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When high returns raise suspicions

House of Monopoly offers 20% monthly returns, but is keeping mum on how this is possible.

With the slogan ‘Receive double the money you invest’, the moneymakesmoney.co.za website offers investors returns of 20% per month – actually much more than double the original investment. The website promises that investors will receive a total of R12 000 for every R5 000 they invest.

This immediately raises the question as to whether it is a pyramid scheme that will operate until it runs out of gullible ‘investors’, or shut down even sooner when authorities come knocking on the door.

The website is run by a private company, House of Monopoly (Pty) Ltd, with an address in Benoni. A query to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) shows that the company was registered in August 2018. It lists Toka Tibor as the sole director and presumably the only shareholder. The company has not filed any financial returns with the CIPC as yet, but not much reporting is due if it registered only a year ago.

Suspicious

The promised high return of 20% per month seems suspicious. Everybody knows the best the commercial banks in SA can offer on small amounts is around 5% per annum for a fixed deposit of 12 months.

Maybe an investor can buy a few preference shares on the JSE that offer returns of around 10%, but commissions and fees would not make that viable for an investment lower than R20 000. And it is still a long way from 20% per month.

The moneymakesmoney website doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either. It provides no information on how the company generates its high returns. Every page of the site only repeats the message that investors will receive 20% return per month, together with pictures of smiling people, an expensive car, a graduation gown and an elderly couple happily holding hands.

Guaranteed ‘commission’

The website says other investment options produce unreliable capital growth, but “with us you will get a guaranteed 20% commission” every month on the amount invested for a period of 12 months.

It equates investment with a membership fee that ranges from R2 500 to R500 000.

Under ‘How it works’, it simply states “Join/sign up today and receive 20% commission of your membership fee every month for the next 12 months”. Once their membership has expired, members can choose to take out a new membership if they want to.

The membership form has little extra detail, merely repeating most of the information on the website and asking for basic information such as name, address and bank details. The terms and conditions repeat the promise of 20% commission per month.

The only condition of membership is that members must put out marketing material, such as attaching a bumper sticker to their car.

Membership fees paid on or before the 15th of every month will receive their commission on the 1st of the next month, while members who sign up after the 15th of the month will receive their 20% the following month, it states.

Tibor answered questions from Moneyweb promptly, but declined to say how he generates returns. He gave the impression that House of Monopoly invests and trades in cryptocurrencies.

Keeping mum

“Because of intellectual property I may not tell you the nitty gritty,” he says. “Many people are trying to copy me and my ideas.”

He adds: “The 20% commission I give every month is well calculated. You’ll know in business there are many ups and downs and there are certainly no guarantees whatsoever. You win some. You lose some.

“I know a number of people who made huge profits from crypto. Then again, I know many who have not done that well. I am slowly but surely empowering people and giving them a platform to earn and save money.”

He declined to say how many members the scheme has, saying this is confidential. “What I can tell you is that I’m proud to pay everyone on time or before. I make it happen and sustain it.”

He referred to cryptocurrencies when asked if House of Monopoly is registered as a financial services provider with the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA).

‘I don’t need to be registered’

“I have it on record in the form of many e-mails between myself and the attorneys of the FSCA that I don’t fall in the category of needing an FSB [Financial Services Board, forerunner of the FSCA] number.

“Our industry, much like bitcoin, ethereum, libra and other cryptocurrencies, is a very grey area and not yet regulated.

“Facebook, Uber and a number of other bodies are working closely with governments worldwide, including our own, on how to regulate the industry,” says Tibor.

The FSCA confirms that neither House of Monopoly nor Tibor is registered as an authorised financial services provider or licensed by the FSCA. It also says there has been no investigation into the entity by the FSCA and that it has no record of any complaints against House of Monopoly or Tibor.

The FSCA follows a specific procedure when investigating complaints or investment schemes, starting with a preliminary investigation to determine whether it has jurisdiction. For instance, the FSCA regulates the investment industry and investment advisors to see if they comply with regulations.

