The founder and MD of Profit Trading, Myles Ndlovu, was formally charged on Monday with fraud. Hawks spokesperson Captain Carol Mulamu said that Ndlovu appeared briefly in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court to hear the charge before being remanded in custody.
The matter was postponed to June 29 for a formal bail application.
Ndlovu is suspected of running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors around the country of millions. At one stage Profit Trading had offices in Sandton, Klerksdorp, Bloemfontein, Rustenburg, Nelspruit, East London, Pietermaritzburg and Umhlanga.
A number of investors were in court to witness Ndlovu’s appearance. Many of them have been trying unsuccessfully to withdraw their money from Profit Trading for months, but were repeatedly told that there were technical problems delaying payment.
Two former senior employees told Moneyweb that R107 million was reflected in client portfolios at the company. One told Moneyweb that R52 million of that was money that was actually invested, while the remainder was supposedly accrued interest.
The Hawks arrested Ndlovu on Thursday last week after he was apprehended by aggrieved investors at a hotel in Sandton. The investors had been spurred into finding him after revelations by City Press and Moneyweb that the Financial Services Board (FSB) had found compelling evidence that Profit Trading was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.
The company professed to offer a ‘forex robot’ that targeted returns of 5% a month. However the deputy executive officer for FAIS at the FSB, Caroline da Silva, says that after a thorough investigation the regulator determined that no trades had ever taken place.
“He was bringing money into the business, creating accounts that clients believed they were trading on, but these were completely falsified,” Da Silva explained. “He was just taking the money.”
The FSB had passed this information on to the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit last year, but the police investigation had seemingly stagnated until last week when a group of investors began agitating for action to be taken. They accosted Ndlovu at the Sandton hotel and when he was unable to give them satisfactory answers about where their money was they refused to let him leave until the Hawks investigator arrived and arrested him.
Da Silva confirmed that the FSB has also been contacted by the police on Thursday to assist with the matter.
“We collated all the evidentiary annexures to the inspection report and took it through to the SAPS and the NPA and talked through the investigation, the evidence, and all our findings,” she said. “I am pleased that our teams’ efforts paid off.”
Captain Mulamu said that the investigation is ongoing and any investors who have not yet done so should get in touch with the Hawks.
“We are calling upon the public, whoever was subject to dealing with this company, to come forward and contact the investigating officer so that we can obtain a statement,” she said. “They should contact Captain Z B Sithole on 082 319 9944 or email Sitholezb@saps.gov.za.”