Possible fraudulent shares in gold mines

14 posts in this topic

Posted

My elderly neighbour just came to me asking if I can help him recover some money he invested through a company that is no longer in business. He sought my help because some of the printed materials are in English, and hoped I could help make sense of it.

I just had a look at the papers, and all of it looks a bit dodgy. A quick internet search turned up quite a few suggestions that the companies either never existed or were set up as fly-by-night scam operations. I'm afraid my neighbour's money is long gone, and I really don't know how to break the news. I don't think he has any idea that he's most likely been massively defrauded.

The companies are:

James B. Clarke & Co. Ltd. International Securities Broker & Investment Services (allegedly based in Panama, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, et al.)

and

Hill, Philipp Associates Corp. (allegedly based in London)

Neither company appears to have a functioning website at this time. My search turned up fraud warnings from securities and exchange regulators in several places, all stating that one of the companies above is not an authorised broker:

http://www.jerseyfsc.org/pdf/Public%20Statement%20-%20James%20B.%20Clarke%20&%20Co.%20Ltd%20[scanned]%20%20(KP).doc.pdf

http://www.fma.gv.at/de/verbraucher/investorenwarnungen/nationale-warnmeldungen/detail-natwm/article/james-b-clarke-co-ltd.html

http://www.fsc.gi/enforcement/fscwarning0022.htm

http://www.bcsc.bc.ca/cautionperson.aspx?id=9824

http://www.bcsc.bc.ca/cautionperson.aspx?id=9828

The last two links, both from the British Columbia Securities Commission, are right on the money, as my neighbour 'bought' shares in REM GOLD LTD from James B. Clarke & Co. Ltd. Both are covered in the following blog by an Austrian lawyer:

http://anlegerschutz.blogspot.de/2009/10/broker-johnson-carter-inc-statt.html

My real question is this: what can my neighbour do, if anything? Do you have any experience with these companies, and if so, can you offer any advice? My suspicion is that my neighbour has been taken to the cleaners, and will never see his money. Any relevant information or thoughts?

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Posted

Fucking assholes. If they were actively aiming to scam the elderly, it's the work of the worst form of scum.

Only one of your links offers any practical information on what to do. From the bottom line of the middle link:

Any persons who are already involved in any dealings with the above entity and have concerns, should contact the Manager of Fiduciary Services and Enforcement on +350 200 40283 or by e-mail to enforcement@fsc.gi.

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Posted

Oh no, that's terrible. Do you have any idea how/where he bought these shares?

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Posted

You might try contacting (the police and) Weißer Ring, especially if this neighbour is now suffering financially. They even provide financial help in extreme cases, though in the case I know, Weißer Ring was able to get the money back from the fraudster eventually and just paid the victim in advance, so to speak.

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Posted

According to those regulator websites the investment companies don't really exist, so he has noone to sue and probably won't be covered by any regulatory insurance scheme, i.e. his money is probably long gone.

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Posted

sicne the were not properly licensed anywhere, the only thing he can do is get to the police and file for fraud. With some luck, there are others who have become victims and eventually an international search warrant may well bring results.

But he must accept that his money is with very high likelyhood gone for ever... it beats me how people can fall for that, though?

Sorry for him

Cheerio

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Posted

it beats me how people can fall for that, though?

The lure of easy money.

Sorry for him

Ditto

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Posted

I went through the my neighbour's records page by page (he seems to have given me everything), and it looks like he lost his entire life savings to those bastards--over €200,000. I am not going to tell him this though. He's over 80, and I am not sure he can handle it. I'm most likely going to tell him to contact the police and a lawyer specialised in financial cases. I have no idea how he came into contact with those people, or how he dealt with them (aside from email and fax).

Based on what I've seen, I can't prove that he really doesn't own shares in the Porgera gold mine--but it looks to me like the people he dealt with weren't legally authorised to sell shares in anything, so I presume it's pure fraud and that the money is long gone. It looks like one 'company' ripped him off several times over the course of about 6 months back in 2011, and then sent out a letter claiming they'd gone bankrupt and that a large Chinese bank (a real one) had taken over their accounts. Conveniently, they didn't leave any further contact details, and shortly thereafter, they disabled their own website, phone numbers, etc.

