(Jamaica Observer) The judge’s order for David Smith to pay US$55 million in restitution and forfeit a US$730,000 house he purchased in 2006 for his sister and brother-in-law, could give hope to investors in his failed ponzi scheme, Olint. Jamaicans are among the 6,000 investors in Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands and in Florida who had approximately US$220 million invested in Smith’s Olint, which was sold to investors as a foreign exchange trader that gave higher returns.
With the sentence of Smith on Thursday in a US federal court to 30 years’ imprisonment, local investors virtually gave up any hope that their money would be returned, as previously promised by Smith. Judge Mary Scriven, according to a Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) report, also ordered that Smith give up an undisclosed amount of gemstones and jewellery. According to the CMC, prosecutors said Smith also agreed to forfeit US$128 million immediately.
Smith was Thursday sentenced to 30 years after pleading guilty to 18 counts of money laundering, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Burnt Jamaican investors, some of whom sold their homes and risked their life savings to invest with a man who could do no wrong in their eyes will, however, have to wait in line until after American investors are reimbursed when the funds are released.On Thursday, the Association of Concerned Olint Members said it “sees the sentence meted out to Mr David Smith as the final blow to any hopes of direct or indirect co-operation from the former Olint boss in the recovery of our money. Three years ago, after his initial arrest Mr Smith made a public commitment to Olint members to return 100 per cent of our money within nine months, if allowed so to do.”