So The Herald, carried a story about a woman who lost US$32,000 to two con artists in a lame business scam. Any entrepreneur can be conned despite having insisted on signing a contract as protection. Stay with me as i show you how…
In a nutshell, the two con artists told the lady that they are in the business of supplying the miracle anointing oil to Magaya…(seriously!). They invited her to invest US$30,000 in the venture claiming that its what each of them had already invested in the venture. Purportedly, the good lady will get a 33% ownership. She invested. As you would expect, the duo immediately vanished. The story is really funny. “Hakuna kupusa kwakadaro…kkkk,” you may say.
Unfortunately, in business, the conmen will be more sophisticated. Even seasoned entrepreneurs can be game for such con artists. Sad as it is their vulnerabiity may be a common sense business plan that promises an economic benefit for the Entrepreneur and the con artist. The Entrepreneur may also have actually insisted on signing a contract of some kind to “protect” himself.
Beware the contract
Fortunately for our good lady from The Herald story, she has full and fruitful assistance from the ZRP. Unfortunately for our Entrepreneur, who is “protected” by a contract, the police will not help much since the nature of his connection with the con artist may make it difficult to prove fraud. The contract may turn out to be the only reason the police won’t go after the con artist because the contract “validates” the civil issue. Police will immediately recommend that he get an attorney. That means he will have to throw good money after bad. If the scam was water-tight and sophisticated, #Zvavharana. The court may rule that, it was just a bad business deal not a scam.
Please note that when you sign a contract with anyone (employee, business partner, friend etc.); or when you sign over a piece of property, you are almost certainly guaranteeing that any fraudulent issues which may arise will go to civil, not criminal, court. Never, never sign a contract without a legal expert or totally objective third party’s participation (most importantly, as your advisor).
The two n’angas were arrested and are in police custody as I write this post. They will probably get a stiff jail sentence with some years being suspended on condition that they return the lady’s US$30,000.
On the other hand, the Entrepreneur will always know the con artist is somewhere having a good time spending the money and having the last laugh…
Can we blame the law? We all know that its an ass…
Part 2 of this article can be found here. We focus more on providing tip on how a business owner can recognize fleecers and steps she can take to avoid being conned.