Both suspects are 45 and are scheduled to make a court appearance today, police said. The scheme allegedly raised $93 million (U.S.).
They have been charged with Defrauding the Public of Over $5000, Possession of the Proceeds of Crime, Laundering the Proceeds of Crime, Operating a Pyramid-Selling Scheme and Making False or Misleading Representations under the Competition Act, police said.
“[T]here are 1000’s of victims worldwide in Banners Brokers pyramid scheme,” police said on Twitter. The remark was attributed to Det. Sgt. Ian Nichol of the Toronto Police Mass Marketing Section.
And, the department Tweeted, the agency and mass-marketing fraud investigators from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “worked for 2yrs full time on Banners Brokers pyramid scheme investigation.”
Also assisting in the cross-border probe were the Competition Bureau of Canada, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ministry of Finance, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, FINTRAC and the Canada Revenue Agency, police said.
FINTRAC stands for the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
“[T]he program’s existence was entirely dependent upon the fee-based entry of new members and little or no real product or service was provided,” police said.
Banners Broker, a purported “advertising” program similar to the AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme broken up by the U.S Secret Service in 2008 and a current “program” known as MyAdvertisingPays or MAPS, previously has been described as a criminal enterprise.
As the PP Blog reported last year, Banners Broker, like similar schemes, appeared to be trying to intimidate members.
Read the statement by the Toronto Police Service on Banners Broker and the arrests of Smith and Dixit.
Det/Sgt Ian Nichol of Toronto Police Mass Marketing Section says there are 1000’s of victims worldwide in Banners Brokers pyramid scheme ^sm
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) December 9, 2015
In 2013, the PP Blog received bizarre spam from apparent Banners Broker supporters unhappy about the Blog’s coverage of the “program.”
The PP Blog’s first reference to Banners Broker was published on June 17, 2012, when the Blog reported that a site that claimed it sold “customers” to Zeek Rewards members also was pushing traffic to Banners Broker and JSS Tripler/JustBeenPaid, the bizarre, 730-percent-a-year “program” purportedly operated by Frederick Mann.
Mann also was a pitchman for the AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme. JSS/JBP, which later morphed into a “program” known as ProfitClicking, may have ties to the sovereign-citizens movement. Zeek allegedly was a Ponzi/pyramid scheme that gathered more than $850 million.
Some HYIP promoters move from scheme to scheme to scheme, creating a condition in which losses mount globally and banks become warehouses for fraud proceeds. The SEC yesterday announced charges against alleged Zeek promoter Trudy Gilmond, whom the agency alleged recruited members for multiple failed schemes.
See the PP Blog’s tag archive of references to Banners Broker or use the search function near the upper-right corner.
Within the story, the PP Blog showed a menacing communication it had received in January 2013. The story also shows the interconnectivity of certain online MLM schemes, as does this 2013 story: “TelexFree Affiliate Pitches Appear To Have Been ‘Scraped’ To Drive Traffic To Purported Gold And Silver Venture In Panama; Spam Link Leads To Site That Showcases ‘First Zeek Red Carpet Event’ And ‘Banners Broker’ In Folder Labeled ‘aaronsharazeek’