Queensland electrician set to recover $1.8 million fleeced by Philippine-based “boiler room” scammers
Australian investors are frequently lured into sophisticated multi-layered bogus share schemes by transnational criminal gangs, according to leading corporate intelligence firm IFW Global.
They need to be vigilant because the investments appear so believable and legitimate, according to IFW Global’s executive chairman, Ken Gamble.
Once investors realise they have been duped they are then lured into schemes associated with the initial investment, such as purported tax debts, which must be settled to release their money.
The scams also have a third layer: after the investor realises the money is lost, the fraudsters then approach again posing as a fraud recovery firm, like a US-based law firm, and offer to recover the money for a further fee.
“This has a two-fold result,” warned Mr Gamble,. “Firstly, it extracts every last cent from the defrauded person and, secondly, gives them a false sense of security that the matter is under investigation and that there is no need to lodge a formal complaint.”
Mr Gamble warns that boiler room scams, are “rampant” and have targeted “thousands of Australians”, often experienced investors who are too embarrassed to report their losses. “Many of the serious frauds against Australians are not being reported.”
Wayne Brown, a Mackay-based electrician, who lost $1.8 million, was one of those helped by IFW working in co-operation with the Philippine National Police on a major boiler room syndicate raid last month. An American and two Canadians were arrested.
Mr Brown speaks for the first time in the 101 East documentary, Swindle Kings of Manila, to be broadcast today AEST at 8.30am on Foxtel’s Al Jazeera channel. Afterwards it will screen in another four time zones around the world. It can later be viewed on the channel’s website at 101 East – its current affairs program on Asia and the Pacific.
Mr Gamble played a key role in the busting of the syndicate, which is also believed to have defrauded thousands of American, Asian and European investors.
“The criminal groups behind these serious frauds are exploiting cross-border loop holes which often leaves Australian law enforcement agencies with no ability to prosecute those involved,” he says.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission admits Australian government agencies have no jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute international scammers.
“Previous private/government partnerships between IFW Global and law enforcement agencies, particularly in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, have resulted in the dismantling of major fraud syndicates,” says Mr Gamble.