Going, Going Gone!

by | Aug 8, 2001 | Archives

A reader reported an incredible scam that can cost you $250,000 or more if you are not aware.

Here is what an alert reader recently shared: Beware!

	"Hi gary,		l would like to tell you about what seems to be an obvious scam - maybe you	could give me your opinion.		When l heard of this tale the red flags went up and the alarm bells are	still ringing.		Only recently l was told, 'on the quiet', about a pile of cash money in an	hereto un-named country with currency controls (asia-minor, think curry).	The tale starts with a spiritual guru who has amassed this large pile over	many years of exploiting gullible followers (or is it gullible currency	exporting facilitators). So the story goes, he can't get the money out due	to these currency controls, not withstanding the fact that he and his wife	cannot return to his country to get at the stash, seeing as he's obviously	been a bad little boy.		Enter the facilitating (read - money laundering) high income earning, high	net worth, highly educated Western professional. He was required to open the	bank accounts through which the washing will be done. Saffice to say the	only transactions that this account has seen, aside from his money going in	and going out, has been for bank charges. Of course he is also required to	pay off an endless array of govt. officials.		Following a visit to that country by a collegue, who introduced this	professional to the 'opportunity', the cash was sited in a storage facility.	A pile of shoe boxes was presented from which a random selection was made,	all containing cash. Whether it was real or counterfeit (l doubt if a	Westerner could tell, at glance) and whether its still there, who can say.	And whether it came from the alleged followers of the guru or from the	pockets of money laundering facilitators, again, who knows. This was	followed by a visit from the guru who stayed at the target's home.		On the strength of this incredibly weak due diligence, the western	professionals decided to participate. To date, after about one year, approx.	half a million oz dollars have gone to 'government officials' involved in	the process. l'm guessing that many regular payments have been made, always	just one more to 'get them over the line'. Last time the wealthy target had	to get some money out of a friend (this is how l found out) who was totally	taken in by an offer of a 10:1 return (better chance of making this long	shot at the casino). My friend just can't afford this sort of thing. l guess	he can rest on the fact that he's not directly involved and has had his	relatively mior contribution guaranteed be the professional. (ok if there's	anything left when the painful realisation of the obvious sets in).		In any event, the guru has taken very ill and is currently in hospital	(straight out of the scammers handbook).		A fool and his money - don't get me started.		Thanks"

Here is my reply:

	Dear Friend,  Your story rings several scam alarms.  Anytime you hear of 	any deal on the QT, beware.  Any time you are enticed to do something 	illegal (smuggle currency for example) to make money doubly beware.  Any 	time you are shown piles of cash be triply beware!  And be smart.  When my 	printer prepares large mailings he knows I always check, only check five 	letters, but he never knows which boxe I will choose the letters from!		This story sounds like a great adventure, but the price looks high.  Anyone 	who wants to play Indiana Jones proceed, but I suspect Indy never became 	very rich!

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Until next message, good global investing!