BULLETIN: 2 Arrested In Alleged ‘Banners Broker’ Pyramid Scheme

breakingnews725BULLETIN: (14th Update 3:39 p.m. ET U.S.A.) Toronto police have arrested “Banners Broker” figures Christopher George Smith of Toronto and Rajiv Dixit of Vancouver.

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.

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.

Also see: “Law Firm’s Name Used In Bid To Dupe Members Of Banners Broker, Profit Clicking, MLM Attorney Says.”

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’  




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14 Responses to “BULLETIN: 2 Arrested In Alleged ‘Banners Broker’ Pyramid Scheme”

  1. Just as we saw in ASD Cash Generator, Zeek Rewards, Pofitable Sunrise, all of us “naysayers” have once again been proven right. Funny how that works.

    I am waiting to see if the Chris that was charged is actually the same Chris Smith that went all over the world presenting himself as the CEO of BB. Remember that when BB was launched, they used a stock photo of a Caucasian, but when Chris Smith showed up he was Black. Rumor had it that the Chris Smith that was on tour was a paid actor and not the real Chris Smith. Won’t be long now until the rumor is proved true or false.

    Makes no difference one way or the other, as the real Chris Smith is the one being charged no matter his skin color.

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  2. I have met both Chris Smith And Rajiv Dixit (in portugal 2012) and both are black – assuming they were the real people. The stock photo (I first saw in 2011) was never presented to me as being Chris Smith, even at the start, though it appears some were led to believe it was. Of course, the front man at the start was not Chris Smith, but Kul Josun (who I’ve also met). Kul apparently was using the database to market an MLM opportunity and a split happened around the July 2012 time when he was forced out because of this. It was not too long before that Chris smith had started to become the front man.

    As late as not much over a year ago there were conventions and meetings, one big one held in Trinidad. but by that time it was looking ridiculous since no one had been paid for a a year And there were so many hurdles being put up and constant rule changes, it became absurd.

    Then there was a big announcement in which Chris smith revealed there was about $6M in a separate account which was being held for emergency purposes. This angered people, since payments had not gone out for many many months.

    This arrest has been a long time coming, but come it has. We will follow this closely.

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  3. One other thing. Early on, when questions about how the money is being made got too close to home, those asked were told it was a ‘secret algorythm’ that only Chris Smith and Kul Josun knew.

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  4. Ah! Yes, the “Secret Algorithm” excuse. An absolute classic. Very worthy of a position on the Ponzi Buzzword Bingo Hall Of Fame. Not quite “Social Security Is A Ponzi Scheme” but up there with the “Russian Hackers Stolen Everything”, “Server Upgrades Causing Delays”, “Off Shore So It’s Safe”, and my personal favorite, “Going Private”.

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  5. II am also eagerly awaiting for Mark Ghobril to make good on his pledge that if BB was proven to be a Ponzi, he would personally refund all who joined under him what they invested into BB. Guess it is time for Mark to pay up. Wanna bet it never happens! LOL!

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  6. Tony H: Ah! Yes, the “Secret Algorithm” excuse. An absolute classic. Very worthy of a position on the Ponzi Buzzword Bingo Hall Of Fame. Not quite “Social Security Is A Ponzi Scheme” but up there with the “Russian Hackers Stolen Everything”, “Server Upgrades Causing Delays”, “Off Shore So It’s Safe”, and my personal favorite, “Going Private”.

    Memory Lane from 2009:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2009/01/15/breaking-news-more-asd-connected-assets-seized-bowdoin-blamed-company-troubles-on-russian-hackers/comment-page-1/#comment-267

    Patrick

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  7. Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington:
    II am also eagerly awaiting for Mark Ghobril to make good on his pledge that if BB was proven to be a Ponzi, he would personally refund all who joined under him what they invested into BB. Guess it is time for Mark to pay up.Wanna bet it never happens! LOL!

    Wot? You mean the same Mark Ghobril whose house was in foreclosure even as he was conducting BB recruitment meetings in the NYC area?

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  8. John: Wot? You mean the same Mark Ghobril whose house was in foreclosure even as he was conducting BB recruitment meetings in the NYC area?

    The one and the same. I think he still has a FB page as he is pimping MAP, and would love for one of his downline to ask him how soon he was going to pay him back for the money he lost in BB since it is officially a Ponzi. You can bet that post wouldn’t last 30 seconds. LOL! But it would be fun to watch him tap dance around the answer though. He is dumb enough he might try to answer. The dude is 3 pancakes short of a short stack.

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  9. Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington: The one and the same. I think he still has a FB page as he is pimping MAP, and would love for one of his downline to askhim how soon he was going to pay him back for the money he lost in BB since it is officially a Ponzi.You can bet that post wouldn’t last 30 seconds. LOL!But it would be fun to watch him tap dance around the answer though.He is dumb enough he might try to answer. The dude is 3 pancakes short of a short stack.

    He might have just forgotten and need more reminders.

    But then again, he was still hosting meetings in New York long after BB had stopped paying. One famous recording (now taken down) is where one of his victims turned up to record the meeting. Ghobril was heckled and questioned. Eventually the police were called, but nothing further happened.

    Later, when he realised BB was well and truly done, he hosted an online webinar instructing people on how to get refunds. To my knowledge he forgot to tell (those who joined under him) them to go to him for the refunds. That webinar too, is not online anymore.

    A BB ‘millionaire’ who was in foreclosure trying to recruit others, well after it had crashed and burned.

