BCSC: Scammers Ripped Off Canadians In Forex Scam In Which Money Was Wired To Costa Rica; At Least 1 Investor Duped Into Making Payment Of $13,000 Purportedly For U.S. Taxes In Ill-Fated Bid To Recover Lost Principal
EDITOR’S NOTE: The PP Blog reported yesterday about a massive alleged penny-stock scam married to an advance-free fraud scheme in which investors were duped into believing they were interacting with IRS employees trying to collect taxes and a law firm interested in recovering funds from the stock swindle. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said the scammers simply posed as IRS agents and fabricated the law firm. Some of the money from the $140 million, multipronged caper ended up in Beirut.
There now is word that investors in Canada’s province of British Columbia were swindled in a similar 2012 scheme in which they were instructed to wire money to Costa Rica.
The British Columbia Securities Commission is investigating an alleged cold-call swindle in which three investors in the Canadian province lost a total of $80,000 to an entity using a poached virtual office and purporting to operate from Chicago.
The name of the entity, according to BCSC, was Strategic Global Investments (SGI).
SGI claimed to be “a Chicago-based investment firm in the business of foreign exchange and commodities trading,” BCSC said.
Regardless, SGI asked investors to wire money “to the company’s bank account in Costa Rica,” BCSC said.
The purported firm called investors with an offer for “gold options,” BCSC said.
But SGI was not registered with BCSC. Nor was it registered with the National Futures Association and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
Moreover, BCSC said, “SGI’s claimed head office belongs to a Virtual Office Company that never leased it to SGI.”
Although any number of scams have used virtual offices, the allegations in British Columbia suggest that scammers now are simply claiming to be virtual-office lessees without actually renting space.
But it gets even more disturbing than even that. Indeed, BCSC is alleging that SGI lulled investors who sought the return of their money by telling them that :
- The investor owed U.S. taxes.
- SGI was merging with another company.
- The authorities were investigating the investor for money laundering because he made too much money too quickly.
“One victim sent $13,000 to deal with the U.S. taxes but still did not get any money back,” BCSC said.
In fact, BCSC said, “To date, not a single investor has recovered a cent from SGI.”
SGI’s website “is no longer accessible,” BCSC said.
Prior to going missing, BCSC said, the site claimed that:
- It has been doing business since 1998 with clients in over 70 countries.
- It trades commodities and foreign exchange.
- It has a head office in Chicago.
- Investors are in control of their money at all times.
At least one investor sent SGI an additional $58,000 after being told that the initial purchase had earned huge returns, BCSC said.
Coupled with the investigation in New York, the investigation in British Columbia may demonstrate that fraudsters not only are creating new and better ways to steal, but also are extorting money from their marks by using the names of government agencies and the names of specific crimes such as money-laundering to instill fear.