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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Unlucky Lucky Madoff Investors

So you were lucky enough to receive money back from Bernie Madoff before his pyramid scheme collapsed? Think again.

The usual process in pyramid scheme recoveries is for the court-appointed Receiver to obtain all the financial records of the scamster, including bank accounts. Then, disbursements are traced to each recipient, who receive a friendly letter telling that they must send all the money they received back to the Receiver, so that the Receiver can pool the moneys together for distribution to all victims. Oh, and by the way, if the moneys are not returned then the Receiver will either sue the victim or obtain an order to hold the victim in contempt of court.

Upon receiving such a letter, the scam victim yells "Bloody Murder!" and immediately complains that they put more money into the scheme than they ever got back, and are still in the hole.

The Receiver just doesn't care. The money is not that of the victim, the money is that of ALL victims. The Receiver's job is to husband all the remaining assets of the scheme into the pool, and the assets include those that were paid out of the "lucky" victims before the scheme collapsed.

But what if the victim who received money doesn't have any ready cash on hand? Tough. The receiver can bring a lawsuit against the victim, obtain a judgment, and then liquidate the victim's other assets, such as houses, IRAs, etc., until the Receiver gets back all the money received from Madoff.

Brutal? Yes, but necessary to protect all victims. It doesn't make any sense than an investor who received money from Madoff a month ago should be in a better position than one who didn't. The strong powers of the Receiver to claw money out of "lucky" investors is also why there is actually the possibility of some recovery by all victims. In the Reed Slatkin scam, for instance, victims received upwards of 40% of their original investments back. In the Cash-For-Titles scam of the late 1990s, victims received over 70% of their money back.


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Friday, January 2, 2009

Closed End Managed Buy/Sell Program Is A Scam

Question: Are closed end managed buy/sell programs legitimate? I've made introductions to parties claiming they can produce 30% gains per trade as the buyer is under contract to perform. I think it could be a scam.


It is a scam of the type known as a pyramid scheme. The term buy/sell programs is a term often used by scam artists to try to impress investors into thinking they are putting money into a sophisticated hedge fund (many and possibly most hedge funds are scams in our opinion, but that's another matter entirely), where the fund can generate big returns without any risk of loss.

In fact, the risk-reward correlation is as absolute as the earth-gravity correlation: You just can't get away from it. You cannot have big returns without big risks. Nobody can promise 30% gains per trade without extraordinary risk. But this is just a pyramid scheme where old investors are being paid with new investors' money, but no traders are actually occurring. Like the Bernie Madoff scam, they are just making up statements showing trades out of thin air. Run!

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Nigerian Date Wants Travel Money

Question: I sent a girl money to fly from logas to portland,and she told me that they wouldn't let her board the plane because she didn't have enough travel money,they told her she need 1200 doller's travel money to beable to board plane,is this true ??

This is another version of a dating scam a/k/a Nigerian dating scam a/k/a advance fee fraud. You are probably not even corresponding with a girl, but a 60-year old fat guy sitting in a cybercafe somewhere in Africa. If you send the $1,200 you'll be scammed instantly.

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Reader Question About Dating Scam


Have you ever heard of a scam involving a dating site. Guy looking for lady. Story when contact is made that he in Africa prospecting diamonds. After a couple of week's diamonds found, guy coming home but has problem paying royalties on diamonds. Can lady send him money as he doesn't have enough with him?

I am experiencing something like this now. Could be legit and I certainly am not sending anyone any money but if it's a scam I sure would like to know and that others are warned.



This is a common scam, known variously as a "dating scam" or a "Nigerian dating scam". It is a version of the Nigerian 4-1-9 scheme, which is technically known as "advance fee fraud".

You've been corresponding with a scam artist, which might not even be a guy, but is very likely to be sitting in a warehouse in Nigeria spamming and scamming for people to fall for this scam. There are no diamonds, and no royalties to be paid on the diamonds -- they've just made this up to get your money.

Unfortunately, there will be a number of suckers every DAY who fall for this scam, which is why running scams is the third largest business in Nigeria. Stay safe, and just refuse to deal with anybody in Africa, or anybody who wants your money.

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