Guest writer, lawyer Kenneth Seet Wan Zheng, explains how you can recover your money invested in an illegal money game.
The JJPTR buzz may be gone, but the money game craze remains.
If you haven’t heard about JJPTR, know this: It stands for ‘JJ Poor to Rich’, an investment scheme which claimed to have lost millions of investors’ money due to hacking.
The directors are currently being investigated under the Penal Code for ‘cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property’. The police are also looking into possible charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities 2001.
Also, the Bank Negara has recently added 14 companies onto the list of unauthorised and illegal companies and websites. One of it is Mama Captain International. The company denies being a money game. Not only that, it says that the company is growing with 70 signups every month.
Imagine how much money have been lost to money games throughout the whole of Malaysia to date, if these two bus drivers have lost RM60,000 in a year alone.
As you can see, despite the risks, the money game industry is still going strong.
But what happens when you found out that the company you invested in is suspected of being involved in money laundering? Would you be able to recover the money you invested?
First of all, yes, forfeiture may happen…
[!] Buzzword: Forfeit means lose or be deprived of (property or a right or privilege) as a penalty for wrongdoing.
Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities 2001 (“AMLATFA”) gives the Court power to forfeit property that is obtained from money laundering or any unlawful activity.
Where the property is forfeited, it belongs to the Government. And yes, even if the director of the company was not found guilty and has been acquitted of money laundering offence.
But not all hope is lost! You stand a chance to stop the forfeiture in show cause proceedings.
The purpose is to notify anyone who claims to have an interest in the property to attend Court, to ‘show cause’ (give reasons) as to why the property shall not be forfeited.
Hence, it is important for the claimant (the one who seeks to prevent the forfeiture) to keep up with the development of the case and check the Gazette from time to time. ‘Not being aware’ of the Gazette is not an excuse to miss out on Court, since the Gazette gives sufficient notice to the public at large.
What is required of a claimant to prove to the Court?
The show cause proceeding is quasi-criminal in nature, so the claimant must prove the requirements. He must prove that he is a bona fide third party who is entitled to the property by fulfilling all the requirements under Section 61(4) of the Act.
[!] Buzzword: Bona fide means genuine or without the intention to deceive/cheat.
The claimant who seeks to prevent the forfeiture needs to show that:
(A) He has a legitimate legal interest in the property.
To do so, he may produce copies of cheques, statement of account, remittance forms or receipts and any documentation relating to the investment.
It may also be an agreement which shows that the claimant’s money has been given to the company for investment, and that the property in question can be traced back to the claimant.
(B) He DID NOT participate, collude or was not involved in the money laundering offence.
Being directly or indirectly involved in the business itself may equate to participation, collusion or involvement in the offence.
As an example, the claimants in Lim Long Yew & Ors; Md Sukri Shahudin & Ors (Third Parties) v. PP  2 CLJ 594 had failed to fulfil this requirement because they became dealers in the business and built a downline to earn profits.
This is why cases are important! Read: Here’s How Shotguns and Snails Changed The Law Forever
(C) He ‘lacked knowledge’ and was NOT ‘intentionally ignorant’ to the fact that the property was used illegally.
The claimant has to show that he was a victim who knew nothing or did not turn a blind eye to the illegal use of money by the company.
(D) He did not obtain any right in the property from the alleged person, which could be reasonably inferred to have been done to avoid the forfeiture.
(E) He did all that is reasonably expected to prevent the illegal use of the property.
The claimant has to show that, from time to time, he has taken proper steps to find out about the company’s status and the use of his money. He may verify with the authorities as to whether the scheme is legit or not.
The Court in Lim Long Yew said that it is not enough for the claimant to merely check the Bank Negara Malaysia (“BNM”)’s website as to whether or not the company was blacklisted. The claimant should also have checked with the BNM officers and whether there is any written authorization for the investment scheme.
So, as long as you are able to fulfil all the requirements under the above section, AMLATFA could assist you in recovering the money. Also since there are so many bad stories surrounding money games, it’s wise to be careful about how and where you invest your money too.
Kenneth Seet is contactable at +6017 362 2584 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need legal advice on financial investments? CanLaw also runs an online lawyer-discovery platform that connects clients to lawyers in just a few simple steps. Check it out now!