Thursday, November 28, 2013

UPDATED NEWS: Payza funds in US frozen by Department of Homeland Security? Or Not?

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Official ...
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Official Signature Websafe Colors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to Ultralight Financial Services (, aka Obopay's homepage, funds that originally belonged to Payza (i.e. MH Pillars, who bought out AlertPay earlier) was frozen by Department of Homeland Security.

EDIT: Some updated info regarding Obopay. Please click "continued" and see the UPDATE section.

Those who play in HYIP or suspect Ponzi scheme circles should be familiar with Payza, because Payza doesn't have the restrictions of Paypal (no HYIP, no get rich quick schemes, etc.). With closing of Liberty Reserve earlier (and guilty plea by one of the co-owners not long ago) Payza had inherited the "Dark Paypal" moniker from Liberty Reserve.

Several suspect Ponzi schemes (they call themselves "income systems" or "rev share systems" or such) are definitely using Payza. Though some European firms prefer the Russian version.

However, Payza does not have license to transmit money in the US, so it has an exchange agreement with Obopay (i.e. Ultralight Financial Services) which has such license.

And now Payza US funds are frozen. Not seized, mind you, merely frozen. ALL OF IT, millions of dollars.

This apparently was noticed days ago, when Payza started notifying their US customers that they cannot get through to Obopay to pay people in the US, and they will have to start legal action against Obopay.

Then suddenly the notice on Obopay's home website appeared... Assets frozen.

It's suddenly very clear that Obopay was under a gag order... They are NOT to reveal what's going on with Payza's account... Until they are allowed to say so... and it's clear that DHS now has a full record of who got / sent how much Payza money via Obopay to / from whom.

While no reason was given by Obopay, one can easily surmise the reason had everything to do with money laundering... the same reason Liberty Reserve was shut down.

And speculations are running wild.

It is clear that Department of Homeland Security, Federal Reserve Bank, FBI Financial Task Force, US Secret Service, and SEC Enforcement Branch, (together known as FinCEN) have eyes on the "virtual currency" and "money exchangers" for some time. The case against Liberty Reserve in Costa Rica wasn't built overnight. They had people in Costa Rica telling the local authorities who to grab and all that.

Add that to closing of Silk Road, and it's a severe blow to the "dark economy" and "dark market" that relied on "no questions" money transfers, something smugglers and traffickers and other criminals love, but authorities hate. 

With no more Liberty Reserve, Payza is simply the next in line, along with a Russian equivalent. (STP is based on Canada) for people who want to move money across borders quickly. That would include ordinary people... AND criminals. 

Are money exchangers doomed? Not at all. They simply need to 1) keep better records, and 2) stop dealing with shady people... just like regular banks. 

So in a sense, yes, they are. 

And people who play with Ponzi schemes (such as HYIPs and more) are doomed. You know who you are... 

Those still thinking of playing with fire (i.e. huckster schemes) may want to read this PDF, obtained by Wired Magazine on how US authorities are reacting to the Dark Economy.

Thanks for Oz at BehindMLM for first report.


Research into Obopay's background ran into a bit of trouble as I am NOT familiar with the financial industry.

Neither Obopay nor Ultralight were registered as corporations or LLCs in state of California (as per Kepler Database)

Neither Obopay nor Ultralight were registered with California Department of Business Oversight, Division of Financial institutions (where they should be registered if they are indeed sending/receiving money)

Yet both are showing a California address. One's in Redwood City (south of San Francisco), the other a mailbox in Palo Alto (next to Redwood City).

Obopay is a real corporation, with data in the Federal "EDGAR" database. It also has real links with MasterCard. However, Obopay has not filed a document since 2011 (which is not unusual for a small public company).

Ultralight's website is registered by "Accelerated Commerce", which is ran by "Rodney Robinson" and "Marvin Mah" both of whom were also among the people running Obopay (according to Obopay's About_Us website, which is no longer linked).

While Mastercard would not work with just anybody, and Obopay is obviously a real corporation with real capabilities, nobody seems to know anything about Ultralight, even if it's ran by the same people.

So far, there are several theories:

1) There is no DHS freeze, Obopay is trying to stiff Payza
2) There is a DHS freeze, but it's for some of the money stored by Payza
3) There is a DHS freeze, and it's because DHS wants to stop "dark economy" money laundering  (which was my original position)

Thus far, there are really no evidence for 1) as such a lie would ruin Obopay and anything linked to it. As for 2) there is a possibility but not a lot of it. Right now my prediction is 1% on 1), 25% on 2), and 74% on 3).

If you don't agree or have additional insights, feel free to comment. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. Update: Both Obopay and Ultralight are registered in Delaware. However, it costs $20 in Delaware to view ONE corporations records.