An American businessman has been put on the spot for reportedly swindling investors Sh800 million in a fake water project in Kenya.
The US market regulator filed charges against the tycoon, Verley Sembritzky, popularly known as Rocky, for the water purification project he purported to be working on since 2006.
According to the filed documents by US market regulator, Sembritzky through his company Bounty and Ocean Harvest, he collected Sh800 million from 20 American investors between the years 2015 and 2017 only.
In his scheme, the tycoon claimed that the saltwater cleaning plant could provide safe, low-cost drinking water for all Kenyans and promised a Sh2 billion revenue generated from the project, thus assuring a maximum return on investment.
According to the American regulator, Sembritzky was aware that his project was misleading because he had carried out various trials to no avail.
Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that the businessman also knew that the process, as described in the Private Placement Memorandum(PPM), was tested at some point in 2017 and did not work.
However, this did not deter the tycoon who sought to collect Sh2.19 billion from unsuspecting American investors and Sh19.1 billion from Kenyan investors.
The filings indicated that the American businessman had told the investors to purchase stock in the water project worth Sh19.2 million per share.
The CEC noted that the tycoon had promised that this would generate outstanding returns from the project.
Soon after swindling the American investors, the businessman man transferred Sh700million to his personal account. According to the SEC filings, he used to buy luxury cars, diamond jewellery, and Sh200 million condominium for his then-wife.
The fillings also indicated that out of Sh800 million the investors had sent to Sembritzky, only Sh71 million funds went to the project.
Sembritzky resides in Houston, Texas, and is the Chief Director of Bounty and Ocean Harvest company.