Over 13,000 people have been reportedly defrauded of about N27b in Cross River state after a Ponzi scheme operating under the name, Micheno Multipurpose Cooperative Society (MMCS), shutdown without paying depositors.
Vanguard reported that the founder of the scheme, Michael Eke, has reportedly been in hiding since his office closed.
The newspaper states that MMCS which launched in Calabar in June 2018 and had been attracting patronage from residents of the city numbering about 13,000.
The scheme promised depositors of N100,000 and additional N50,000 at the end of 40 days, and those who deposit N150,000 would get N300,000 at the same period
It said a deposit of N1 million would earn a N500,000 profit at the end of the same period while deposits above N1 million would be calculated in N1 million units.
Convinced about the prospects of high returns on investments, some of the depositors were said to have invested their life savings while others reportedly deposited their gratuities, which run into millions with the hope of reaping bountifully.
But depositors were said to be shocked at the end of the 40 days when they got far less than they expected while over 13,000 others did not get anything and have since not heard from the operators of the scheme in the past one month while the office in Calabar has remained shut.
The scheme was said to have started as a Swiss marketing company on WhatsApp before it grew to after testimonies of spread about benefits of joining the scheme.
“I have N33 million stocks with the scheme. It may not be much compared to what others have but this has destabilised my life and turned me to mad woman with no bearing and I have lost interest in life and work,” a depositor, Edna Nzegu, said.
Some of the depositors alleged that a Calabar-based comedian, MC Mbakara, had connived with the scheme to convince them in investing their money by promoting the it on his WhatsApp thread and website.
But Mbakara, speaking from an undisclosed location, said he was not part of the company even when he was appointed vice president of the scheme by Eke. He said he was a brand ambassador of the scheme.