If an investigation falls outside of the FSCA’s mandate, it will be referred to the relevant authority, such as the SA Reserve Bank in cases where entities are seen as taking deposits, or the police in cases of fraud.

Too good to be true?

“We remind consumers to always be cautious when dealing with any entity or individual promising returns that look too good to be true,” says the FSCA.

Read: Investors in illegal schemes get R368m back

The 20% per month offered by House of Monopoly might fall into this category. It is reminiscent of the proverbial duck test: ‘If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.’

The question remains – is this a pyramid scheme, also known as a Ponzi scheme?

The latter was named after Charles Ponzi, who swindled his way into the history books during the 1920s in the US, when he offered investors returns of up to 100% within a few months in non-existing investments.

Ponzi simply paid returns to existing investors with money wagered by new investors. A century later his name continues to be synonymous with such investment schemes.

Read: The anatomy of a Ponzi scheme

In contrast, Tibor says House of Monopoly is a fast-growing company with members aiming to start their own bank in the future. In an advertisement for call centre agents, House of Monopoly is described as an exclusive investment club working for its members.

“I know I am ruffling feathers,” says Tibor. “I’m just doing what all the mainstream organisations should be doing for their clients.”

“My dream is to have at least half of all economically-active people part of House of Monopoly in some way or another.”

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“House of Monopoly”? Nobody can complain that the warning signs weren’t visible!

More like “House of Cards”.

Given their name a better idea would be ‘Go to Jail, Go Directly to Jail, Do not Pass Go, Do Not Collectb R200’

Despite the ridicule and advice, many would still invest – – – and lose money.

I suppose, one could approach it as follows – – If it is a Ponzi-scheme, get in early and get out early before it collapses. Early investors would be paid with income investments – so – as with the old-style Chain letters, get in early and leave soon.

If, the promised high return does not say it is a pyramid scheme or Ponzi, this text below ‘become a member today’ tells you that it passes a duck test:

“Double you’re Investment* by filling in our membership form.”

This wrong spelling of a simple English word like ‘you are’ is a telltale sign of most Ponzi scheme and typical of most scams.

Like the board game, there will be only 1 winner and everyone else is a loser…

Well, ja/nee. Note that the Tannenbaum pyramid attracted a few “clever” high profile and wealth individuals. These thought, and some may have, beaten the system by getting out with their handsome profits after Round 1. Did they? Who knows.

…:where did Tannenbaum end up with the billion or so down-under?

Some say he lives the life of Riley, others acting like a poor taxi driver living it up in a rich jew neighborhood

Either way give it to him, a good con

Anybody who doesn’t ask the following, really simple question, deserves no sympathy: if Tibor can borrow money at 9% per year from a bank, if his business is legit, why would he want to pay you 20% per month? What does the bank know that you don’t?

Losing your money in this kind of scheme is what’s known as a stupidity tax.

…yes, ‘stupidity tax’ or ‘school fees’ 😉

It’s all in the name of GREED. (The typical argument put forward is “the bank gives me too low an interest rate”)

And when the FSCA investigates & threaten to close such schemes, the (downline) members get angry, as they are making money at the time.

🙂

Their Terms and Conditions, just SIX paragraphs, include the phrase — “The only condition attached to your membership is that you must put our marketing material, bumper stickers, etc. onto your vehicle. (As you will be working for us directly/indirectly.)”. (Source: https://moneymakesmoney.co.za/contact-us.html)

Really? Maybe, given their name, you will pay your fees with real money and they will refund your membership fees with Monopoly money. 🙂

I need to get hold of Tibor – see if he’ll lend me R5,000. I’ll pay him back by March and pocket R7,000 free money till next year.

The Ponzi waters get even murkier than this: there are now schemes cleverly intertwined with cryptocurrencies.

Heard from a friend that he invested some money with “Karat Gold Coin” (KBC) based on the fear that FIAT money will disappear (it even rhymes 😉

Where’s our pro-crypto commentators? Opinions?

Unlike House of Monopoly, one can exchange KBC100 for 1g 24ct Gold right now as per their white paper. I have personally exchanged & sold 7g of this gold to test the system.

