Well, it looks like inevitable could now be happening. The ponzi nature of Banners Broker may well have caught up with the ill-conceived organisation and it, along with all its ‘investors’ cash appears to be well on the way to disappearing in to a great big black hole.
*** Note: See this post for an update in December 2015 – those behind Banners Broker have been arrested in Canada.***
That much hyped Straight Line Cycler Doubler may be going, as anticipated, in a straight line down the loo. The company has been struggling since the end of 2012 with a range of issues, particularly in Goa, India – where it was dragged into the Indian courts on fraud charges – Finch Sells Blog. It has also been battling a hugely negative media backlash against the organisation and Mastercard, which had issued a prepaid card to install and withdraw funds, has now also withdrawn its support. This may well be the ultimate death knell for the already faltering group. On the Mastercard issue BB released the following statement:
[quote style=”1″]As you know we have been promoting this [prepaid card] specifically, as we truly believed this was the best option. Unfortunately Mastercard has the option in their contract to cancel the contract anytime. The email I received said that because of bad publicity surrounding Banner Brokers, they would not want to be associated with BB any longer.[/quote]
It now looks like Chris Smith, Rajiv Dixit and the Irish operative, Paul McCarthy, are in the process of riding off into the sunset. Below is the rather flimsy excuse being peddled by Chris Smith as to why the website is currently offline – it’s all to do with their hosting provider not being capable of handling their traffic! Just what you’d expect from a multi-billion dollar organisation, eh?
Let’s be honest, Banners Broker is going kaput, if it hasn’t indeed gone already, it may well have. If you’ve invested, there’s a fairly strong chance you’re not getting your money back. The BB website may come back online for some period, but I wouldn’t bank on it – pardon the pun (update: the site is back online as of March 23rd so there’s obviously a presumption that there are more suckers out there to be fleeced).
This isn’t an ‘I told you so’ post, although I have mentioned Banners Broker here in less than glowing terms in the past. I take no pleasure at all in the fact that this reprehensible organisation may well have met its maker because I know many, many people have lost small, medium and large amounts of money to its greed. I outlined all the reasons why people should avoid the scam some time ago in that previous post, so I’m not going to go into it here again.
Suffice to say, if you see something like this in the future, claiming unrealistic returns over a difficult to believe period of time – then it is practically always a scam. It’s particularly a problem if you don’t understand what’s going on – and nobody except the organisers understood what was going on at Banners Broker. It based its entire model on obfuscation and opacity.
If you visit the site now (March 21st 2013) you’ll simple find the ‘Under Maintenance’ screen pictured above with phone numbers for the various ‘Independent Contractors’ running the scam in a variety of countries (Update: On March 22nd the site disappeared altogether, and on March 23rd it was back to business as usual. The organisers obviously think there’s still a bit of money to be juiced out of potential victims.) When we rang the Irish office number we got the following, very worrying, non-response:
I have a friend who got involved in this some time ago, he’s now drawing down profits well in excess of his initial input so he’s a very happy camper. When I asked him if he was worried that the whole thing could collapse he said: “Ah, sure everybody involved knows it’s a scam, but as long as we can keep taking money out of it we don’t care.” That just about sums it up. It is a scam that will hurt a lot of people at the bottom of the pyramid, but while those at the top can keep taking out profits you can expect this thing to run for as long as they can possibly keep it going.
If you’ve got money ‘invested’ with Banners Broker you’d better call the Gardaí immediately. I’d not be expecting any refund, but at least the perpetrators might be put behind bars – eventually.
Update: In February 2014 the expected result of Banners Broker’s nefarious activities occurred – the company was wound up in the Isle of Man – see the report here in the Irish Examiner.
Final Update: On December 9th 2015 both Rajiv Dixit and Chris Smith were arrested in Canada. See announcement from the Toronto Police Service and video of the press conference on this post.