A total of nine people have been kidnapped in Colombia by victims of pyramid schemes, authorities said May 23. According to Harlan Henao Serna—director of Fund for the Defense of Personal Liberty (Fondelibertad), the government agency in charge of keeping track on kidnappings—the “collapse” of some of the pyramids led to “unexpected reactions” by those who had invested money in the fraudulent schemes. He said kidnappers are trying to recover close to 13 million pesos (US$6,000), with the nine people currently held captive. Police have arrested 18 pyramid victims on kidnapping charges.
The official said the number of kidnappings rose in the second half of 2008, when the government started shutting down alleged ponzi schemes and others collapsed. “It is unfortunate that good citizens end up being investigated for kidnapping, because they turned to desperate forms in the hurry to recuperate their investment.” (EFE, May 25; Colombia Reports, May 24)