SINGAPORE - An investor in a pyramid selling scheme which left thousands of Singaporeans out of pocket has been fined $120,000 after he admitted helping to promote it.
Chin Ming Kam, 45, organised seminars to promote Maxim Trader, an international "fund management" scheme run by financial trading firm Maxim Capital, which collected more than $50 million from over 2,000 investors here before ceasing operations.
Chin had 53 people directly under him who invested a total of about US$755,000 (S$1 million), and as a result he earned US$75,500 in commission for referring them to the scheme.
However, in July 2015, investors received information that it would cease operating in Singapore, and later found they were unable to recover their investments or obtain returns.
Police were alerted.
Cases against two Singaporean alleged accomplices - Goh Seow Mooi, 60, and Andrew Lim Ann Hoe, 61 - are pending.
The court heard that Maxim Trader allowed investors to delegate trading decisions to Maxim Capital.
Investment packages ranged from US$1,000 to US$30,000, with investors promised 3 to 8 per cent monthly returns with a lock-in period of 18 months and a capital guarantee. There were no policies for refunds.
Individuals who wished to invest would have to be referred by an existing investor via the Maxim Trader website, which required a referral ID to register.
The court heard that Maxim Trader was promoted via seminars and events, and that Chin and Goh organised at least 13 such seminars between May 2014 and July 2015.
Existing investors were invited to take along friends and other interested individuals.
The total amount of losses directly attributed to Chin was unclear. Court documents stated that he is "self employed".
Offenders convicted of promoting a pyramid selling scheme can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $200,000.