Two men, both 45 years old, who allegedly ran a Toronto-based pyramid scheme that netted more than $126 million Canadian Dollars… that’s $93 Million USD… from people around the world were arrested on Tuesday morning, 8 December and now face fraud charges. The men, Christopher George Smith, of Toronto, and Rajir Dixit, of Vancouver allegedly funneled the money into off-shore accounts, police said. As is now common in many of these reports, one of those countries is Belize. The two men, one of whom is from Toronto while the other is from Vancouver, face five charges each, including defrauding the public and operating a pyramid scheme. Police Detective, Sgt. Ian Nichol told Canadian media that the suspects operated the online advertising company Banners Brokers between October 2010 and March 2013. Banners Broker website was shut down in 2014. Some $45 million US of the total was paid back to early participants in what was clearly a Pyramid scheme. The remaining millions were moved to offshore accounts in Belize, St. Lucia and other small countries, police allege.
Det. Sgt. Ian Nichol, Toronto Police Dept: It’s alleged that between Oct. 2010 and March 2013, a pyramid scheme known as Banner’s Broker, was operated by the accused out of Toronto. The scheme offered participants the opportunity to double their money by investing in an advertising company that had access to a globally renowned network. Participants were led to believe that their investments we’re being applied towards a program that offered payment for direction of web traffic via referral links. It is alleged that the programs existence were entirely dependent upon the fee based entry of new subscribers. Little or no actual product or services were provided. It’s alleged that new investors were drawn to the scheme using false and misleading representations. It is further alleged that by the end of 2012 over $US93M was obtained via the scheme and participants from worldwide. Approximately $45M was paid out to early participants, the remained of which was funneled to accounts in Belize, St. Lucia, Cyprus as well as others.
The company maintained its head office in the Isle of Man and had far-flung offices in Ireland and India. Thousands of victims lost hundreds and even thousands of dollars each, and it’s doubtful they’ll get any money back. The Banners Brokers Pyramid Scheme is largest fraud case in the History of Canada.