Top Ugandan TelexFree affiliate arrested
One of the common questions we get after a major Ponzi scheme bust in the US is “what about affiliates overseas?”
Surprisingly, arrests have yet to be made in Brazil (the “heart” of TelexFree), with the company’s management and top affiliate investors still running about professing TelexFree’s innocence.
Over in the Dominican Republic, some initial reports came in suggesting arrests had been made, but to date nothing concrete has surfaced.
Other than that though, to the best of my knowledge, anyone involved in TelexFree outside of the US has yet to be arrested.
Making some progress on rounding up local fraudsters though is the unlikely candidate, Uganda.
Reluctant to launch an investigation into TelexFree, despite neighboring Rwanda banning the company, Ugandan officials arrested Ronald Muramuzi on charges of cyber fraud.
A scenario likely to be familiar amongst TelexFree’s top investors, Muramuzi had his pie in a few Ponzi schemes, of which TelexFree appears to have been the most prominent. Using the fake names Morgan Mugisha, Bob Mugisha, Muramuzi Ronald Kato and Kato Ronald, Muramuzi launched his online Ponzi career in 2012.
In addition to TelexFree, other schemes Muramuzi recruited investors into include:
- Tesco Trader (2-4% daily ROI Ponzi scheme that collapsed just earlier this month)
- AdFast (seems to be a TelexFree reload scheme)
- Bank Electro (pays out 1-5% ROIs on “deposits”)
- United HYIP League (collapsed Ponzi scheme that promised a “120% ROI after one month”)
- MassiveAd (Ponzi scheme that accepts $100 – $10,000 investments on the promise of $10 to $1500 ROIs paid out every 10 days)
According to Ugandan authorities, Muramuzi’s total heist from the 600 or so affiliate investors he recruited into the above schemes was 4 billion UGX ($2.37 million USD). How much of that was from TelexFree though was not clarified.
According to Ugandan news outlet UGO, Muramuzi’s stolen fortune earns him the title of “the richest youth in the country”. Muramuzi spent his stolen funds on a nightclub, a house, two rental properties and a local newspaper outlet.
The purchase of a newspaper outlet seems a bit odd. Perhaps Muramuzi and his downline were using it to spam their daily TelexFree ROI ads into?
The nightclub has since been sold, following Muramuzi’s arrest.
Unfortunately, that arrest came about only after TelexFree was shut down by US regulators last month.
(Muzamuzi’s) arrest came shortly after the closure of Telexree, under which he was operating.
A question mark now looms over what will happen next, but from the sounds of it Muramuzi’s scamming days are over. No word on where his millions have been stashed or whether the investors he recruited will recoup their losses.
By rights TelexFree should have, at the very least, been on the Ugandan regulatory radar when Ugandan Ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, publicly called on his government to investigate the company in March.
What said regulators were doing before March and after Kabonero’s call for an investigation, remains a mystery. I suppose however that in the aftermath of TelexFree, the arrest of Muramuzi is still something though…
Time to get your shit together Brazil, the arrests of Carlos Costa and Wanzeler are long overdue.
Update 20th June 2014 – Muramuzi is out on SH 300M bail ($116,508 USD). As part of his bail conditions, Muramuzi had to surrender his ‘passport, a land title and three sureties‘.
The sureties included brother Edward Barijje, Richard Karuhanga, a lawyer aged 40 and Chris Katibalirwe 46, a doctor. They were each bonded on sh200m non cash bail each.
The case returns to court on July 7th, with Muramuzi continuing to deny all charges against him.