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Rio Claro businessman, Sheldon Sieudath.

A 30-year-old Rio Claro man is warning citizens to learn from his mistake and stay away from sou sous.

Sheldon Sieudath, an entrepreneur, invested $1,400 into the Financial Uplifting Sou Sou in Sangre Grande on October 16.

The payment was on behalf of himself and a friend. He said he was told that while recruiting others would bolster his chances of receiving a larger payout, it wasn’t necessary.

But when December came and his returns were nowhere in sight, he began inquiring about getting back his initial investment. To date, he said he is yet to receive it and has been receiving conflicting information and runarounds by the person who recruited him.

“I trusted the person. I asked her, you sure this thing going to work? She said yes, she was in one before and she got her payout and everything,” he said.

“A lot of other people asked me to join and I said no. I don’t want to join something like this because you going to lose your money. I’m seeing these things in the news every day. I’m reading it in the newspaper every day…but because I had a relationship with the individual and I trusted her, I joined this.”

But now Sieudath has changed his tune and advises citizens not to join any sou sous of the sort, even if they think they can trust the person asking them.

Guardian Media contacted the woman who recruited Sieudath to the sou sou but she refused to comment. Instead, she put us in contact with a “major member” of the organisation who spoke to Guardian Media on the condition of anonymity.

The major member explained that the sou sou has been in some difficulties for some time. He attributed this to members failing to bring on other people which is crucial for the sou sou to function, especially as members often drop out after receiving their payment.

Since this, he said they have been working tirelessly to refund members their initial investments.

He said Sieudath contacted him on Monday and was being unreasonable on the phone. He said Sieudath insisted on receiving his refund immediately and did not hear him out.

The senior sou sou member said he is willing to work with Sieudath to return his money, however, because he did not recruit him himself or process his investment, he needed him to provide the necessary documentation first.

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has warned citizens multiple times about investing in these commercialised sou sous which operate as a pyramid scheme.