My opinion is do proper due diligence and you will find that the Karatbars system, which will be listing on 4 global stock exchanges including the JSE, will be a world leader in the crypto space.

Spot Price 1g 24kt gold 44.42 Euro
Karatbar card 1g 67,58 Euro
Karatbar coin 1g 87,58 Euro

Overpriced gold I would say if one is looking at investing in physical gold

@Ahem.

It has to be “over-priced” , simply as you pay for two legs: (i) the 44 Euro is the 1st leg where one pay ‘on par’ for the actual price of product/service, plus (ii) the extra 20-40 Euro difference is paying for the 2nd leg….i.e. being the Ponzi-part of this cleverly devised scam.

Conspiracy-theory addicts are easy meat for crypto-scamsters, where the former make the latter believe that the FIAT money system will “hit the fan sometime in the future” . FIAT-money did not “hit the fan”, during any past world war nor during any other world financial crisis (the equity markets may’ve temporarily crashed, but Fiat-currencies remain intact. Big difference.)

why bother? Isn’t NewGold ETF good enough for this?

Not if you want possession of physical gold. When the sh*t hits the fan, ETF’s are useless.

Loads of bitcoin scams.legit or not i wont buy it.they have no offices where you can ‘walk into ‘ like a bank.

I walked into Karatbars offices in Stuttgart and cashed in my KBC crypto for Gold…

‘MichaelfromKlerksdorp’…….seriously, do you possess any critical thinking !!?

So some loser has put up a WordPress site and used ‘cryptocurrency’ as his bait

And, because of this, blockchain/cryptocurrency is now doomed and anything to do with cryptocurrency must be suspicious ????

Akin to all stock markets are dodgy because of what happened with Steinhoff ??

Like there weren’t tons and tons of dodgy financial schemes for the last approx 100 years since the inception of the stock market as we know it !

SMH

What ‘opinions’ do you want ?…..how about rather spending some time to actually STUDY blockchain and the incredible new way of life this will become, instead of seeking ‘opinions’

Really, the level of ignorance displayed here sometimes is mind boggling

@Realitybites.

NOWHERE did I insinuate that BLOCKCHAIN technology itself is suspect! I said that crypto can also be cleverly utilised by Ponzi-scamsters (which will also appeal more to the Gen Z /Centennials) thus hiding the scheme better. As you state, few people understand blockchain, and not everyone understand the clever cloaking of a ponzi scheme either. The less understanding of a Ponzi’s workings = the better for scamster. Thus, combine these two elements, and you have even richer pickings 😉

Opinions you say? No need to shake your head, as you’ve provided me NOTHING in respect of “KBC” Karatgold Coin as a crypto, i.e. whether it’s a s**tcoin or not.

The “Reality” 😉 is, you’ve provided VERY LITTLE additional information. C’mon, apply some on your own critical thinking…

(Off topic, Blockchain tech is great and holds a lot of promise, provided proof-of-work validation method’s energy consumption can be made environmentally sustainable in the long-term i.r.o climate change. In the end, the globe will use a huge amount of electricity, to maintain shared-ledger histories. Blockchain still in its infancy & improved solutions to power-consumption will hopefully be found, like more Proof-of-Stake methods.)

Michael from Klerksdorp,

Agreed.

Just a suggestion that a MW Journo, do some investigation and reporting into this Karat / Gold / Bar / Coins. I have not seen anything on MW about this or any other brand of Crypto Gold. I have literally heard about it as well as being harassed by school colleagues that I have not seen in 20 years on Whatsapp. Apparently the commission they earn is very large and of all things is paid via a Woolsworth Card so as to avoid exchange control regulations (not my belief or opinion, this is what is said). In my opinion that this is said as well as that there is huge excitement created with promises of huge returns and that recent price movements run contrary to the Gold Price is extremely concerning. So maybe some sober investigative journalism is needed before this becomes a huge story and not after.

