- Take a commodity that is "hot", for instance gold
- Take a business model that resembles a pyramid
- Take a term from a country that is regarded safe, for instance Switzerland
- Open a big office
- Ka Ching!
- And don't forget to get away on time
From the Straits Times (Singapore) two articles, "More than 100 file police report against gold buyback firm" and "High returns, low risk a red flag".
One would guess that people learned from previous cases like the Genneva saga, but apparently not, some snippets:
"On Monday, more than 100 people gathered to make police reports with the Commercial Affairs Department about local investment company Suisse International. They claimed to represent about 250 people who had lost around $35 million to the firm. They had invested in a gold buyback scheme but claim that they have stopped receiving their promised monthly payments, some since as far back as last September."
"Some of the investors had previously bought gold from another firm, Genneva Gold, which was raided by the CAD in 2012, and were eager to sell it off. They were told Suisse International bought and sold gold to turn into novelty coins to be sold at a profit to local or overseas companies."
"The MAS put both the Singapore and Hong Kong arms of Suisse International on its Investor Alert List last November. Both firms are listed with the same Beach Road address. The company offered investors returns of 20 per cent, which financial experts say is unusually high and should have been a red flag. They advise people to do more research to find out what the usual return rates are for various types of investment."
"At first I thought the investment was not bad, there were returns... it looked legitimate, the office in Toa Payoh was so big and I was at the opening of the Johor Bahru office as well," said the retiree who is in his 50s. "But the more we hear, the more we feel we have been very naive. It's a really painful feeling."
"In the wake of the latest alleged gold scam, in which more than 250 investors claim to have lost $35 million, financial experts and consumer watchdogs here urged people to vet a company's track record before investing in it. This includes checking if the firm is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), looking up its data on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority website and scrutinising the firm's financial and audit reports."