Worse still, another dodgy operation got him last summer, taking what may well have been the last of him money. Why anyone would fall for something like that twice, I don't know, but I think it all comes down to his age. This is pure opportunism, and I reckon it probably happens a lot in this country, with so many old folks with massive savings and no idea what to do with any of it.

The old guy actually wired huge sums of money to a bank account in Hong Kong. I would think someone at his bank would have tried to stop him, or at least questioned him. They've probably known him for decades. Any time elderly people start wiring 25k-50k at a time to dodgy bank accounts in Asia, someone should really ask a few questions. Could someone be partially culpable here? The mandatory financial reporting forms included still say 'Max Mustermann' on them. The deeper I get in this, the sadder it makes me.

Thanks for the comments and advice offered so far.

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Posted

As to how people can fall for that:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/12/elderly-anterior-insula/

Despite long experience with the ways of the world, older people are especially vulnerable to fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), up to 80 percent of scam victims are over 65. One explanation may lie in a brain region that serves as a built-in crook detector. Called the anterior insula, this structure — which fires up in response to the face of an unsavory character — is less active in older people.

Sorry about your neighbour, Antrodemus, doesn't sound too promising that he'll get any of his money back.

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Posted

how sad, he definitely needs to go to the police though.

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Posted

again someone just a well-respected name with small changes to turn it into something truly bad:

James Clarke and Co Ltd is a long-established British academic publisher specialising in historical and theological books and also in reference material

Reminds me of a company that somehow abused the name of

<h3 class="r">AWD Chase de Vere</h3>...well, not that the later were beyong reproach anyway as a glance at the FSA website shows.

Perhaps try to contact this lawyer in Germany who at least in 2009 was already posting warnings:

http://anlegerschutz.blogspot.de/2009/09/finanzmarktaufsichtsbehorde-fma_03.html

Unfortunately none of the great lawyer names in consumer rights protection comes up in a search of the name James Clarke and "Betrug" etc.

But still, your neighbour could at least try and contact Mattil & Kollegen in Munich, they are among the top lawyers in Germany to this regards. The case is not listed among their rather large case list yet, though. Obviously, if they think there is no money to get back from the culprits, they will not make a case out of this ...but at least they then will break it to the neighbour and you don't have to: http://www.kaerner.de/

Cheerio

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Posted

People who prey on the elderly ( and, obviously, also on the not elderly ) and steal their savings are the scum of the earth. I bet those bastards are at least somewhere warm and sunny spending their ill-gotten gains. Bastards.

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Posted

but at least they then will break it to the neighbour and you don't have to: http://www.kaerner.de/

Thats an important point - if the OP is the bringer of bad news the victim's anger could be diverted towards him.

Elderly people are easy targets - my mother lived in a large house in the Cheshire countryside after my father passed away. She stayed there out of choice but was of course lonely - and thus easy prey for door-to-door salesmen. Trouble was I live over here & my brother in Southern UK. Somehow he found out that she had signed up to have the whole house fitted with double-glazing. Now in principle thats a good thing but would have totally spoiled the house and it was clear that on selling the house would need major development anyway.

When challenged my mother claimed she hadn't signed anything - but she had: twelve times. It took my brother (plus legal contacts) considerable effort to get out of that one.

When the house was finally sold it went to a developer who gutted the whole place & rebuilt it with extra bathroms etc. Looks totally different.

We now have the potential problem of mother-in-law who is living alone in a house which the neighbour keeps telling her he'd like to buy. Luckily father-in-law put a line into his will that the house could not be sold without the consent of the two children - my wife & her brother.

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Posted

Here are 2 websites to find information:

www.stockhouse.com

www.siliconinvestor.com

Lots of information on there.As a penny investor for many years I know all about the swindle going on in the mining field. Sadly it is not only the fly by night crooks, but the "reputable brokers" who did the most damage to the investors.So I'm out of it as I'm up in age and do not want to worry about what may,could or will be.What surprises me more often than not that Companies from one continent go to another to raise money- and get it!At least I always made sure I knew the principles and the detailed nature of their business.That still left open a lot of risks, from commodity pricing to all sorts of development problems.

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