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BCSC warns investors against pyramid scheme type ‘split games’

Vancouver (October 25, 2019) – The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) warns investors against ‘split games’ which operate on the principle of pyramid schemes. The virtual ‘shares’ are primarily sold in the Lower Mainland’s Chinese community by FullCarry and International Money Tree (IMT). The BCSC alleges that the shares are not backed by any underlying asset. The outcome of the so-called ‘split games’ depend on – in the manner of a classic pyramid scheme – the recruitment of new investors. The ‘shares’ are supposed to increase in value as more buyers are recruited. The commission alerts investors that they could lose their entire investment.

The BCSC issued an investor alert against so-called ‘split games’ in a statement on October 22. The commission explains that ‘Split games’ work on a pyramid scheme. The promoters sell virtual ‘shares’ which are allegedly not backed by any underlying assets. The BCSC first learned of these schemes through its online complaint form.

They are marketed and sold primarily in the Lower Mainland’s Chinese community by FullCarry (formerly known as Furuida Global or FRD Global) and International Money Tree (IMT) among others. The commission stated that FullCarry claims to be incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and that it is based in Dubai. IMT purports that they are operating from Singapore, where its headquater is located.

The promoted virtual ‘shares’ can only be bought and sold on an online portal specific to each game. The investments are supposed to increase in value as more buyers are recruited. Apparently, the shares never lose their overall value. When the price reaches a certain threshold, the shares split and return to their original price. The promoters claim that the repeating cycle of rising demand and share-splitting is the key to lucrative wins.

However, the number of shares, users can convert to conventional currency, is limited and there is a 10 percent transaction fee for selling shares. The focus lies – complying with the pyramid scheme principal – on recruiting more participants. Hence, buyers are given bonuses for each additional person they and their recruits bring into the game.

Doug Muir, the BCSC’s Director of Enforcement, explains the commission’s concerns against the game’s business model: ‘Whenever someone promises high returns with little or no risk, that’s a warning sign. These split games, like other pyramid schemes, depend on more and more people buying in. You could easily lose your entire investment.’

The BCSC urges anyone who has information about a split game, or is approached to invest in one, to contact the BCSC Inquiries line at 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 or to file a complaint online.