4 women charged in court with cheating pawnshops to redeem gold linked to Genneva investment scam

Under a buyback scheme between 2008 and 2012, Genneva sold gold bars to customers and promised returns of up to 36 per cent on customers' investments with the company over a contract period.
Under a buyback scheme between 2008 and 2012, Genneva sold gold bars to customers and promised returns of up to 36 per cent on customers' investments with the company over a contract period.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Four women were charged in court on Tuesday (Oct 1) with cheating pawnshops to redeem gold linked to an investment scam.

Police said in a statement on Tuesday that the women, aged between 36 and 52, were agents of Genneva, a gold investment company that sold gold bars under a buyback scheme between 2008 and 2012.

Under the scheme, Genneva sold gold bars to customers and promised returns of up to 36 per cent on customers' investments with the company over a contract period.

Customers were subsequently told to deposit the gold bars with the company for inspection purposes and were promised an equivalent quantity of gold after three working days.

Genneva is believed to have collected around 3,500kg of gold from its customers, and the four agents pawned 31kg of the gold collected from customers.

They eventually redeemed the gold by allegedly deceiving the pawnshops that they lost the pawn tickets.

The women were charged in court with cheating, dishonestly inducing delivery of property and money laundering offences.

 
 
 
 

If found guilty of cheating, they can be fined and jailed for up to 10 years.

If convicted of money laundering, they can be fined up to $500,000, jailed for up to 10 years, or both.

Genneva was at the centre of a controversial operation around the late 2000s and early 2010s. It was estimated that more than 10,000 investors may have been affected when the company went bust and key company personnel went missing.

In February this year, the Commercial Affairs Department arrested two men - Genneva's former general manager and former head of operations - with the help of the Royal Malaysia Police. Both were reported to face court charges.

The Straits Times has contacted the police for information on how and when the four women were arrested.