Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Scam Tactics: Sell the Hype and the Opportunity, Ignore or minimize the Reality and the Cost

Scams usually hook you by selling you the hype and how much money you can make (i.e. the opportunity), while minimize or ignore the reality (such as risk, market, etc.) and cost.

I'll just go over some recent examples and show you what sort of **** they had to spread to generate hype about their so-called "opportunity" while ignoring reality.

The "Internet TV" biz clones

In 2015, over half dozen "internet TV box" companies popped up advertising stuff like "watch your favorite TV for free, cut your cable TV bill, watch favorite sports"... etc. They want you to pay them about $300-500, and for every people you enroll (who also pay them $300-500) you earn money, possibly $100 or more per person. They go by names that includes words like "Box" "Stream" and so on.

That's a pyramid scheme, folks. I've covered what's a pyramid scheme before, so I won't repeat that here. Let's discuss the hype instead.

The matter of fact is you can buy TV boxes like these for about $50-75 on Amazon. They are all based on KODI (used to be XBMC) any way, and wholesale from China they cost even less. You can probably hire some kid to program it for you for another $10-25 if you don't to spend time on it. So where does the extra $200+ go? To the company and whoever recruited you, of course.

TL;DR = you got something for $300 (or more).that you can buy for $60 (WTF?!)

AND you can get better and more legal boxes for $100 (Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, etc.)

They all advertise (some more blatant than others) that they can get pay-per-view programs and subscription programs for free. They tell you people are already doing this, boxes "like" this are being marketed by Amazon and Roku and others (except those don't pirate and cost less than $100). They count on you having "heard" of such stuff, but having NO detailed understanding of such. it sounds "vaguely familiar".

What they don't tell you is getting stuff "for free" is actually piracy and that breaks so many laws that you'll be personally held responsible for such.  And it's no joke, there already has been a raid in UK on seller of such boxes. And let's not forget RIAA and MPAA and so on suing grandmas and so on for astronomical sums.

The schemes hyped up the benefits (OMG FREE EVERYTHING!) and potential upside (OMG MAKE MONEY WHILE HELP OTHERS 'SAVE' MONEY!) while minimizing and hiding reality (The boxes cost $60 on Amazon) and risks (it's illegal to pirate and you can get sued).

TL;DR version:

Hype / Opportunity: OMG Make money, save money, no more cable TV!

Reality / Cost: Overpaying by 3-600%, piracy is illegal

Coming next, "cryptocurrency biz"

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Scam Hilarity: How Gemcoin Scammer "Interprets" the American Justice System (HINT: It's VERY hilarious)

In the interest of all Gemcoin sheeple or perp, Chinese or otherwise, this post will be bilingual.


Recently there were a post on Sina blog (PDF linked) that claimed "there was no FBI raid" at USFIA and "SEC was just doing routine inspection". I took a look. It's hilarious. This clearly written by someone with "motivated reasoning".

最近有在新浪博客的一篇文章 (PDF) 聲稱美國富豪USFIA “沒有被FBI調查”和“美國證券交易委員會只是做例行檢查”。我親自看一看。它真的好笑。這顯然是“有動機推理”的人寫的。

Due to size constraints, I'll just explain the important parts. I don't quote out of context.


What he wrote will be in blue.


First, the title:



UN 70th anniversary celebration invited AFG VP et al 8 people to attend

Anyone can take a photo in front of the UN building. There are even shops inside the UN building. These photos of Leonard S. Johnson and two unidentified individuals can only prove they were in New York recently. It has no other value.

任何人都可以在聯合國大廈前拍照。聯合國大樓內甚至有商店。照片只可以證明Leonard S. Johnson 和兩個身份不明的人最近去過紐約。沒有其他價值.


Translated; FBI Warriors, so fierce, so cool! This photo was published by media, claiming AFG was closed. However, those that went to AFG can see that this is not at AFG. Media use Hollywood fast cut to create false impressions, such as freedom of press in America. 

This photo is of FBI agents assisting in the Boston Marathon bombing in May 2013, when they searched Norfolk St. in Cambridge area of Great Boston.  The actual title of the photo is fbi-norfolk-street-cambridge.jpg  I have seen no American media use this photo with the Gemcoin story. If there is, please point me at the article. Otherwise, I must conclude that the blogger was the one who falsely inserted a photo, exactly what he's accusing "American media" of doing.

