Piggy Farm Trading crossed my path in September 2023, when I saw this posted on Facebook and immediately called it out as a Ponzi scheme. There were just too many questions about the company and its products. And what’s up with the people grilling the pig? Let’s take a deep dive into the world of pig farming for profit.

Ponzi patrol

The definition of a Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme that pays out new investors with the money invested by current investors. Essentially, you are robbing Peter to pay Paul. These schemes are unsustainable. As soon as new investment dries up, the scheme collapses. They are also illegal according to the National Consumer Protection Act.

I hate to say it, but I was right. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s investigation into Piggy Farm Trading revealed a sophisticated Ponzi scheme operating under the guise of a legitimate agricultural business. They froze the company’s bank account containing over R4.3 million, prompting a closer examination of its operations.

Through virtual reality, the company enticed investors to purchase real and virtual pigs with promises of risk-free returns and monthly payouts. However, the NPA uncovered false promises, violations of consumer protection laws, and discrepancies in company information. Ultimately, the investigation highlighted the scheme’s unsustainable nature, its reliance on new investor funds to sustain payouts, and the inevitable financial ruin awaiting investors.

Doubts and Discrepancies

The Piggy Farm Trading website, which is still up at the time of writing, lists traditional farming and Metaverse (virtual reality) farming products. The Metaverse is current trend in the technology space. It’s a bit strange as the lines are blurred between real and fantasy pigs. As the per the NPA investigation, it’s highly likely that a physical farm and pigs ever existed. To farm on the suggested scale would be a very big operation. Of course, providing digital pigs in the Metaverse makes more sense when you are trying to peddle a fantasy product.

The Piggy Farm Trading website accessible at https://www.piggyfarmtrading.com/

Dubious company information and addresses

Visit the company’s website, and the contact details seem strange.

The landline provided is an Umhlanga-based landline, although the physical address says Musgrave, Durban which is in Durban central.

151 Musgrave Road is listed as the FNB Building but it’s not confirmed whether Piggy Farm Trading rents an office in this building.

The company directors are named, but there are no images of them.

The company is formally registered as Piggy Farm Trading (Pty) Ltd linked to an address in Molweni, Hillcrest. This aligns with the website’s About Us page, claiming “Piggy farm trading is the brainchild of three young agricultural entrepreneurs, namely: Mthokozisi, Sphamandla and Siyabonga Ngcobo, based in Molweni in the vicinity of Hillcrest (KZN).”

 

The CIPC website does list a Kwanele Ngcobo and Mthokozisi Mzobe as Directors of the company. This business registration, although seemingly legit means nothing. The company would still need a Financial Services Provider (FSP) licence to offer financial products and investment services which is a big red flag.

 


Unrealistic financial claims

Unsustainable business model

Piggy Farm Trading’s business model centers on virtual pig ownership and breeding. Investors buy virtual pigs for R2200 each, sharing in the company’s pig breeding operations without individual risk. Each pig breeds twice a year, yielding a minimum of 6 piglets per litter, sold for profit. It’s unclear how the company will finance all the breeding operations without passing on the risk or costs to the consumer. Unless, of course, these pigs don’t exist, like fantasy pigs in the Metaverse.

Investors receive a monthly payout of R500 per pig.

Piggy Farm Trading also pays a fee of R200.00 for bringing in new members. However, the company said that recruitment isn’t compulsory and is solely up to the individual to recruit.

It looks like there was a price increase at some point. The latest promotional flyer on Facebook has the price of a pig at R2750 and the monthly return as R550. The poster also has a different office number of the Durban office, instead of the one provided on the website.

Red flags

Whenever doing due diligence on a company or prospective investment, ask the following questions:

  • Can I verify the contact details and address?
  • Is the company registered as a financial services provider?
  • Who are the owners and do they have experience in their field?
  • Is the business model sound to generate profits?

The Illusion of Legitimacy: Deceptive Practices

It is clear that the business practices of Piggy Farm Trading is meant to deceive and entice people to part with their hard-earned money. The company promises passive income with zero risk.

Their business model is vague and tries to blend reality with fantasy cashing in on buzzwords and trends such as the Metaverse.

In reality, the company needs new people to join to sustain payouts. Without proper products and services, there is no income generated.

Pig butchering

Not without a touch of irony, while researching scams, there is a new type of scam called pig butchering.

Victims are contacted on social media and gradually lured into making increasing investments into a scheme.

The scammer will gain their confidence, and “fatten them up”, like a pig before the slaughter. When they are fully invested, the scammer disappears with all their money.

Guess we should have taken Piggy Farm Trading seriously from the start when they posted those photos of them grilling the pig.

Update

Since the time of writing, the Piggy Farm Website is still accessible. If it is removed in future it will remain archived.

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