By now everyone’s sure – or should be – that Menzgold was no more than a Ponzi scheme being run by NAM1. Nana Appiah Mensah was promising 10% a month on gold, when 10% a year on gold would be over-promising by a factor of about 10. So, obviously, a Ponzi, as more than one person has said they concluded as soon as they heard about it. As did we here the moment we were apprised of it all.
This does cause a certain problem for those who would like to get their money back. It’s gone, it isn’t there, for this is how Ponzis work. The later investments are paid out to the earlier investors, it’s the new investments which pay the profits on the older ones. That’s just what a Ponzi is, it’s the definition and it’s why they always fail as soon as there are no new investors.
There is no money there.
BTW, typically with Ponzi schemes there is no pot of money to be found. Sure, perhaps someone took some and ran off with it, that’s always possible. But if it’s not possible to make a 10% a month profit on gold but a 10% profit per month profit has been paid out then that money must have come from somewhere. The usual place being that the new investments flowing in become the “profit” payments flowing out. That’s why Ponzi schemes always eventually fail, at some point there are no more new investors. So, the pot of money, it’s gone, it’s actually in the pockets of the early investors in the profits that were paid out to them.
When Bernie Madoff’s scheme eventually fell apart the authorities then went around reclaiming all those profits that had been paid out. Simply because that’s how Ponzi schemes work, it’s the definition of them. Not only is, in my opinion, Menzgold a Ponzi scam that’s dead and gone there is no great big pot of money left to pursue. It’s gone because that’s the definition of a Ponzi scheme.
Hold on to that Bernie Madoff idea for a moment, For here’s a demand:
Apart from the demonstration, the customers, in a statement, have threatened to “leak” certain names and also “petition all foreign embassies and consulates to deny government officials that we believed collaborated and failed on their jobs, visas from travelling outside the country until the Menzgold saga is resolved.” They are also demanding that the heads of state institutions, (BOG, SEC, Minerals Commission, and Registrar General’s Department), who failed to protect investors of Menzgold, be fired. Furthermore, they want all celebrities, government officials, state institutions, and foundations which benefitted from the CEO of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah, to refund all the money and assets donated to them.
Well, yes, seems fair enough.
But now think through this a bit. Who benefits from a Ponzi scheme? Obviously, those running it get to live high on the hog for the life of it at least. If they appropriate some assets along the way then they’ve got those ill gotten gains to enjoy in the future as well. We should indeed go get them and use them to pay back the duped investors.
But who else benefits? That’s right, the early members of the scheme who have been paid out their “profits”. For those were financed by the later investors. As above, that’s just how a Ponzi works. So, where’s all the money – all the money that wasn’t stolen by the scheme promoters. It’s in the pockets of those early investors who were paid out their profits. So, where do we go to get the money taken from the later investors? We go to the early ones and demand they pay back their profits.
Which is where we meet our Bernie Madoff story again, for that’s exactly what the US has been doing. All investors in the Madoff scheme have been asked – politely but forcefully – to pay back all the payments they received from the Madoff scheme. These can then be reallocated on the basis of who paid what into it. Particularly and especially those who received “profits” from Madoff must pay them back so as to reimburse those later investors who financed such profits.
Which is indeed a sensible thing to be doing about Menzgold. The money of those later investors, to the extent that NAM1 didn’t steal or spend it all, is in the pockets of early investors who were paid their interest, their profits. So, where do we go get the money to pay back later investors? From those early ones. That’s just how you clean up Ponzi schemes so that’s what we should indeed do.
There’s one truly grand advantage to this. Being a very early investor in a Ponzi can be rather profitable. If you actually get paid your 10% a month for 18 or 24 months then you have indeed made a substantial sum. Thus there’s always a temptation for even people who know that it’s a scam, a Ponzi, to invest in those very early stages. Which is what gets it up off the ground of course.
So, now we make it clear that we’ll go after, reclaim, any such profits from investing in a Ponzi let alone running one. People now have a large incentive not to so invest, don’t they? And thus Ponzis will find it harder to get off the ground in the future. Hopefully, impossible to get off the ground in the future.
The Menzgold investors’ money is in the pockets of the early investors who got paid their 10% a month profits. The place to get the money to compensate the investors is from those early profits paid out. We demand them back using the force of the law. They are, after all, receipts from a criminal enterprise, aren’t they?