@MichaelfromKlerksdorp wrote:

” I said that crypto can also be cleverly utilised by Ponzi-scamsters (which will also appeal more to the Gen Z /Centennials) thus hiding the scheme better”

So can any other financial instrument …but your reference specifically to the newer generations holds water [ although you did not specify this in your orig comment above ]…however,in that case then, it can ALSO apply to the OLDER gens [ Baby Boomers/GenX ] as they understand crypto even less !

“Opinions you say? No need to shake your head, as you’ve provided me NOTHING in respect of “KBC” Karatgold Coin as a crypto, i.e. whether it’s a s**tcoin or not.”

There are literally THOUSANDS of ‘alt coins’ out there……all with varying degrees of validity..and some, as you say, ‘s**tcoins’

Take your pick then

If anything, and you are interested in a true ‘currency’ as it was intended before the banksters got involved [ ie,a receipt for gold, which money originally was ], look into Kinesis

Even then, BTC is a ‘gold standard’ for now and has already a strong track record – look into why its so valuable [ very similar to actual gold, as it also requires ‘mining’, is limited etc etc…please see all my history of previous Moneyweb comments regarding this over the years ]

And, if you want some recommendations, then research Andreas Antonopolous – any single one of his videos will be a ‘golden nugget’ [ excuse the pun ] in your arsenal of knowledge

Sorry ‘MichaelfromKlerksdorp’, its just that I have been defending BTC/crypto for so long and its just due to the MSM and its smear campaign that is wearing thin now

They hate it, because its going to steal their lunch

And whats strange, is that FIAT [ esp fractional reserve banking ] as a system is so so flawed, yet 99% of the unwashed masses dont even realise it !!

But yet, they quick to denigrate BTC [ only because they have been so brainwashed, and dont even UNDERSTAND how fiat works due to sheer apathy ]

Makes no sense what so ever !

*lol* No, you don’t have to “defend crypto” for my behalf….I’m well aware crypto is here to stay (besides, I think it will even evolve into even more practically useful greaterdom, as we progress.)

Thanks…I enjoyed the Kinesis Money (KVT) website, with their KAU and KAG “mints”. So far good independent ratings (at first glance). I will try to research if they are really backed by silver or gold(?), as the fashion these days among some cryptos, with the aim to try and instill trust.
However, with anything in the crypto sphere….it’s a dime a dozen (you even said it), with the next best program pushing the current kid off the stage. The number of Altcoins must run into their thousands, with many obscured into the masses.

Your comment about “there’s thousands of Altcoins with varying degrees of validity, incl s**tcoins / “Take your pick”….is NOT a comforting remark about the whole crypto sphere 🙁

I agree on the point the traditional bankers see crypto as a existential threat to their business (but I think banks can possibly apply crypto to their advantage, anything that has to do with ledgers. A Bank IS a ledger after all 😉
However, in the same way the formal banking sector protects their bacon, one will ALSO have pro-crypto people having their own vested interest: earning a living / income from it.
I’m one of those sceptics with a capital-S 😉 I try to over-analyse things. No ponzi scheme will likely con me…can sniff it a mile away (whether it’s traditional ponzi, or wrapped in crypto)…it’s got the same human behaviour signature written over it.

The article originally was about Ponzi schemes. Neverthless, glad we took it further…and I can learn from critical thinkers like yourself 😉 Also beware all the conspiracy theorists on the web telling you FIAT will fail, and crypto will survive…they all have their monetary agenda.

Have you transferred the bulk of the Pension/Retirement Fund/life savings into KVT as yet???

(Here’s some critical thinking: governments around the world operate on an Income Tax system of some sorts, be it residence based, source based or territorial. If EVERYONE goes into crypto, pension funds, payroll, all the shops…literally everything (the banking system is gone as we know it.) World governments will be unable to tax citizens as everything is in crypto, right? HOW will tax be collected for the normal function of society as we know it? Think governments will allow it? I’ll leave this answer for you as a critical thinker….

