In the aftermath of the SEC’s Ponzi action against Traffic Monsoon last month, a website styled TrafficHurricane.plus has gone live and has a sign-up page. Ponzi-friendly Payza and SolidTrustPay are the listed money-movers.
There are many items of interest on the Terms page, including exceptionally awkward English syntax and a preemptive bid to gag reporters.
On the syntax front: “You are under the money laundering prevention law . . .”
On the effort-to-gag front: “If you are not a member you are prohibited from modifying, copying, distributing, transmitting, publishing, selling, creating derivative works and / or using any information available on and / or through TrafficHurricane.”
The PP Blog accessed the Traffic Hurricane page from the United States today. Given the Traffic Monsoon example and other examples in recent years, U.S. law enforcement may deem the offer as an offering of securities targeted at unaccredited investors in the United States and elsewhere.
Traffic Hurricane has the hallmarks of a securities reload scheme and reportedly is hosted on the same server as TrafficMonsoon.plus, which appears to have been an earlier effort to launch a reload scheme. TrafficMonsoon originally operated at TrafficMonsoon.com, but that page now resolves to the website of the court-appointed receiver in the TrafficMonsoon case.
In the HYIP sphere, reload schemes are somewhat common and provide a means by which victims get scammed a second time. Such schemes typically surface when a initial scheme displayed an incredible ability to gather money and line up suckers. Promos for Traffic Hurricane already are running on Twitter.
The SEC said Traffic Monsoon rounded up more than $207 million. The agency’s complaint says the “program” had more than 162,000 investors.
Apparently only in operation for a couple of days, Traffic Hurricane this morning said on its landing page that it already had 5,111 members. Like Traffic Monsoon, Traffic Hurricane says it is an “advertising” program.
The situation is reminiscent of the 2008 AdSurfDaily “advertising” Ponzi scheme shut down by the U.S. Secret Service. ASD sparked at least three reload schemes, including one called AdViewGlobal. Investigators later linked ASD President Andy Bowdoin to AdViewGlobal. Because of AdViewGlobal, a federal judge revoked Bowdoin’s bond in the ASD Ponzi case.
Charles Scoville, the alleged operator of Traffic Monsoon, has not been charged criminally. It is unclear whether a criminal investigation is proceeding on a parallel track with the SEC’s civil action against Scoville and Traffic Monsoon, but similar schemes have triggered criminal probes.
BehindMLM.com, quoting TrafficMonsoon cheerleader Sharon James, is reporting Ernie Ganz is behind Traffic Hurricane.
Other than the core business model and the reload schemes, TrafficMonsoon is like AdSurfDaily in other key ways.
Traffic Monsoon supporters on social-media sites, for example, virtually are confessing their desire to engage in securities fraud on a global scale. Any number of them are using ASD-like arguments such as “we aren’t selling securities because we announced we weren’t selling securities” and payouts were never guaranteed.
There also are ASD-like petition drives and various efforts to raise funds to fight the U.S. government. (See June 16, 2011, PP Blog editorial, “The AdSurfDaily Solution.”)
Like Traffic Hurricane, the AdViewGlobal knockoff scheme also tried to gag critics.