A ponzi scheme called Tallwin Life Plan is becoming rampant even in rural pockets of the country. The villagers are promised of generating quick and high financial returns by the promoters.
Bhutanese citizens are motivated to invest in a fraudulent scheme and increase the members whose return would be high if one can pool members in the scheme. Many rural residents of Bumthang, Chukha, Paro, Sarpang, Trongsa, Wangduephodrang, Trashigang and Mongar were inspired into the scheme and recruited their own family members under them.
The promoters promote the scheme through different social media platforms. To the villagers, it is mostly communicated through WeChat groups and Telegram for the educated groups.
A 45-year-old man in Trongsa was approached through WeChat by a promoter from Phuentsholing to join the group. The man deposited Nu 2,700 in the scheme. He was asked to recruit new members as his downline to get a bonus. “I was suspicious about the scheme and withdrew from the group. I did not get any update now,” the man said.
As approached by the same promoter, thinking that Nu 2,700 is not much and would be profitable if the Tallwin Life Plan business is not fraudulent, another man from Trongsa only joined the scheme. He tried to pool his downline members but to his dismay, none agreed to join. “I am not sure of this scheme,” he said.
A monk living in Thimphu was also persuaded by one of the promoters from Phuentsholing. Believing in the scheme and hoping for the bonus, he paid Nu 2,700. “I have not much idea of this life scheme business. I did not try to recruit and now I don’t have any idea whether I will get a bonus or not,” he said, adding this must be fraud.
Business Bhutan learned that many women from the rural part of Mongar are into the scheme but they are reluctant to talk fearing they would be in trouble understanding it is an illegal scheme.
Insisted by one of the group leaders, a woman residing in Chukha joined the scheme a few years ago
However, she did not get any bonus. She got only her invested money.
A monk from Chukha is in the scheme and is seen hunting for the new downline recruitment.
A resident of Thimphu, Sonam, was approached by a Tallwin scheme promoter a month ago. He was told to invest Nu 2,700 and was promised a high return of Nu 4,00,000 in 15 months if he can recruit four investors under him. “I was told that even if I cannot recruit anyone, I will get Nu 1,20,000 within 15 months. As a school dropout, he did not understand the legality of the investments, but he was told many rich and influential people are benefitting from the scheme. “I was, in fact, advised to recruit my wife and family members under me.” He invested the money, but was cautious to recruit his wife. “I wanted to see if I get the promised return.” He also could not recruit anyone under him.
The same promoter had approached another Thimphu resident from Tshering’s locality. The driver was, however, skeptical of the high returns and did not invest. While the story of Tallwin promoters approaching people with high returns is the same for many people, not everyone was as cautious as Tshering and the driver.
Meanwhile, the promoters say nobody lost so far and everyone is earning. One of the promoters said, people may think it is a fraud or it could be due to the redundant theory of Ponzi. “Only by joining, one would know whether losing or earning,” the scheme facilitator said.
There could be about hundred thousand Bhutanese in the scheme according to the estimation of some group leaders.
Is Tallwin life real or fake?
Tallwin Life is described as a new technology of making money which is the latest, fully automated and highly secured with latest technology. In the review of Tallwin Life, it is found that it has only one office in the USA. No address is given in its website according to the Super 30 India Group and this company does not follow the Direct Selling (MLM) rule of India.
Neither in Bhutan the Ponzi scheme is registered. The scheme has become so rampant despite people understanding it is unlicensed.
The question is who will protect the innocent villagers when the promoters persuade so hard?
As there would be monetary implication in the country when the system collapses, the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) has cautioned the public to refrain from engaging in investment if any scheme has no genuine products or services sold.
The re-notification issued on 18 November, 2022 by the RMA state that the Bhutanese are still participating in the Ponzi scheme called ‘Tallwin life Plan’ despite the public notification issued on 27th October 2022. RMA has cautioned the public that the scheme is fraudulent investment where earlier investors returns are paid from the contributions of later investors. It requires a constant flow of new money to survive, and the scheme collapses when it is not able to recruit new investors, or when large numbers of existing investors cash out.
“The scheme contravenes Section 11 of Financial Service Act (FSA) 2011 where no person shall offer financial services without obtaining the appropriate license. Non-compliance is punishable under Section 15 of the FSA 2011 and shall be liable for prosecution and be fined the minimum wage at the time of the crime for a period extending from fifteen to thirty years,” the notification stated.
The office of RMA did not get any written complaints from any of the victims so far and there was no way to take action.
Meanwhile, the office of Competition and Consumer Affair Authority is providing information to RMA and helping to investigate.
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu