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Dubai court sentences Goan frauds to 500 years in prison

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PANAJI: A Dubai court on Sunday sentenced two Goans—37-year-old Sydney Lemos and his senior accounts specialist 25-year-old Ryan de Souza—to over 500 years each in jail for duping thousands of investors in a $200 million scam. Lemos lured the investors by offering them 120% annual returns on a minimum investment of $25,000 through his company Exential.

Lemos, a junior football player who went on to sponsor FC Goa club in 2015 and owned FC Bardez club in Dubai, cheated investors out of their retirement and lifetime savings under a Ponzi scheme that was disguised as a forex scheme.

The company paid profits initially, but stopped paying the investors after the scheme collapsed in March 2016 and the Dubai Economic Department shut down the company’s offices in July 2016. A case has also been registered against Lemos’s wife Valany for illegally entering the sealed office in December last year and taking out documents.

Lemos, who is from Mapusa in Goa, was arrested first in December 2016 but was let out on bail. He was arrested again in mid-January last year. Ryan, a resident of Siolim, was held from the Dubai airport in February last year, as he was leaving for India, while Lemos’s wife Valany managed to escape to Goa.

Many investors, like a Goan working Dubai, believe that it was just a bad investment.

“I lost 400,000 dhirams (around Rs 72 lakh). My friend working in Mumbai told be about the company and I invested. I got good returns initially which I reinvested. It was a bad investment,” he told TOI from Dubai.
“Everybody makes bad investments sometimes in their lives. I haven’t filed a complaint. I like to look at the good side of people. I believe Sydney Lemos was trying to do something different but it backfired on us. If he was a crook he could have fled the country, but he stayed back for many months. I believe he was trying to do something good,” he said.

Media reports from Dubai said that Lemos and Ryan can appeal but neither is likely to be released, because even a huge reduction in their sentence would still result in a life term at Dubai Central Prison in Al Awir.
Source: Times of India
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