Part 2 – “Unravelled of Astonishing facts”
As mentioned previously, Part 2 of the article will highlight the more complex aspects of the case. As such, we will talk about how the case has been systematically identified by KX-Unit’s Anti-Scam Assessment rubrics as a scam.
The role of Investor A (scammer’s friend) and the current Mookata owner will be highlighted. KX-unit’s engagement with the case also meant that we started off with intensive preliminary findings and sourced for details regarding the parties involved. Our research and analysis showed that the scammer is not a bankrupt (an initial fear of our client) and we managed to find out that he has been in and out of businesses for the past decade.
Under the scammer’s name, he had 6 current business entities and all of them were Private Limited and registered to the same address. This raises some concern because if his businesses were indeed legitimate, the nature of their business operations would not have permitted them all to be at one small central space. In fact, none of these 6 businesses had any online business profiles and trail, they all operated under the same modus operandi. Additionally, we also did more financial and business background assessment on him to ascertain if he had the ability to pay off the debt.
This is where we found out that he has had multiple businesses that were started and terminated within a span of 1 to 2 years, another sign that these businesses were empty shells for shady dealings. Businesses usually seek to have a sustainable and longer duration in order to have the impression of reliability. But this was not the case with the scammer.
These findings coincided with what our client shared with regards to Investor A, someone that the scammer brought in supposedly to be an investor, but was really in cahoots. Various telltale signs attest to that. Investor A was supposed to have invested $125,000 into the venture, just as our client did. But when the venture failed (because the Mookata owner “ran away”), we would expect that Investor A be anxious, worried and devastated. But that was not to be.
When Investor A saw our client outside, he asked our client out for tea. But instead of talking about how they could recover the money back, Investor A appeared to have no qualms about “losing” his part of the money ($125,000). He is a pilot with one of the airline carriers in Singapore, but even so, $125,000 is not a small sum.
Their conversation slowly shifted to Investor A convincing our client that it would be “pointless” to sue and make the scammer bankrupt because then the scammer would not be able to pay him anyway. Instead of showing concern, he felt that investor A was out to convince our client not to take any action against the scammer, which points to his culpability and that perhaps the scammer and investor A are in cahoots.
One thing was sure, Investor A did not speak as though he was a victim like he was supposed to be, rather, he spoke like an accomplice to the scammer.
By then, the scammer has delayed payments for close to 6 months – using tactics like empty cheques to distract our client. But our client decided not to sue him first because he still saw the scammer as a friend. What did the scammer do in return? He evaded.
When we went to see him to hand him the letter of demand and simply ask for negotiation, the scammer evaded us. He promised us 3 appointments over the course, but he always switched off his phone during the actual day of appointment. He would tell us to email him to set new appointments again and again.
When we did timely and tactical impromptu visits to him, he was caught off guard and maintained that he does not want to see us, even when he knew that our client has entrusted us to represent him in discussions. He evaded all possible constructive dialogues with us. In addition, the scammer even went on to call our client and told him not to pay us (debt collectors) but instead use the money to give him a “discount” on his debt. It was clear that the scammer is highly manipulative, cunning, and insincere. Not to mention, unreliable.
In our engagement, KX-Unit also contacted the real owner of the Mookata Restaurant and was able to communicate with him to establish one of the clearest evidence of the scam for our client. And this was rather distressing news for our client, because our client had sincerely hoped that first he was not scammed and that his money could be recovered. Knowing the truth through KX-Unit was a distressing ordeal for him.
Nonetheless, we asked the Mookata owner a few questions over the phone. We started by asking if he knew the scammer, to which he replied: yes. We asked him if he knew that the scammer was running an investment on his restaurant, he said: yes. When we finally asked him whether the scammer could have been running any shady dealings, he replied: “He is definitely a scammer. A rotten scam”.
We asked if he would be able to meet us and our client to clarify certain issues and he readily agreed. During the rather solemn meeting, we found out that the scammer had also duped the owner of the Mookata restaurant. The scammer approached him to ask if he could buy over his business, and through it all maintained a very generous and sincere personality.
For example, he gave the owner a $10,000 cheque on the first meeting as a form of goodwill deposit that he will be buying over the business. He later handed the owner another cheque for $10,000 when the owner asked if he was going to do the business acquisition, to signal his “genuine” interest – and at this point, the owner really felt convinced that he could start preparing the company for handover. The scammer then asked for “about 2 months” to get the “investors” together.
The most surprising of all was that this actually parallels to what the scammer told our client on the other hand. Within the same time frame, the scammer also told our client that he needed 2 months to set up the Cashiering and Order systems, and also finalize the contractual agreements.
When our client heard this and pieced together the entire picture, he broke down. He was hoping against hope that it would not be a scam. But the same way the scammer scammed him; the scammer also scammed the Mookata restaurant owner. The amount of manipulation needed to pull this off is tremendous.
The scammer betrayed both sides and played both our client and the mookata owner against each other. The scammer stopped contacting the Mookata owner after awhile and it soon became clear that the acquisition was not going to happen. The owner had to frustratingly put the pieces together once again and try to get back his workers and equipment to re-run his business again.
Our client, however, was not as lucky. He had just found out that he has lost his $125,000 to a scam. And that the money has never been meant for investment in the first place. The staffs at KX-Unit provided our client the necessary support he needed. It is not easy having to deal with the guilt that one’s own shortcoming and mistake has led to a greater price at the end of the day.
One of our services also include helping our client to escalate the matter to the Commercial Affairs Department so that IMMEDIATE action to probe can be done to safeguard the interest of our client. To aid in the expedience of the process, all details of the point of contacts in the whole chain of events has been systematically collated for the relevant authorities on behalf of our client.
We live by our creed: Never Falter Never Capitulate. And we will give our all to help our client. As the case is on going case, we remain alert and active in trying to secure an amicable and feasible solution for our client. KX-Unit would still be assisting to see if there is any form of solution can be attained in this case.
We hope the Scam Case Series sharing has been informative to all. If there is any take away, it is that even in the most foolproof of cases and the most convincing of business plans; you would have failed if you fail to consider the intangibles (like an investor’s track record, past history, financial credibility, business portfolios, etc.) This information could have potentially averted painful losses for all parties.
If you ever need a professional advice and opinion on your business proposal, and you get the hunch that something is not correct, or if you allow yourself to be too comfortable with the rationality and logical accounts of the profit margins, we advise you to take a step back.
Look at the big picture and even get a professional opinion. After all, it will only be to your benefit. Should you need that professional opinion, KX-Unit has a systematic and customised Anti-Scam Assessment for your business needs. From character profiling to business backgrounds to financial credibility, we will be most willing to assist. If you have any other queries on the services we offer, please do feel free to contact KX-Unit at +65 8112 7790 or drop us a mail at enquiries@KX-Unit.com. You can also visit our website athttp://www.KX-Unit.com/