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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 24052
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I have been approached by an asset management company based

Customer Question

I have been approached by an asset management company based in Tokyo asking me to sell shares they said I bought years ago. These shares have been deregistered and worth nothing in their present state. To enable them to purchase these shares I need to recertificate them by paying them £4000. The asset management firm will then buy them off me for 123000$. Too good to be true?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you with your question.

Yes. Too good to be true. You are being targeted -- again -- for a boiler room investment fraud.

Walk away from this now. You're selling, not buying, and there's never any need for you to put up any money at all under these circumstances. The so called "recertification fee" is the tell-tale up-front fee of a boiler room investment fraud. It's a bogus requirement, which may sound logical enough to fool the uninitated, but it is not real.

Any time you get an unsolicited investment opportunity from a so-called foreign broker, it is going to be a fraud. The international investment community is filled with warnings about cold callers who try to pressure you into making what they say will be a lucrative and time-sensitive investment. But soliciting abroad is just not what any legitimate financial firm does. It is another big sign of an investment fraud.

The boiler room scam comes in two versions:

In the first version, you are told that the deal is time-sensitive and that you will have to make a very quick decision. So you buy shares, wire the firm your money and by the time you realize a year or so later you've been taken advantage of (you'll get only worthless stock or nothing at all) your "firm" has disappeared into thin air and your money along with it. This has already happened to you, whether you realize it or not.

It's the second version for which you've now been approached. Here, a foreign investment company claims to be looking to buy some stock from you. It's the same worthless stock you got snookered into buying once before. You'd be really happy to get rid of them and recoup your loss. Better yet, the figures the agent bounces around are most impressive. They claim that the offer will quickly disappear. You don't get much time to dwell on this if you want to make this deal which promises to be very lucrative for you. However, It will cost you an up front fee to complete the deal, because they tell you that there is money you must pay out first to release your shares for sale.

Pay that fee and you will lose a great deal of money and get nothing.

A financial firm must be registered in its own country with its country's financial regulatory authority and authorized by the FCA to trade in the UK. If it can't produce those credentials, it is operating outside of the law and you are setting yourself up for a fraud by dealing with them. Additionally you lose the protection of your own law enforcement authorities and consumer and financial protection agencies.

You can see what the FCA says about unsolicited cold callers here. The Japanese Financial Service Agency regulates all legitimate brokerages. They also warn about cold-calling and boiler room scams here. They have list of companies acting unlawfully. It is not a complete list as scammers change names as often as you change socks. But you should check that list for signs of your so-called broker.

I don't have the name of the company contacting you, but you should look them up on the FCA register and see if they are authorized to trade in the UK and on the Japanese site to see if they are authorized there.

If you give me the name of the Japanese firm that contacted you and their website, I can see what more I can find for you and add to my answer. But the tip off is that this perfectly fits the scam scenario and is asking for an up front fee.

Avoid.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The firm that contacted me is Benison Asset Management. They say I have shares in Ocean Park Ventures formally Dunnedin Ventures. They are gold and mineral mining.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
There is already at least one scam report out about Benison Asset Management. This time they are calling in the US. (see link)

There is also no website for Benison Asset Management that shows up on a Google search. If you have one, please send it on.

The Japanese FCA has no record of this firm. They are not listed among the scammers but they are not listed among those registered businesses either. The FCA register has no record of them either.

So there is absolutely no reason to believe that they can trade in the UK and that their offering to you is legitimate. To the contrary, there is every reason to believe they are going to scam you.

Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 24052
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
Zoey, JD and 2 other Fraud Examiner Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. It is what I already suspected.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
Yes. There really isn't any exception. Legitimate financial brokers don't engage in this type of activity. So a check of your FCA register and the up front fee is enough to tell the whole story.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have been contact by Benison Asset Management again for over an hour on the phone. He said ring the International Regulatory Commission Japan 81 345 88 87 58. for verification of this company, but going on google I can't find this organisation.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
You ought to stop talking to Benison Asset Management. They are looking to steal your money, and they will never tell you that. They will simply keep lying to you until they wear you down.

Don't give them that opportunity. I know that these financial scammers are sophisticated, personable and highly convincing, but they are also thieves.

You are right. There's no such institution as the International Regulatory Commission. Ring that number and you'll just get a confederate of the scammers. The actual financial regulatory authority in Japan is the FSA It is an official government website, and its phone number is 81-(0)3-3506- 600 0. It has a warning about investing through cold callers right on their home page and it has a lists of every regulated financial firm in Japan. Benison Asset Management is not on any of those lists.

Stop trying to fool yourself into thinking there's a good deal here, because this "business" will willingly help you deceive yourself, and once you've lost your money, the possibility of getting it back are about zero.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Zoey


 


Thank you for your reply. Benison Asset Management contacted me again asking if I had rung the Int. Regulatory Commission. I replied I hadn't and told him that I no longer wish to pursue this deal and said 'Goodbye'


Thank you for your help

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
You're welcome.

Be careful. You'll hear from them again, but this time they will claim to be another firm somewhere else. They almost had you where they wanted you, and that means you'll make their list of people worth another try.

Just remember if they are not authorized by your FCA to trade in the UK they are operating outside of the law. You can always just contact the FCA and ask.

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