- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

BOGOTA (AP) - Thousands of investors who lost savings, big and small, in a Colombian pyramid scheme will receive just $96 apiece in compensation, the government announced Friday.

Maria Mercedes Perry, the official named to oversee DMG Group Holdings SA, said the government so far has recovered just 52 billion pesos _ about $20.5 million _ largely in cash found in the company’s offices.

She said it would be divided equally among the 214,000 investors, regardless of how much they had deposited.

Depositors staged violent protests in November and December, when the company and other pyramid operators were closed down. They had already been warned that the payout would be small and that all would receive the same amount.

Prosecutors say DMG, founded in 2005, collected some $800 million in deposits before it was shut down by the government in November.

The company had promised interest of well over 100 percent a year through a system of prepaid cards that could be used to buy merchandise.

Company founder David Murcia and several of his partners are being held in prison in Bogota on charges of money laundering. Two of the partners were recently sentenced to 53 months in prison.

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