這張照片是聯邦調查局探員協助2013年5月波士頓馬拉松爆炸案,他們在搜查諾福克(Norfolk) 街在大波士頓的劍橋(Cambridge)地區。照片的實際名稱是FBI-norfolk-street-cambridge.jpg 我沒有看到任何美國媒體使用這張照片在珍寶幣故事上。如果有請指點我文章在哪。不然我必須定論這位珍寶幣博客才是插入不相干照片捏做新聞用來反指責“美國媒體”捏做新聞。(惡人先告狀)


Translation: This photo was published by the media claiming AFG was closed by law. This is clearly not AFG in the background. Media use Hollywood special effects creatively and we have witnessed American freedom of press. How dare "Michael Liu" and his ilk publish all sort of photos to attack AFG. American newspapers are much like the hated paper in the Culture Revolution to spread rumors and lies. 

Those of you who can use Google image search will quickly realize this is a photo of the deputies in Lee County Florida. Again, I have not seen this photo in relation with Gemcoin, and again, I have to conclude that this Gemcoin blogger is the one who inserted irrelevant photos to accuse "american Media" of making up news.

那些會用谷歌圖片搜索的會發現這是佛羅里達州李縣(Lee County) 警長部 (Sheriff's Department) 的照片。同樣,我沒有看過此照片與珍寶幣報導有關,再次我必須做結論,這位珍寶幣博客才是插入了不相干照片捏做新聞用來反指責“美國媒體”捏做新聞。(惡人先告狀)

Here comes the hilarious part!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Vemma update: Vemma / BK Boreyko / Tom Alkazin said it's ALL affiliate's fault

Vemma, BK Boreyko, and Tom Alkazin each had filed response to FTC's case. From here on, it's clear what their strategy is:

To all the YPR Vemma affiliates...

IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT! (you deserved to be scammed)

Why, you thought I was kidding? 

Excerpt from Vemma's official response:
...Consumers represented by the FTC knowingly and voluntarily, and possibly unreasonably, exposed themselves to any claimed losses with knowledge or appreciation of the risk involved...
BK Boreyko's response also contained this section. 

Tom Alkazin's response is slightly shorter, but said the same thing:
...Any consumers represented by the FTC knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risk of losses.
In other words, if you lost money, it's because you are stupid, not because they tricked you. 

But this attitude of victim blaming is hardly unique.  It is a frequent defense by scammers, who basically said "the victims deserved to be fleeced". 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

USFIA Update: "bank accounts show apparently NO revenue" (since 2013), and more

Official SEC press release: SEC Halts $32 Million Scheme That Promised Riches From Amber Mining

LATimes is a day late in reporting the Fed raid and shutdown of USFIA/Gemcoin, but apparently they actually read the SEC filing against USFIA, and they got a few extra details than anyone else thus far.

Here's the relevant parts:

USFIA has raised about $32 million from investors since 2013, according to the complaint. Nearly $19 million of that came from foreign investors, with $5.7 million coming from checks mostly issued by domestic investors, it said. 
The company’s bank accounts show no apparent revenue over that period, the complaint said. Instead, recorded transactions show large withdrawals to purchase luxury automobiles, entertainment and travel, as well as several transactions with various companies controlled by Chen.
and earlier in the article, Steve Chen apparently knew the gig's up, because...
Earlier this month, according to the filing, Chen attempted to wire $7.5 million out of USFIA’s account at Bank of America to a Chinese bank after he was interviewed by the Arcadia Police Department about a separate case involving alleged death threats against disgruntled Gemcoin investors. 

And it seems the politicians have nothing else to say.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

USFIA Raided by SEC, FBI, etc. on 29-SEP-2015, assets frozen, company seized

Multiple news sources, including onsite witnesses, have reported that FBI, SEC, and several other agencies have raided USFIA on 9/29/2015 and froze its assets, and appointed a receiver to take over.

San Gabriel Valley News

SGVT: U.S. Government seizes Arcadia company's assets in GemCoin fraud case (29-SEP-2015)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

USFIA Update Continued

Previously, we have covered how Amkey exited China after series of scandals (product problems, repeated changes of comp plan, sudden reversal of "opening stores" plan)  and never received the direct sales license it needed to operate in China, leaving thousands of distributors stranded and disillusioned.

What was surprising though is Amkey continued to operate outside of China, and attracted a following in Singapore and nearby countries.

