… RMA freezes accounts of promoters 

Choki Wangmo

Despite repeated announcements from the agencies concerned, many Bhutanese, mostly in the rural parts of the country continue to join the Tallwin Ponzi scheme in droves. 

The propagators of the fraudulent scheme that promises quick and high financial returns boast about 300,000 members across the country. 

They use WeChat and Telegram groups to recruit more members, spreading disinformation about digital mining assets. Edited video clips of digital assets recently announced by Druk Holding Investments and His Majesty The King’s speeches on digital transformation are shared in these groups.  

A resident of Laya, Zam joined the scheme despite her husband’s warnings. With her friend’s insistence, she invested Nu 2,700 and joined as her friend’s down liner. Every night, she sits by the bukhari to listen to the voice chats on these groups with the hope that she can earn Nu 150,000 as she was promised.    

A few screenshots of transactions were sent to the group. The promoters then talk about how those who did not join the scheme were missing out on great opportunities to earn. 

Like Zam, the scheme has taken over many people in Laya. Whole family members were found to be members of this Multi-Level Marketing scheme. There are six types of income in the Tallwin Life Income Plan- sponsor bonus, boosting board income, team-building bonus, team promotion bonus, team performance bonus, and auto pool income.

She was told that she can walk out of the scheme with Nu 6,000 if she had four down liners. 

“With each down liner paying Nu 2,700, they earn more than Nu 10,000 from four members. They ensure that they don’t run into losses. I regret the decision,” the mother of two said.

The official announcements made by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) have a lesser impact on the people living in far-flung areas. Without access to the right information, they had been easily lured to invest in the scheme by influential people and friends.

The admin of the Wechat group, ‘Golden Mom’ tells women how the scheme would provide an easy life for women who are “financially deprived and weak.”

In June, RMA reminded the public to refrain from participating in or propagating the scheme. 

“The Financial Intelligence Department of the Authority has frozen several bank accounts of the individuals involved or propagating the scheme to the general populace,” the public announcement stated.

The promoters will be further investigated according to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing of Terrorism Act of Bhutan 2018.

Such practices violate Section 11 of the Financial Service Act 2011 which states that individuals cannot offer financial services without the proper licence. 

The Office of Consumer Protection reportedly did not receive official complaints against the scheme, but they had a few people who walked in complaining about the scheme.