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  10. John:
    I have met both Chris Smith And Rajiv Dixit (in portugal 2012) and both are black – assuming they were the real people. The stock photo (I first saw in 2011) was never presented to me as being Chris Smith, even at the start, though it appears some were led to believe it was. Of course, the front man at the start was not Chris Smith, but Kul Josun (who I’ve also met). Kul apparently was using the database to market an MLM opportunity and a split happened around the July 2012 time when he was forced out because of this. It was not too long before that Chris smith had started to become the front man.

    As late as not much over a year ago there were conventions and meetings, one big one held in Trinidad. but by that time it was looking ridiculous since no one had been paid for a a year And there were so many hurdles being put up and constant rule changes, it became absurd.

    Then there was a big announcement in which Chris smith revealed there was about $6M in a separate account which was being held for emergency purposes. This angered people, since payments had not gone out for many many months.

    This arrest has been a long time coming, but come it has. We will follow this closely.

    John:

    When the stock photo first appeared of the “White” Chris Smith, it was accompanied by this statement, and I quote: “Our Very Own Project Manager Chris Smith.”

    That’s why so many people were surprised when they saw him and he was Black. I don’t remember the lame excuse they gave for him being black and not white as originally portrayed, but the faithful just ignored the switch and didn’t seem to mind.

    I have a screenshot of the stock photo with the caption he was the project manager. I actually received an Email that said that the real Chris Smith was indeed white and the one pretending to be Chris Smith was an actor paid to portray him. That’s why I said it will be interesting to see just who is the Chris Smith that was arrested.

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  11. Lynndel, I believe you are correct, but I was just recalling my own experience from when I asked who the photo was. Later on, of course, the Chris Smith everyone came to know at the conventions and webinars was black. But at the start, he wasn’t the ‘front man’ but as you say, no one anyone cared anyway. At least at that time people were being paid on time. If Chris Smith turns out to be the guy on the stock photo you’ll be able to knock me down with a feather!

    The elephant in the room in Portugal 2012 was that payments had not been made for quite a few months, or were very few and far between.

    The real Chris Smith? At least he’s not a hologram.

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  12. Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington: When the stock photo first appeared of the “White” Chris Smith, it was accompanied by this statement, and I quote: “Our Very Own Project Manager Chris Smith.”

    Hi Lynn,

    You’ll remember the infamous World Marketing Direct Selling (WMDS) and OneUniverseOnline (1UOL) pyramid scheme operating out of Massachusetts and targeted at Cambodians. The scammers believed they needed a white face to make it a better scam.

    From the PP Blog on March 27, 2012, reporting on a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals that upheld a lengthy prison sentence:

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    The ruling also includes a footnote that speaks to yet-another investment-fraud cliché: the appointment of a “name-only” executive to become the face of an enterprise. This was the alleged role of Rochon, the purported “president.”

    “A high-school graduate, Rochon became president (in name only, though) for one reason, and one reason only: Bunchan wanted an ‘American face’ for his companies, and his neighbor Rochon (a Caucasian of Canadian decent) apparently fit the bill,” the footnote reads. “And after renting Rochon a suit jacket and taking him to a professional photographer, Bunchan had Rochon’s photo plastered all over the companies’ promotional pamphlets.”

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Source: http://patrickpretty.com/2012/03/27/appeals-court-upholds-20-year-prison-sentence-of-seng-tan-mercedes-driving-pyramid-schemer-who-blamed-hurricane-katrina-for-payment-delays-and-told-members-that-the-gods-had-sent-her-to-make-them/

    Offshore scammers also sometimes adopt the identities of Americans regardless of race on the theory it’s easier to scam by sounding like an American or using an “American” name.

    This may be happening in any number of schemes operating from India.

    Here is one:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2014/11/12/urgent-bulletin-moving-sec-charges-alleged-hyip-operators-who-ran-profits-paradise-from-india-scammers-allegedly-used-fake-names-and-engaged-in-wanton-deception/

    Patrick

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  13. There was also the man with no history, Communications person ‘Ron Anderson’, who appeared from nowhere on the weekly webinars. Since no one knew who he was or where he came from, those who wound up in Trinidad were anticipating seeing him in the flesh. Since recordings and fotos were banned someone secretly recorded him with a cellphone. He appeared on stage looking bizarre with a brown suit and a wig – plus dark glasses.

    The infamous Chris Smith Stock foto who turned out to be not Chris Smith. Or maybe he is, depending on what you choose to believe – http://bit.ly/1mdm1dX
    Or is this him? http://bit.ly/1Od5eOr

    ‘Rockin’ Ron Anderson http://bit.ly/1RXTc1z and http://bit.ly/1lXMtbX

    At the time Lyndel wrote – ” This should be a wakeup call to all BB members the party is over and BB died over a year ago. All they are doing now is watching the corpse rot”.

    Provided anyone didn’t lose over 1k, the entertainment and comedy value alone might have been worth the investment.

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  14. Tony H:
    Ah! Yes, the “Secret Algorithm” excuse. An absolute classic. Very worthy of a position on the Ponzi Buzzword Bingo Hall Of Fame. Not quite “Social Security Is A Ponzi Scheme” but up there with the “Russian Hackers Stolen Everything”, “Server Upgrades Causing Delays”, “Off Shore So It’s Safe”, and my personal favorite, “Going Private”.

    Lynndel, you missed one out! One prelaunch program, around 2014 (Kinguni, I think) apparently lost one or two of its founders on the Malaysian airline flight which went missing.

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