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A Gold Medal in Boiler Room Operation

Every competent investment scamster uses those tactics.

The games of the 30th Olympiad have begun, and the UK is putting it’s best foot forward. It is a wonderful place, no doubt. But, like every country, it has a segment of the population determined to live off of the misery of others. A recent case prosecuted by UK’s Serious Fraud Office tells a story that is familiar to securities cops worldwide. The press release is far too long to reprint in its entirety, but I highly recommend that you read the whole thing. We’ve reprinted part of it below. (more…)

The Case of the Kiwi Con Man and the Courage to Act

A case from New Zealand underscores the power of every individual to be the hero who shuts down these engines of misery.

Hundreds of Ponzi schemes are operating as I write this. If you live within fifty miles of a city of any size there are dozens operating close to you. The chances are that you lay eyes on either a fraudster or one or more of his or her victims every day. Those scams will collect more victims today and tomorrow and every day until they eventually collapse. The sooner they are shut down the more people will be spared penury in their old age. A case from New Zealand underscores the power of every individual to be the hero who shuts down these engines of misery. TVNX (more…)

UK Fraud a Veritable Scam Encyclopedia

Investors who think that they’ve done a thorough due diligence investigation are left scratching their heads and wondering how they missed the fraud.

Investment fraud is not an American problem; it’s a world problem. While American frauds give us more than enough cases to discuss on this blog, there are even more cases overseas. Recent guilty pleas in the United Kingdom show that overseas scamsters are just as adaptable, prepared, and audacious as the American characters I describe in The Vigilant Investor. The next book might be about scams in other countries; I’ve certainly got enough material. According to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office: (more…)

Kiwi Ponzi

There are no threats faced by American investors that aren’t also faced by Irish, Russian, or Australian investors.

Forty-seven percent of our regular readers live outside the United States. We love that; it helps us spread the lessons of vigilant investing across the globe. There are no threats faced by American investors that aren’t also faced by British, Russian, Chinese, Canadian, or Australian investors. This week, we learned of an alleged scam in a country we’ve yet to cover: New Zealand.  According to stuff.co.nz: (more…)

Alleged UK Scamster Charged

Investment fraud is a global–not just an American–epidemic.

Based in Majorca, Gilher Inc. was the creation of John Neil Hurst. Hurst pitched the investment to British expatriates, citizens of Eurozone countries, and others, promising approximate returns of 20 percent per year. This week he appeared in a British court to answer charges that Gilher was a Ponzi scheme. According to an article in The Telegraph: (more…)

The Wide World of Fraud

We’ve investigated investments on three continents and know first hand that investors worldwide are in the path of a tsunami of investment fraud.

Most of our posts are about U.S.-based fraud. There are more than enough of those to keep us busy. But, scamsters are just as busy overseas. Today we’ll look briefly at two that have been in the news recently, beginning first in Malaysia. According to AsiaOne News: (more…)

UK Case Highlights Pension Funds at Risk

No target is more attractive to scam artists than a pension fund. It takes no more effort to defraud a fund than it does to defraud an individual, after all. And the potential take is so much larger.

According to the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, Graham Pitcher and Gary Cordell were the trustees for nine separate pension funds, when they decided to help themselves to 52 million British pounds of the money in those funds.  This case is a bit unusual in that the defendants worked for the pension fund trustee and are accused of taking the money directly from accounts belonging to the nine pension funds.   (more…)

A Russian Wake Up Call

The Commission’s complaint alleges that BroCo Investments, Inc., its president Valery Maltsev, and/or individuals acting in concert with them hijacked the online brokerage accounts of unwitting investors using stolen usernames and passwords and subsequently placed unauthorized trades through the compromised accounts to manipulate the markets of at least thirty-eight issuers between August 2009 and December 2009.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has filed an emergency enforcement action against a Russian company and its president, charging them with hijacking investor brokerage accounts for use in a market manipulation scheme.  The SEC’s press release described the alleged scam: (more…)

You Are On The List

Britain’s Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) has exposed a reality that few appreciate: scam artists know your name. According to a press release from the FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and City of London Police (CoLP) have contacted 1,000 people across the UK to warn them that their personal details are on a ‘master list’ being used by fraudsters to target and sell them worthless shares.

Britain’s Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) has exposed a reality that few appreciate: scam artists know your name.  According to a press release from the FSA: (more…)

UK’s Serious Fraud Office Charges Seven in Connection with International Fraud

British authorities have charged seven people with conspiring to defraud UK investors out of more than $100 million through a series of boiler room operations.

British authorities have charged seven people with conspiring to defraud UK investors out of more than $100 million through a series of boiler room operations.  The brokerage firms involved, Tresadern & Partners SL,  Pricestone Group SL and Anderson McCormack SL, were based in Spain.  Through those firms the defendants allegedly sold UK investors shares in sham American companies.  The authorities alleged that the market for the shares involved was created through market manipulation involving false press releases and artificially created trading volume.  The allegations sound very much like the pump and dump schemes that constantly plague American investors. (more…)

British Case Shows the Multi-National Nature of Financial Fraud

British Case Shows the Multi-National Nature of Financial Fraud

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has announced the sentencing of Robert Allan Scott of Newmarket, England on charges that he cooperated in the sale of worthless securities by a boiler room operation based out of Spain.  According to the SFO: (more…)

UK Case Highlights Characteristics of a Modern Ponzi Scheme

A jury in Harrow Crown Court northwest of London has convicted Kevin Foster of operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of investors out more than 34 million pounds. Foster’s scam is a good primer on how many high profile scams operate today.

A jury in Harrow Crown Court northwest of London has convicted Kevin Foster of operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of investors out more than 34 million pounds.  Foster’s scam is a good primer on how many high profile scams operate today. (more…)

The Wrong Kind of Help

This time last year four people (three men and a woman), clad in bullet proof vests, wearing ear-pieces, and sporting at least one stun gun walked into the Folsom, California offices of Equity Investment, Management and Trading Inc.,  operated by accused Ponzi artist Anthony Vassallo, and said that they worked for the FBI and the Securities and [...]

This time last year four people (three men and a woman), clad in bullet proof vests, wearing ear-pieces, and sporting at least one stun gun walked into the Folsom, California offices of Equity Investment, Management and Trading Inc.,  operated by accused Ponzi artist Anthony Vassallo, and said that they worked for the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  They demanded that Vassallo wire more than $300,000 to a specified bank account.  Vassallo wired no money.  Likely, there was no money left.  As it turns out, the four were trying to recover the investments of four victims of the alleged Ponzi scheme.   (more…)