@MichaelfromKlerksdorp wrote:

“Conspiracy-theory addicts are easy meat for crypto-scamsters, where the former make the latter believe that the FIAT money system will “hit the fan sometime in the future” ”

Actually, the SHTF ‘conspiracy theorists’ in this case are 100% correct…and its even becoming an accepted viewpoint in the mainstream financial system if you not aware yet

Michael,lets use some basic common sense here – if the system keeps printing money like toilet paper as it has been doing for decades now to prop itself up, where do you think this is heading ??

Let me make it easy for you – to keep the financial system afloat [ as its got more leaks than a boat made from cheese ], NEGATIVE yielding debt issued in the world has ballooned to $15 TRILLION !

Yes, you read right – 15 TRILLION …USD… !!

To add to this tinderbox, in this latest round of QE [as that is in effect what it is ], most of the debt struggled to find takers !!

Now, remember, this QE at NEGATIVE INTEREST rates is the equivalent of me going to a party, offering to loan you R1m, and after a few years you only have to pay me back LESS THAN WHAT I HAVE LOANED YOU !

Huh ???

You would think I’m drunk, right ?

And, yet, even worse, did you know all the major players didnt even take this offer up this time around like they did in the past !!??

Why you ask ?

Well, they KNOW that this whole shenanigans will IMPLODE like the house of cards its built on, and what they holding in their hands will be worth less than that proverbial toilet paper you wipe your bum with every morning !!

So, to make it clear for you – the central banks offered to GIVE money away, and the major players didnt even want it

Michael, are the smoke signals getting a little clearer now ???

PS….a LOT of ‘conspiracy theories’ are slowly revealing to be true – instead, maybe you should spend some more time investigating them a little more from now on

Challenging the mainstream narrative can provide some great insight to what lurks beneath my friend

@MichaelfromKlerksdorp..wrote:

“Your comment about “there’s thousands of Altcoins with varying degrees of validity, incl s**tcoins / “Take your pick”….is NOT a comforting remark about the whole crypto sphere”

Sure…..but the same can be said about the stock market too !

Plenty plenty sh*t shares out there…possibly run into the millions now with the way stock markets are going ?

This was my point from the beginning

“(but I think banks can possibly apply crypto to their advantage, anything that has to do with ledgers. A Bank IS a ledger after all

@MichealfromKlerksdorp wrote

“(but I think banks can possibly apply crypto to their advantage, anything that has to do with ledgers. A Bank IS a ledger after all

But these people have bank accounts… Our banks are letting us down… Where is FICA?… Such accounts should be closed after one day’s deposits and reported to the fraud investigation authourities, but they are complicit too in the sense that they allow the money to run to millions before the accounts are frozen. Due to the fractional banking principle for every R1 million in the frozen funds the bank can lend R10 million. The investor has just been screwd as it happens all the time.

The banks are not the regulators. Another ‘but but mai fractional banking’ youtube clowns. Your big ‘revelation’ is nothing new.

@Anything wrote:

“Another ‘but but mai fractional banking’ youtube clowns”

Well, the number of people who are aware of the huge banking fraud going on now are probably only in the 1% minority

So, not sure why you are attacking ‘Boombang’ then and calling him a clown ?

Why so much anger from you ? [ are you feeling offended because you might be working for a bank LoL !? ]

“Your big ‘revelation’ is nothing new.”

Well, its a fact that the masses are totally clueless

So, on this thread where we discuss financial systems, Boombang’s comment is actually very relevant, as it holds true

In that case, please dont get upset because the truth hurts, thank you

In grade 2 I was taught that 20% per month is equal to 20 x 12 = 240% per annum. It always amazes me that educated people don’t know that. Even the people that read these articles. Guys they are offering 240%. The government must close this company today and not tomorrow because some educated and uneducated people will be caught. Why does the government allow these people to operate in SA?????

“The government must close this company today and not tomorrow because some educated and uneducated people will be caught. Why does the government allow these people to operate in SA?????”

…. becuase they benefit, Proceeds of crime are forfeited to the state. Who is the benefector of crime in real terms?

@Boombang wrote:

“becuase they benefit, Proceeds of crime are forfeited to the state. Who is the benefector of crime in real terms?”

To an extent, yes, you are correct

In fact, banks are one of the biggest thug cartels

But we all knew that already, right ?

