Gardaí probe claim pyramid scheme woman threatened

GARDAÍ have interviewed a number of people in relation to claims by a woman operating a controversial pyramid scheme that she was threatened in her own home by angry investors.

Last night, Superintendent Pat Maher, based in Clonakilty, West Cork, said statements were taken over the weekend in relation to the incident.

The woman, who lives in Clonakilty, but is not from the town, was running a scheme known as “Speedball” in which up to 180 people had invested €1,000 each. Yesterday, one of the investors claimed just 11 people had got a return on their investment, amounting to €88,000, but the remainder of the money (€92,000) had gone missing.

Supt Maher appealed to investors to lodge formal complaints that funds had been misappropriated, if they believed this was the case. He said no such complaint had been made to date.

One investor, who bought in to the scheme in the hope of making money for treatment of a brain tumour, dismissed claims they had threatened the woman in her own home.

“I spoke to the woman last Thursday morning when I heard the scheme had gone bust, but she assured me it hadn’t. I rang her again during the day but could get no answer. Eventually I went around to her house on Thursday night and there was a group of about 20-30 people in her kitchen.

“There was no violence, no threats. Everyone just wanted their €1,000 investment back, she was cornered verbally, but not physically.”

The investor said the woman made a number of claims including that the money had been stolen by another promoter of the scheme, but the person she named denied this. The investor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the woman also claimed money had been transferred to Bantry to bail out schemes there, but this was dismissed by promoters there. No one seems to know where the €92,000 has gone.

The investor said they remained at the woman’s home until close to midnight and the woman offered to show them her bank balance to prove she did not have the funds. They accompanied her to the ATM machine where there was no sign of the money. The woman then went to the garda station in Clonakilty and made a formal complaint. Supt Maher said at no stage had the gardaí been called to the woman’s house.

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