Hawks hold SA preacher for al­leged links to in­ter­na­tional get-rich-quick in­vest­ment scam

Daily Dispatch - - News - JEFF WICKS

Um­lazi-born fugi­tive Den­nis Jali – hunted down by au­thor­i­ties in SA and in the US for al­legedly de­fraud­ing in­vestors in a get-rich-quick scheme – finds him­self squarely in the crosshairs of the law.

The 34-year-old, who had been sought by the Hawks since March 2018 for his al­leged links to an in­vest­ment scam, was ar­rested late in Au­gust.

Af­ter an ap­pear­ance in the Jo­han­nes­burg Spe­cialised Com­mer­cial Crime Court last week, the preacher and al­leged con­man was re­leased on R30,000 bail.

His first brush with au­thor­i­ties can be traced back to his in­volve­ment in an in­vest­ment busi­ness ven­ture dubbed SA Uber­part­ners, later re­named SA Smart Part­ners. The scheme was built on the premise that in­vestors would pay large tranches of cash to Jali and his co­horts, who promised large weekly div­i­dends in re­turn.

The Sowe­tan re­ported that Vicky Net­shim­bupfe, of Ger­mis­ton, and her daugh­ter in­vested R160,000. Since 2017 they had been de­mand­ing re­funds. Net­shim­bupfe’s con­tract that she signed with the firm stated she would earn R20,325 a week.

It is bizarre that a lo­cal fraud­ster was able to take his scheme to the United States of Amer­ica and al­legedly swin­dle Amer­i­cans out of their money.

It is un­der­stood that when irked in­vestors were not paid promised re­turns, they came call­ing for their money back. Jali moved shop to the US, where he es­tab­lished a com­pany called Ac­cess 2 As­sets. The com­pany, styled as a forex trad­ing firm, had in­vestors hand over their dol­lars with the prom­ise of enor­mous re­turns.

One Mary­land woman, who spoke to Times Se­lect on con­di­tion of anonymity, said she’d been wooed by the “charm­ing” church­man, who promised that his scheme would enrich strug­gling black Amer­i­cans.

“To in­vest we had to pay $5,000 [R73,506] and he gave us 10% of our in­vest­ment each month. Af­ter a few months, I gave him $100,000 [R1.47m] and I was to re­ceive 33%,” she said.

The woman claims she never re­ceived any div­i­dend pay­ment for her lump-sum in­vest­ment.

“His prom­ise was to help poor black peo­ple get ahead, pri­mar­ily God-fear­ing Chris­tians, and he used his Chris­tian­ity against us,” she claimed.

She said Jali would en­tice in­vestors by stag­ing plush ban­quets with ex­pen­sive food, but the scheme un­rav­elled when div­i­dend cheques started bounc­ing.

Times Se­lect has ob­tained cor­re­spon­dence Jali sent to his US clien­tele, in which he in­sisted that a bank­ing glitch was be­hind the non-pay­ment.

“We want to thank ev­ery­one that has been pa­tiently sup­port­ive of the com­pany. We do, how­ever, want to ex­press that in­ter­na­tional laws and reg­u­la­tions slow things down when it comes to money be­ing moved from coun­try to coun­try,” he wrote.

The woman, along with two independen­t sources with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, con­firmed that Jali was also un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the FBI. The FBI could not be reached for com­ment by the time of pub­lish­ing.

Pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor Chad Thomas, of IRS In­ves­ti­ga­tions, said he had been com­mis­sioned to trace Jali by some of his SA in­vestors.

“Con­sid­er­ing that Jali was wanted in SA and his par­tic­u­lars had been cir­cu­lated in both the main­stream media as well as on so­cial media, it is sur­pris­ing that he was able to travel over­seas and con­vince peo­ple in an­other coun­try to also in­vest their hard-earned money in a scheme,” said Thomas.

Hawks spokesper­son Ndi­vhuwo Mu­lamu con­firmed that Jali was col­lared by de­tec­tives, wield­ing a court war­rant on charges of fraud and theft, late last month. She said the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Author­ity was in the process of col­lat­ing a raft of charges against him.

Ef­forts to con­tact Jali were un­suc­cess­ful be­fore the time of pub­lish­ing.

DEN­NIS JALI

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