14 Oct 2003

Solomons chief magistrate says possibly 50,000 duped by scam

6:22 pm on 14 October 2003

As many as one-in-eight Solomon Islanders may have lost money in a scam which swept through the country last year.

Five people in Solomon Islands have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud over the Family Charitable Fund scam, which took several millions of dollars off Solomon Islanders.

The scam promised people massive returns after a just a few months if they contributed a minimum of 25 US dollars.

Solomon Islands' chief magistrate, David Chetwynd, says some paid ten times that amount.

"The evidence seems to suggest that actually there was about 25-thousand people involved, possibly more. One figure bandied around, and I don't know how true it was, was 50-thousand people and they were required to contribute 250 dollars so yes massive sums."

Solomon Islands' chief magistrate, David Chetwynd.

The five people convicted today will be sentenced in two weeks.