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There are several banks using the name "Millennium Bank" or "Millenium Bank". One of them is located in Kingstown, the capital of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That's the one we're talking about here.

In spite of the red flags surrounding this operation, Google continues to place ads for Millennium Bank on literally thousands of web sites. They nevertheless disclaim any responsibility for losses that consumers will incur when this Ponzi operation fails to return depositors' monies.

So what are the red flags? Check them out for yourself at mlnbank.com [Wayback archive] .

Obviously, the biggest red flag is that they're offering interest rates substantially above market rates, on U.S. dollar deposits. To be sure, if they offered lower interest rates, I would not be more likely to encourage people to trust their money to them.

Of course, offering substantially above-market rates can be expected to result in many investors depositing lots of money with them. As a business model, offering high interest rates is not a problem, if you're not planning on returning money to the investors.

But is this the only red flag?

Not hardly. Another major flag is that this offshore bank pretends to be soliciting for business globally (hence they offer their website in 14 languages), but the entire presentation is clearly oriented towards residents of the United States.

This is evidenced by the use of terminology that's common in the United States, and in particular, offering IRA accounts. In fact, the IRA account agreement contains no indication that it's been approved by the IRS, and it's quite evident that it is not compatible with IRS regulations.

There are legitimate offshore banks, but their operations are very different from those of Millennium Bank.

As with any Ponzi scheme, this is going to eventually fall apart. You can expect that Google will be called to account for their part in this operation. Here's their response (in part) to my complaint that they were continuing to accept ads from Millennium Bank:

Google AdWords enforces both editorial and policy guidelines that all advertisers must adhere to, but this does not guarantee consumer protection. Please note that the purchase of items or services from an AdWords advertiser is a transaction that takes place outside of Google.

Again, we thank you for your feedback, and we will review this situation. We encourage you to continue to let us know if there is anything we can do to improve your Google experience.

For some sager advice, consider this:

From http://www.bendweekly.com/print/5094.html :
... you have to be dumber than a saltwater catfish if you elect to send your money to [this bank].


February 2009 Update

Several articles on Millennium Bank have broken, following the "Stanford Bank" Ponzi scheme. Here they are:


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