Amkey and AllianceNGN 

Despite Amkey quietly withdrawing from China, it apparently enjoyed several years of continued growth, or at least fast recruitment, in places such as Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and places that speaks Chinese, mainly by adding something called "NGNTalk", an IP talk product for long distance calling without the long distance fees.

NGN Talk's parent company, Alliance NGN, has a very intriguing Chinese name 美国联邦环球通which literally translates to US Federal Global Talk. Really official sounding, isn't it?

Various Chinese fan websites claimed that "Alliance NGN" has received FCC and EC certification. Searching FCC website shows no such certification.

The NGNTalk fan sites (in Chinese, example here, and here), and blogs littered all over the place about NGNTalk hinted at the level of recruiting. The deeper the tree, the higher the share (up to 20% if you go beyond level 8) as well as direct reward for recruiting per head, and so on.

If you look at the main menu of the alliancengn.com, it was actively soliciting investments. Why else would it have "Investor Guide" on its website as a main menu item?

Alliance NGN website, courtesy of web designer MartinMa
Note the section above: Investor information
This was confirmed when one digs into Alliance NGN's innards, where you discover that you can sign up and "invest" and even trade and receive "guidance".

Alliance NGN backoffice screenshot courtesy of MartinMa
Apparently one can invest money into "brokerage accounts" at Alliance NGN, which
was supposed to be a "telecom" company... Hmmmm.... 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

USFIA Update: Turns out USFIA itself is a reload scam... Successor to Amkey

Some readers have posed the question... How did Steve Chen got so big, involving possibly hundreds of millions of dollars?

The answer is... he's been at this for much longer than USFIA. USFIA (as either "American Royal 美洲富豪" or "American Mining 美洲礦業") was only his latest scheme.  His previous scheme was "Amkey 安旗" , which started in 2004, and was basically forced to exit China after repeated scandals, but continued in Asia for many more years.

So what exactly was Amkey? According to Amkey's website...

A leading nutritional supplement products corporation, Amkey, Inc, is the provider of the world’s only cell renewal and protection products with multiple international patents. We are a US company established in June 2003 headquartered in Los Angeles, California. We are an e-commerce network marketing company combining R&D, production and the sales of high-tech nutritional supplement products, skin care products and daily sundry items.
It claims to be a member of the Direct Selling Association (US), but searching through DSA.org as of today (27-SEP-2015) shows no such company listed.  Searching through news archives seems to indicate that Amkey was accepted by DSA in June 2005, but there is no press release about when it was ejected.

Current US address is the Steve Chen building... 135 E. Live Oak, Arcadia. But let's start from the very beginning...

Amkey in China

Amkey entered China in October 2004 by registering "Amkey (Beijing) Technology Development Ltd." 安旗(北京)科技发展有限公司 in a business park in Beijing. It apparently bought some factory in Shenzhen in 2005 and started selling its products after approval process. 

According to an expose penned by an ex-member (PDF of article in Chinese) , Amkey was guilty of multiple misrepresentations.

On 14-SEP-2005, Premier Hu Jintao, attending a UN meeting, apparently met with over 600 local who's-who in the Chinese community, and Steve Chen was apparently among the crowd.

This was immediately plastered all over the Amkey news channels as "Premier Hu and Wife Welcomed By Amkey US CEO, Chinese-American Elite Merchant Council Chairman Steve Chen", claiming that 7 members of the company representing the three branches of Amkey (US, Beijing, and Hong Kong) to attend "US-China CEO Summit", claiming only the top 50 CEOs of the world can attend and they got 3 out of the 50 seats.

So what's the reality? According to the expose writer, Amkey attended a "US China Commerce Summit" at the Waldorf, not the Top 50 CEO summit. As for "welcomed Premier Hu"? A photo of Hu's motorcade driving past an Amkey banner streamed along the route was the "proof" provided by Amkey's website.

Another bout of hilarity ensued regarding the 2004 "Xiamen Direct Sales Legislation Proposal Seminar" 厦门直销立法座谈会.  Twenty-two companies were invited to talk with Chinese legislators about what sort of legislations and regulations the direct sales industry needs in China. Amkey, who was NOT among the 22 invited companies, falsely claimed to be among the attendees by inflating the company count to 23 (link in Chinese). This was not done by affiliates, but by Amkey corporate website.  The officials were not amused. Furthermore, the only time Amkey appeared in the news is it was on a BLACKLIST of 20 companies that was investigated for possible pyramid schemes.