Aman Futures Group Ponzi Scheme - How to Avoid the Next Scam

This Ponzi scheme is now well-known throughout the country. The media’s news coverage of how Aman Futures Group Philippines, Inc. duped 15,000 Filipinos (mostly in Pagadian) for a whopping 12 billion pesos in total is quite extensive.

No doubt this is a problem that should be dealt with. Not only is it a violation of the law of the land, but the actions of Aman Futures have caused a great deal of suffering to those it victimized.

In its aftermath, we have heard people expressing their opinions as to why this happened, who to blame for it and how to never fall prey to scams in the future. Even the President himself offered some of his suggestions.

While some would argue that “it takes two to tango” (meaning both Aman and those who invested made this problem explode), I would propose that there are actually three critical participants which made this catastrophe possible.
  1. the culprit - Aman Futures
  2. the victims - the investors
  3. the regulators - the government

The Heartless Culprit

First of all, no one would have been swindled if there wasn’t a swindler. Undoubtedly, the people behind Aman Futures were full of greed to come up of with this scam just so they can make themselves rich at the expense of their fellow men and women.

Surely they should be put behind bars to set as an example to would-be swindlers. If they’re able to get away with what they did, it would send the wrong message. The government is right to express their resolve to make sure these people are held accountable.

Of course, it would be naive to think no one would try to take advantage of others ever again after Aman. This type of modus operandi has been done in the past and there is no reason to believe this will be the last. The government will show some teeth for now but they’ve not been known for their consistency.

Where Are the Regulators?

That’s why I believe the government (the regulators) is partly to blame for this as well. There are laws existing in this country that penalizes this kind of behavior, there are institutions which should be looking after the people, there is a process by which businesses are regulated.

Why, despite having all these, Aman was able to operate and thrive is something that the government should explain. They should promise they would take action to prevent Ponzi schemes from operating and actually fulfill that promise.

I don’t think it’s enough to warn people against putting their money in investment schemes like this. The government should be active enough to stop these operations in its infancy. Otherwise, they’re not implementing the law according to their mandate which effectively makes the people vulnerable.

Irrational Exuberance of the People - Were they Greedy?

But of course, we cannot let the people who invested off the hook. After all, they’re the ones who patronized the “business”. However, there may be a number of explanations why they joined. So we should not just lump all of them together in one category. It would be unfair and wrong.

For example, a lot have said that the people who invested were victimized because of their greed. That may be true for some of them but not all of them. Some indeed may have wanted to drive a Toyota Fortuner instead of a Kia or buy a bigger house to show off to their friends.

Our society has grown to worship material things more than ever.  We measure success by how much toys we have and the amount of money we have in the bank. We can easily get envious with what our neighbors and friends have achieved financially and are willing to do what’s possible to earn the same.

A Wrong Way Out of Poverty

But let’s not forget those poor people who risked their life savings not because they were greedy but because they thought their lives would get better. I believe some of them thought it was their ticket out of poverty. I don’t believe that that kind of motivation is the result of greed.

I think that for some, this phenomenon is a manifestation not of people’s greed but of their impatience. They’ve lost their patience with not having a good-paying job to meet their needs. Lost patience waiting for the improvement in their lives. Doesn’t want to wait anymore for things to turn around but to actually do something that’s easy and effective.

It’s quite disheartening to hear that many victims of Aman Futures’ Ponzi scheme are the less-privileged. I happen to think that stealing is a lesser crime compared to murder or rape. But it’s not the case if the victims have very few resources to begin with. Sure, there may have been several rich folks duped also but they are more likely to recover than those who invested what little amount they had.

When poor people struggle to get a better life, it’s gravely immoral to take advantage of them. Just think about the resources they’ve got which were taken away could have been meant for food, medicine or education. The necessities of life that can possibly give them a better future.

Lack of Financial Foundation

Perhaps one antidote that bloggers like me can offer is financial education. I’m confident that if people knew how to think about money wisely, they would not fall prey to Ponzi schemes. They would know what a realistic rate of return is. They would understand how money flows and why you can’t magically make it grow.

So my humble suggestion is for you to bookmark this site, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, sign-up for our newsletter or follow us through email or better yet, tell your friends to do the same. Hopefully, the articles will not only inform you better but also give you fresh insights, which could be useful in your financial decisions now and in the future.

You can even share your own thoughts to help others through your comments.

Photo Credit: jepoirrier (Creative Commons)