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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23965
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I have been told that I own shares in a firm subject to a

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I have been told that I own shares in a firm subject to a take-over bid. I have been induced to purchase a bond to guarantee completion of the purchase deal. I have now been told that I must pay refundable income tax before the purchase funds can be released. A scam? supported by apparent certificates from Crest and the US IRS.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The suspected scam is US based
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 6 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. Are you online at this time?

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 6 months ago.

I'm sorry to say that you have been the target of what's known as a boiler room investment fraud. I hope you have not yet wired off any funds to these thieves, as you will generally not be able to recover any monies that you lose.

Here's what you need to know:

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. Soliciting abroad is just not what any legitimate financial firm does. It is illegal and the #1 sign of an investment fraud.

The boiler room scam comes in two versions:

You've probably experienced the first version already. You are told about a time-sensitive investment opportunity and pressured 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 your foreign "broker" has disappeared into thin air and your money along with him.

It's the second version for which you've been approached now. Here, a foreign investment company claims to be looking to buy up your old worthless stock at a tremendous profit. The figures the agent bounces around are impressive and 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. They are hoping you will be so motivated to recoup your previous losses that you will jump at the opportunity, even though it will cost you a large up front fee to complete the deal, because they tell you that there is money you must pay out first from your own pocket in order to release your shares for sale.

The fact is that you never have to pay money out of pocket in order to sell your shares. Any up front fee, no matter how logical the reason may seem to you, is just a lie that sounds good enough to fool the uninitiated, but it simply isn't true.

All of the money in this broker's offer to you is going the wrong way, from you to them! That's always a scam.

Trading in the US is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, just as it is regulated in your country by your Financial Conduct Authority. The IRS is just a taxing agency and has nothing to do with stock transfers.

All international trading is government regulated and for a US broker to be able to make you an offering in the UK it must be registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and authorized to trade in the UK by your Financial Conduct Authority. Without that, it's operating outside of the law, and you are walking right into an investment fraud.

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

Cease all contact with these and any other foreign firms that make unsolicited calls or send unsolicited letters and emails to seek your business. They are all frauds. Send no money.

Report the fraud in the States to the FBI at IC3.gov and to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Report them to your police and to your FCA so that they wlll put out an investor alert to warn your countrymen.

Your FCA warns about boiler room frauds here.

As for getting your money back, if you can find these folks, you can sue them or have them prosecuted, but finding them is going to be a job for law enforcement. You will find that out if you haven't yet and will discover that all of the names and contact information you have for these people will be false. That means the only way you'll be able to recover your funds is if US and/or UK authorities can find out who and where these people really are and bring them to justice. Unfortunately, that's a very long longshot and the overwhelming number of boiler room investment fraudsters get completely away with their crime.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Grace Smith from CapitaGroup*****NewYork NY10022 contacted me to advise that I owned 4850 shares in Petards Group plc which were the subject of a hostile take-over bid. I was offered £14 per share and subsequently advised that my shares carried warrants to purchase an additional 4850 shares for $21525, each additional share to be bought at £14 ie £67900.
I refused the offer but had already been induced to purchase for £4753 an insurance bond to guarantee the completion of the deal.
I am advised that the take-over is proceeding and have been sent a document purporting to be from the US Treasury recognising Capita Group as my agents in this matter. Capita advise me that I must pay tax of £21734.79, representing 33% of the proceeds before the funds will be released.
Capita have sent me certificates purporting to be from Crest confirming my ownership of the shares and purporting to be from the US Treasury recognising Capita as my agents. I am sure these acts constitute fraud. Who do I contact to report these acts?
What chance if any do I have of recovering the £4753 sent to the Philippines for the insurance bond?
I am now on my computer.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information, which, unfortunately, does not change my answer.

The New York Secretary of State's business register shows no such company as CapitaGroup licensed to do business in the state of New York. Were it real, it would have to be there for tax purposes. Their so called address of*****is a skyscraper. The company address is insufficient for mail or packages to be delivered and their office doesn't really exist.

I don't have any contact information for Petards Group LLC or Crest, but I'm confident that these companies won't really exist either.

A New York brokerage must be registered with the US SEcurities and Exchange Commission. FINRA is the agency that keeps the data base of registered brokers and brokerages. As you can see for yourself, there is no such firm as Capita Group registered with the Securities Exchange Commission. Nor is there any registered broker named Grace Smith in New York City.

There is no take-over, and the US Treasury would not be involved in this transaction. Nor would you ever have to pay an up front tax. Assuming taxes were really due, they would be deducted from the proceeds of the sale and you'd get all the rest. You would NEVER have to pay out of pocket.

You would contact the FBI at their Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov. YOu could file another complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov and with the Securities and Exchange Commission at FTC.gov.

In your own country, you should report this to the FCA and to ActionFraud.police.uk.

The odds of your recovering your money are just about zero, unless you can find out where these folks are. To do that, you'd need law enforcement to turn them up or would have to avail yourself of a private investigator.

Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23965
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
Zoey, JD and other Fraud Examiner Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your opinion which confirms my earlier suspicions. I accept that I have been done and consider it the cost of education.
Regards
Tom Leonard
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 6 months ago.

You're welcome.

Scammers always come back eventually with new identities to try to get another bite of the apple. Be vigilant and avoid any unsolicited contact from any stranger offering news that seems much too good to be true.

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