20% pm return or even more, is possible in the crypto space, but to make a promise of a return is a strong signal of a ponzi scheme.

When we perform our due diligence on crypto projects, this is one of the first characteristics we look for in declining to participate.

Rule 1:
Always take a huge circle around crypto projects that promise or guarantee a return.

Sorry, here is my old joke again:

I have noticed that not many people are taking advantage of this product, and I was initially quite sceptical myself, because the contribution is not tax deductible (unlike a retirement fund contribution), and R5 000 is not a large amount of money – so I wondered if it is really worth it……until I started to do the maths properly, and now I am convinced that this is a good option as a supplement to your long term tax and pension planning.

End of Joke

He who knows where the pot of gold is, tells no one. Says me.

Shocking and the FSB won’t lift a finger until thousands of people have lost their life savings…

How many times can people lose their life savings! I thought we would’ve run out of people by now!

I agree with ‘jblack’. Haven’t everyone learned by now? Ponzi-schemes should be allowed to continue, as it provides better financial education to people in their lifetimes, than the school, technicon or varsity 😉

Maybe it’s funded from his 20% share in the accumulated overtime of the Nigerian astronaut on the secret space station…

I’ve seen something similar with MyWealthMethod. Who does one contact to stop this kind of thing before it hurts too many people?

Loads of schemes and scams, also Bitcoin scams.
In a well known SA advertising platform there was an ad where you can invest R50k and then receive R10k for 60 months.

Bernie Made-Off with loads of money.
It fascinates me how quickly someone can convince someone to invest even ‘if it looks to good to be true’.

Just remember that Monopoly is played with fake money. Anybody who thinks they can beat the market by investing in this scam needs help.
Unfortunately, this transparent scam is aimed at the financial illiterates, the desperate and the poor, unlike Tannenbaum, whose scheme was well modulated to entice the very wealthy.

Is there going to be an article every time you find one of these schemes? Because there are not enough keyboards in the country to type them up.

@Anything….you are correct actually

Probably more likely another attempt to tar and feather cryptocurrency ?

It only mostly gets bad press from the MSM, besides the obvious ‘ Bitcoin Skyrockets….or Bitcoin Plunges !!!’ drivel

Well, if you lot act like clowns, then you will be depicted as such.

Ponzi-schemes should be allowed to continue, as it’s one of life’s best financial education tools, that the school or varsity cannot teach.

Also no one really looses OUT…..it’s merely an “exchange”: YOU EXCHANGE YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY FOR ACQUIRING WISDOM (…and wisdom cannot be measured in money)

I recently asked Tokkie a few pertinent questions about the company eg. Where is the money invested, a request for client testimonials, who are the Directors. Refer below his emailed response to me:

“You certainly don’t trust us because of all the questions.

Because of IP and our T&C’s we won’t be able to entertain your business.”

Not true that commercial banks can offer at best 5
%pa. Bidvest offered 8.9% for a fixed deposit last year. However, agree this deal looks totally dodge and will end in tears…

This sounds like the ideal investment vehicle for our NHI funds. LOL. Quick returns, ama-zing.

This will be the trend of Ponzi’s for the while…cryptocurrency as the underlying asset relying on investors FOMO and a mediocre performing stock exchange.
Herman Pretorius’s Relative Arbitrage Fund used Platinum (which was all the rage then) as the underLYING asset.

By the time the relevant body, whether it be the FSCA or Reserve Bank has looked into it..money will already be lost although anyone can see right now from the high returns without explaination that this is Ponzi

@Moneyweb : We’ve noticed you keep editing my full reply to ‘MichaelfromKlerksdorp’

I am posting it here again in its entirety – kindly refrain from censoring [ as it only reveals that there must be an element of truth here that is making you uncomfortable ? ]

If you censor it again here, then you are in effect confirming that MW does not stand for freedom of speech

Here goes:

@MichaelfromKlerksdorp..wrote:

“(but I think banks can possibly apply crypto to their advantage, anything that has to do with ledgers. A Bank IS a ledger after all

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