Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Scam Tactics: Using Cultural Preconceptions and Stereotypes for Affinity Scam

As the Gemcoin scam reached national stage, a video surfaced recently of Steve Chen and company throwing some sort of USFIA Club party at a McMansion owned by one of his real estate companies (AHome) ostensibly as some sort of reward for "top performing" USFIA participants.

During the event, Steve Chen was wearing a light blue polo with some sort of a badge on left breast, a photo badge clipped on the right breast, and was wearing a gunbelt with holster (and gun), with some sort of shield/badge on the belt in public display. The caption identified him as chairman, USFIA club.  (lit: US Royal Club)

Vidcap from video, red caption by Oz, BehindMLM.com
white caption says: USFIA Club Chairman
A later picture shows the gun and the rest, belt shield, shoulder patch, and photo ID badge and its close-up, where it clearly says: GREAT WALL, photo, badge, name, number, date, and "Public Safety".

Photo of Steve Chen cutting ribbon of his own place, close up of badge
brown and green markup by Oz, behindmlm.com,
Steve Chen is obviously dressed as security guard, ID'ed so by badge

Search of LA Area for "Great Wall" yielded a company called Great Wall Security Training Center, in San Gabriel, CA, not far from Arcadia.

Great Wall Security Training Center banner from their own website

Where, as you can guess, they train security guards, including armed guards, gun permits, pepper spray permits, billy club permits, body guard permit, concealed carry permit, and other related stuff.

Why did a chairman demote himself to security guard just to carry a gun around? On a grand-opening ceremony of his own club? For that, you have to understand Chinese culture.

China prohibits private ownership of guns. Guns can only be held by military, paramilitary, law enforcement, and security organizations, and a few sporting and research organizations. Thus, any one holding a gun is assumed to be in a position of power, either authorized by law, or so powerful law looks the other way.

Chinese who moved to the US may read and understand 2nd amendment, about "right to bear arms", but they don't quite realize it to the point of taken it to heart. They hear, but they don't fully comprehend how EASY it is to obtain a gun permit in the US. And Steve Chen used this preconception GUN=POWER to his advantage.  By wearing a gun, he is counting on Chinese to assume he is in a position of power, and ignore the fact that he can only wear the gun as a security guard (for his own place).

Thus is the power of cognitive dissonance. And that's hardly the only time Steve Chen played fast and loose with the facts. The so-called 9 facts statement is hilarious in that it basically denied reality and relied on word games (it's not USFIA, it's one of the OTHER Steve Chen companies).

The hilarious part is how we got the full name of John Bao Ping Zhang, body guard / security guard / gem appraiser. Yes, one of those professions doesn't fit. Yet that's exactly how he was presented to the public in January 2015 in Toronto USFIA sales event. They didn't even bother giving him a pseudonym.

Screencap of Toronto event as covered by local media in January 2015

But really, how do you know a guy's a gemstone appraiser... or a security guard? If you dress up a guard in a fancy suit, and told everybody he's a gem appraiser, people will believe you... Until you see pictures of the SAME GUY in security uniform, like this:

Screencap of ChineseDailyUSA.com coverage of May 2015 promo event
where Steve Chen hired a bus and formed a motorcade to visit his own closed
golf course for some cheerleading and target practice

I'm sure everybody's heard of the joke about the driver and the professor.

That's why Steve Chen have to keep tight with John Wuo, ex-mayor of Arcadia. In China, a mayor is a major post. In fact, even the city secretary (mayor's chief of staff) is a very important post, because he handles all the paperwork, and can help or ruin anybody should he prove to be corrupt. That's why Steve Chen kept tight with Wuo... Wuo was being used... with his own permission. Chinese idiom is "one eye open, one eye closed". American equivalent is "turn a blind eye", and the legal term is "willful ignorance", i.e. I don't know the details and I don't want to know.

Don't believe everything you see with your own eyes. Your preconceptions, cultural or otherwise, may cloud your thinking.


  1. Here is a fun one for your files (If you don't have it already).


    1. Ooooh, you can even read the title on that one: "international jewelry appraiser".

    2. Here's something for you to chuckle over. It appears that some Spanish speakers found my little expose on Mannix here. They're joking about maybe he can help Steve program the "trading platform" too, guard by day, appraiser by night. ;)


  2. Thank you for your information!!
    They are very helpful~!

  3. Kasey, have you checked out http://app4.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm and looked for Steve Chen?

    9/23/1961 looks like it could be a reasonable date of birth for our favorite CEO

    Going to make some phone calls in the morning and see if I can get a booking photo.

    1. Interesting. Two run-ins with the Sheriff's, 20K to 30K bail... DUI?

    2. Hard to say for sure, but one of the two bookings was for a felony charge. He was bailed out on that one pretty darn quick. For the misdemeanor charge booking he was there quite a while, which makes the thought of DUI a very real possibility. Many facilities have a policy to hold on to people under the influence of alcohol until all of the alcohol is out of their system.

      No luck as of yet on a booking photo or any additional information. I'm waiting for a call back =P

  4. Oh, and the Rosie Perez looking gal is Julia Zhu, The other two guys are Jimmy Li and John Li. That takes care of the who's Who in the photo with the green labels.