More details on that Somali rips-off Somalis in San Diego story

I first told you about this ponzi scheme case here, but here is a more detailed accounting of the same story.  My question is, how on earth did Somali refugees who have been in the US for less than 5 years have millions of dollars to invest with this fellow refugee.  Check out Omar, his initial investment was $10,000 and the next year he came up with $70,000!

Omar, a Somali refugee who arrived in San Diego in 2004, said he learned of the opportunity from worshippers and trusted leaders of the tiny Al-Ansar mosque in City Heights. They assured him that the investment offerings were legitimate and profitable. After all, they’d been promptly receiving their promised payments each month.

So in late 2006 Omar invested an initial $10,000. During the next year, he said he turned over $70,000. More than half came from his personal savings. He borrowed $30,000 from friends and family to become a partner in what the businessman touted as the expansion of his small but highly profitable financial services and money transfer firm.

In mid-2008, payouts slowed. Then, Omar said, they stopped altogether. Omar said he was suspicious but accepted assurances that business would pick up. He gave the businessman money to help open and run a money transfer store in San Jose. When the businessman didn’t show up to a scheduled meeting there, Omar said, he decided to call authorities.

Early last month, he called the Securities and Exchange Commission. After a preliminary investigation, the SEC filed a civil suit accusing Mohamud Ahmed, a Somali immigrant who lives in Spring Valley, of securities fraud.

SEC officials allege that Ahmed lulled Omar and scores of other Somali refugees from City Heights, Seattle, and other cities to turn over more than $3 million to fund a multi-year pyramid scheme.

I guess the lure of easy money overcame any religious convictions the Muslims might have had!  Makes you wonder if some of those Islamic requirements might have some built-in flexibility—use them only when required to make demands on non-Muslims, is that how it goes?  

Traditional Islamic law prohibits trading in risk or the payment or acceptance of interest. So when an assemblage of mosque worshippers gathered in an apartment to hear an investment pitch, Omar said, some were concerned about whether it was in keeping with their faith.

“They said it was OK because there was no risk,” Omar said. Both Omar and the SEC say Ahmed told recruits he had never lost money while investing.

There is lots more, read it all.

I’m thinking the Somalis in Columbus, Ohio might claim the second highest Somali population behind Minneapolis.  And, then Seattle is right up there too, but here San Diego is claiming the distinction.

San Diego’s Somali community is the second largest in the country, with an estimated 15,000 to 25,000 refugees who have settled here since the early 1990s.

For new readers :

The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.  That specific program has not yet been reopened, but will be soon.  Nevertheless, thousands of Somalis continue to be resettled as I write this.

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