Zhao Jiaotong Profile & Biography
Zhao Jiaotong is a Chinese national who gained notoriety as the founder of the fraudulent Zimbabwe Ponzi scheme known as E-Creator, which defrauded thousands of Zimbabweans of at least US$1 million in 2023.
Age & Date Of Birth
Zhao Jiaotong was born in China on 16 December 1984, which means that as of 2023, he will be 39 years old in December.
Early Life and Background
Zhao’s background and early life details remain undisclosed.
Involvement in E-Creator Scam
E-Creator, an elaborate Ponzi scheme, targeted unsuspecting individuals who were lured by promises of quick and substantial investment returns. Zhao Jiaotong, along with his alleged accomplices Trymore Tapfumaneyi, Justin Kuchekenya, Billy Thomas Syedou, Abraham Mutambu, and others who are still at large, orchestrated the scheme, defrauding hundreds of people in Zimbabwe of over US$1 million.
The scheme operated by convincing individuals to invest significant amounts of money via Ecocash subscriber lines. To make their fraudulent operation more enticing, Zhao and his associates utilized platforms such as Zimbabwean Television (ZTV), social media, and the endorsement of popular socialites Tyra ‘Madam Boss’ Chikocho and Admire Mushambi (Mama Vee) as well as numerous media houses.
Madam Boss, with over 1.3 million Facebook followers, and Mama Vee, with over 700,000 followers, allegedly played a crucial role in popularizing the Ponzi scheme. They were engaged to advertise E-Creator on their social media pages, creating an illusion of credibility and attracting thousands of Zimbabweans to invest in the fraudulent scheme.
Complaints from victims started to surface as they encountered difficulties accessing their funds. However, the team behind E-Creator assured them that the issues were temporary and due to a system upgrade. On July 5, 2023, E-Creator Electronic Commerce Private Limited abruptly ceased operations and announced that it was shutting down. E-Creator issued a statement in which it blamed Zhao Jiaotong and accused him of stealing well over US$1 million, leaving clients shocked and devastated.
The consequences of Zhao Jiaotong’s alleged actions were severe, with victims suffering an actual loss of over US$1 million. No funds have been recovered thus far, leaving victims in financial distress and seeking justice.
Arrest and Legal Proceedings
Following the collapse of E-Creator and the subsequent investigation into the Ponzi scheme, Zhao Jiaotong and Trymore Tapfumaneyi were arrested by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Zhao was the first to be arrested when he was apprehended at the Robert Mugabe International Airport as he attempted to leave the country. The police announced Zhao Jiaotong’s arrest on 13 July 2023. He was charged with fraud in connection to the E-Creator Ponzi scheme.
Tapfumaneyi’s arrest was announced the next day. Zhao and Trymore Tapfumaneyi made a court appearance before a Harare magistrate on Friday, 14 July 2023. However, their bail application was postponed to Monday, 17 July 2023, meaning they had to spend the weekend in jail.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police urged individuals who may have been victims of the E-Creator scheme to come forward and report their experiences at the nearest police station. They also emphasized the importance of exercising due diligence before making any payments to Ponzi or pyramid schemes claiming to offer quick investment returns.
Bail Application and Flight Risk
The investigating officer, Brighton Samaneka, opposed granting bail to Zhao Jiaotong, arguing that he was a high flight risk. When Zhao was arrested on 12 July 2023, he was reportedly on the verge of leaving the country, and authorities seized a stamped passport and boarding passes from him. This indicated his intent to evade jurisdiction and escape prosecution.
Impact and Ongoing Investigations
The E-Creator Ponzi scheme had a devastating impact on the victims, who lost substantial amounts of money. The collapse of the scheme highlighted the risks associated with fraudulent investment schemes and the importance of conducting thorough research and due diligence before investing.
Authorities continue their investigations into the E-Creator scam and aim to bring all individuals involved to justice. However, the recovery of the defrauded funds remains challenging, leaving victims in a state of financial distress. The court proceedings are ongoing, with further hearings scheduled for the accused and potential attempts to secure a Chinese interpreter for Zhao Jiaotong during the legal process.