A STATE of social emergency has been called in Columbia after a pyramid money scheme collapsed last week.
New emergency decrees in the South American country mean that police are now able to seize money from firms accused of illegal activities in a bid to try and reimburse investors who had been promised returns of up to 150 per cent per month.
International arrest warrants have been issued for the heads of the schemes but it is believed that the bosses have left the country, taking hundreds of millions of dollars with them.
Many people have lost their entire life savings in the enormous scam conducted through more than 240 offices in Columbia.
Protestors took to the streets last week after the news spread that the one of the finance firms involved in the scheme had suddenly closed alerting investors that their savings had disappeared.
Columbian President Uribe has vowed to help investors recover their money and said that police had already seized more than 40 million US dollars from some finance companies.