexFree were operating.
Following the collapse of the relationship between Argent Global and i-Payout, Rival then implemented what he calls “Argent Pay”:
[9:30] Argent Pay was a new e-wallet system that was recommended from a business partner of ours, who’s actually from Brazil, and Argent Pay would allow us to be able to participate in the revenue derived from the ewallet um, mechanism.
Not only was the idea for the processor plucked from the bowels of a veteran Ponzi investor, but the idea was to “double-dip” on the transaction volume Argent Global was processing.
[10:11] For example, about $60,000 a month is what i-Payout was earning from the transactions from our members all over the world.
By using Argent Pay we could earn 50% of that revenue on a monthly basis, and use it to put back into the program to support the whole business model.
Using processor fees to keep your Ponzi scheme going that little bit longer?
With all this happening post supposed consultation with a US attorney, it’s evidently clear that any plans of compliance had gone out the window at this point.
[11:01] We had two motivations to move from i-Payout.
One was they are a US-based ewallet system. If the US had any problems with us whatsoever they could actually stop our business instantly by freezing our money there.
The second motivation was we could earn a percentage of the e-wallet fees through Argent Pay. That would allow us to develop another income stream, which is very important to support our business model.
If the US had any problems with your business model?
[12:08] Now the reason we were planning to use i-Payout for another four or five months, was because we were told that Argent pay had to build a custom system for us because we are branding our name with them.
At this point it should be blatantly clear that Rival and Argent Global were doing little more than white-labeling an existing payment processor platform.
The name of that platform?
[12:22] There name is Rapid Pay Global, but we asked them to do a white-label agreement that we now call ourselves, Argent Pay.
On the Rapid Pay Global website, the processor describes itself as
the only global network designed specifically to innovate cutting-edge, end-to-end payment solutions that bring meaningful financial empowerment to under-served markets.
The Rapid Pay Global website domain is registered anonymously, and there is no information about the processor’s management or ownership structure, or even where the processor is operated out of on their website.
[12:36] They told us it would take so much time to get that accomplished, but because i-Payout decided to close and not allow us to use their platform anymore, we had to move over to Argent Pay before it was ready.
[13:39] So when we moved from i-Payout to Argent Pay, we were told that by the 15th of August, they could have everything working for us – including the delivery of debit cards, for our members to be able to function in terms of moving money back and forth.
It had banks available in Brazil and Russia, where we have the largest base of people, to do business as we always have.
And now, with the bullshit excuses about payment processor problems out of the way – we get to the real reason Argent Global investors haven’t been paid since August:
[14:40] When we shut down the US, that action made some of our members a little bit concerned with respect to what was going on with us.
And so their reaction was to be concerned and request even more money in terms of withdrawals then they ordinarily would, because they were a little bit nervous.
Ponzi schemes like Argent Global bank on investors keeping money in the system via re-investment. If too many investors start making withdrawal requests, what with all the monopoly money paid out, it doesn’t take much to exhaust actual available funds and trigger a collapse.
[15:23] At the same time, the move from i-Payout to Argent Pay had created a backlog of about two weeks where we didn’t pay withdrawals, because we were moving our database.
When we were moving from i-Payout to Argent Pay, we needed about two weeks of not being able to make withdrawals to get that move completed. And that made some members very uncomfortable – two weeks with no withdrawals during that period of time.
[16:15] In addition to that we had also opened up Payza because we no longer had i-Payout – so we opened up Payza for members to make deposits.
And we were also allowing members to make withdrawals from SolidTrustPay, but the average SolidTrustPay withdraw as a company was about $80,000 per week.
When we closed down i-Payout and there was a two-week lag between i-Payout and Argent Pay, the withdrawal requests from Solid Trust Pay went up to four hundred and something thousand dollars because the members wanted to make requests there.
$400,000 a week in Ponzi withdrawals? Yeah… that didn’t last long.
So, unable to payout – here’s what went down:
[17:30] Now with Solid Trust Pay, the only way to fund them is to send them a wire with a $10,000 max per day, and it takes almost a week for that to get there.
So we decided to return those withdrawals back to the wallet and then allow members to request them through Argent Pay. Because with Argent Pay we could fund them with larger wires to meet their demands.
Alrighty then. So uh, y’know, why haven’t investors been paid out since August still?
[18:40] Some of you probably remember at the very beginning as some of these events were taking place, but at the very same time for about a four to six-week period of time, the 80% of revenue we were accustomed to receiving on a daily basis through i-Payout, did not come in.
Because one, Argent Pay could not handle it. Two, members did not have the locations in their countries to be able to make deposits to continue to support the business model.
Three, the closing of the US made some members uncomfortable.
Four, we started to get some negative news on Facebook, and so collectively the members pulled back some and we lost about 80 to 90% of the revenue because of all those different reasons.
Right. Because y’know, otherwise new Ponzi investment funds are endless. Everybody knows that.
At $400,000 a week in withdrawal requests, the simple fact of the matter was Argent Global didn’t have enough moola to pay everybody out with.
This is otherwise known as a Ponzi collapse.
And if they hadn’t already, this is about the time regulators swoop in and shut everything down. But um yeah, see comments from Victor Rival above about wanting to operate without US regulatory mandates…
[20:22] Now on our side we have reserve capital, so we started to use our reserve capital to fund Argent Pay and start to meet the withdrawal needs of our members.
[20:51] Now our intention again is to be a long-term program so my attitude was, this is a challenging moment for us as a company. But we would come together, pay every penny that came into us back out to the members, and build the volume in Argent Pay back to the levels that were were at with i-Payout, so that we could continue to do business the way we had done prior to the 18th of July.
[22:53] In addition this, some members had requested to be paid from Argent Pay to their bank accounts.
In many instances those requests were delayed for a few weeks, a few days and today some have gone out, some have not gone out yet – but this also created a little bit more stress for our members.
So with hundreds of thousand of dollars in withdrawals now backlogged across multiple payment processors, where is this all heading?
Rival claims that Argent Global has sent about a million dollars to Argent Pay, which he states covers “the majority” of withdrawal requests made by investors. Rival also talks about “opening up a local bank” in Brazil and Russia, to smooth the process of new investment.
[32:04] Our intention is to work to build the volume of the wallet in Argent Pay, to where it can be close to what we were doing before.
This would allow us to be able to handle the withdrawal requests that we have current, or at least be able to manage the past withdrawal requests and catch up with the withdraws.
[33:19] We’re putting together a plan that we will send an email for, in about two days, with a determination to get every single member that is verified and trusted in our system a check every single week – on time for the next 4 to 8 weeks to rebuild the confidence of our membership.
Now these guaranteed weekly checks will probably be smaller for some members than they’re accustomed to. But what we’re gunna guarantee is if you are in our program and you make a withdrawal request, you will get paid that week and on time.
And just when you thought Argent Global couldn’t get any more out of compliance, now you have Rival going about “guaranteed weekly checks”.
Rival also talks about restricting investors with multiple withdrawals pending to one withdrawal request a month.
Putting everything together: The basic idea going forward is to cap withdrawal amounts, in the hope that this will instill confidence to get new investor funds flowing again.
Where’s that new investor money going to come from though?