Offshore Investment Seminar Frauds
Offshore investing seminars, which usually last anywhere from a weekend to a week, are typically held in exotic, luxurious surroundings.
The well-off people, who aren't super-rich, paying $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 or more to attend the conferences lap up the life of luxury, and ultimately buy into the message that they can live that way all the time if only they invest in some promoted program of wealth generation.
Offshore Investment Seminars
Currently there are many individuals out there trying to convince their business acquaintances and friends to travel to certain offshore investment seminars.
These seminars typically cost around $10,000 and promise unbelievable monetary returns on your investment (i.e. 30% per month) which often turn out to be through fake 'prime bank trading programs'.
You initially pay $10,000, then can attend subsequent seminars, plus by taking along friends you only pay $2,000 while the friend pays $10,000.
One group of promoters claims only to be putting you in touch with the investment advisers and these investments and that they are independent of any investments you may take up.
This disclaimer is likely to circumvent the need for being a licensed investment advisor.
The Not-So-Good Doctor
Some seminars still quote a Dr Rudolf Van Lin, also known as Rudolf Alexander Victor Linschoten of California.
In 1999, the US SEC successfully brought an action alleging that:
"…he told investors that their funds would be used for a secret "bank trading" program and guaranteed a 100% return within 90 "banking days" in a "risk free" investment.
In fact, there was no bank trading program at all.
He used investor funds to purchase cars, guns, residential property, and to pay credit card and hotel bills.
Investor funds were also transferred to Linschoten's Swiss bank account." (http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr16153.txt)
In September of 1999 he was given 60 months in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud.
He was also ordered to pay restitution of $5,712,331 to the victims at a monthly rate of $3000 once released into probation. (SA CR 99-34-AHS)
Assuming he won't ever die, victims will be paid off in 163 years.
Investors International Pty Ltd. ran afoul of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission in 1999 for offering a product which they claimed was an 'educational program' involving video and audio material, and attendance at an overseas seminar.
The topics covered such areas as tax minimization, offshore investment and how to set up an offshore corporation and/or trust.
The Federal Court found that this was in fact investment advice, and prohibited the company and its sole director from offering this advice because neither the company nor the director, Stuart Drummond Arthur, were licensed.
At the time, ASIC believed that throughout Australia there were more than 600 retailers of the product wholesaled by Stuart Arthur and his company.
As a result of the Federal Court order, any unlicensed retailers who offered Investors International products, or products similar to the type offered by Investors International, may be in breach of the law.