The long arm of the law has caught up with two high flying Durban bankers who allegedly ran a multi-million rand Ponzi Scheme that defrauded scores of pensioners and retirees across South Africa.
Brandon Naicker aka Muruvan Egambaram and Jason Pillay who ran an insurance brokerage firms called Infiniti and Branson Capital, respectively, have appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court for allegedly defrauding an investor of R2 million.
Both men were remanded into custody and sent to Westville Prison until their formal bail application on November 15, KwaZulu-Natal NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson confirmed.
The case before the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court was registered at the Hillcrest police station after the dogged pursuit of the men by a victim who had invested more than R2 million into the scheme by the pair.
It is one of more than 160 such cases currently being investigated by the Hawks that is estimated to be around R180 million.
IOL recently exposed the scheme that was allegedly master-minded by Naicker who on his social media claimed to be a “serial entrepreneur” who has launched several successful businesses in the financial sector, among them, a registered Financial Services Provider insurance brokerage firm called Infinitii.
Naicker, whose legal first names are Muruvan Egambaram, says that starting Infinitii, in turn led him to acquire a Sanlam franchise brokerage (Nalai BlueStar), which was one of only 190 in the country.
He was also a shareholder in another brokerage firm called Branson Capital which he ran with Jason Pillay, who on his LinkedIn Profile called himself the owner of Branson Capital.
Their companies, Infinitii and Branson Capital, boasted slick websites.
However police believe that the pair are at the centre of a massive Ponzi scheme scandal estimated at R180 million that primarily targeted pensioners and retirees.
These included retired teachers, police officers and businesspeople, robbing them of their hard-earned life savings.
Police are investigating at least 160 cases where individual investors poured their entire life savings and pensions in the scheme run by Naicker and Pillay who promised them lucrative returns.
Investors were promised up to 3% dividends per month on their initial investment with Branson Capital which they were assured was underwritten by Infinitii which had a legitimate FSP registration.
For example, Branson Capital promised that if an investor invested R900,000 with them, they would receive R27,000 a month in returns.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into Infinitii and Branson Capital.
In a response to questions from IOL, the FSCA said that it constantly reminded the public that it should not conduct financial business with unregulated or unregistered entities.
“There are countless scams doing the rounds at any given time and for this reason the public is encouraged to only deal with regulated entities. Unfortunately many members of the public still choose to get involved in schemes promising realistic returns,” the FSCA said.