Schemes promising high returns mushrooming
SINCE its formation in 2009 Living Hope Financial Services (LHFS) - a company believed to be running a pyramid scheme - has evolved and produced others of its kind.
Initially, investors put in a minimum of R500 plus a 10% (R50) administration fee, with a promise of a 100% return within four weeks.
In 2011 LHFS was able to pay its investors and it enjoyed an influx of new investors, lured through word of mouth to the company as a saviour of poor people.
But like any typical pyramid, which often pays out the initial investors with money from new investors, the company soon went bust.
This year the company reinvented itself under the name Hlala Ethembeni Finances, but failed again to pay some of its investors.
After a fallout with the owner of the business (only known as Thami) a group of his staff members pulled out of the company and formed their own business, which offered the same services.
The new business was called Londolozani Finances and is situated at Commercial Street, Johannesburg, less than 200 metres from Hlala Ethembeni Finances.
Londolozani also promises a 100% return on investment within a month.
- In March a woman who had invested in LHFS went to the small claims court to demand her money back.
She had lodged the claim against former LHFS employees, who are now operating the new Londozani Finances.
In terms of the court order the letter of demand must be signed by the party against whom the woman made the claim.
Sowetan witnessed her visit to the Londozani offices accompanied by the police to get the letter signed.
Londozani's head was not happy with Sowetan's presence. The police had to intervene when Dumisani attacked the Sowetan photographer who took pictures of the proceedings. The letter was eventually signed by a staff member.
This article was first published in the Sowetan newspaper on Monday 2 July 2012