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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    2

    SCAM-Biz called for Import/Exp then Gems selling

    Not sure how to get the word out. But this is something that has happened to our company.

    We were contacted out of the blue, by someone stating they wanted an agent/representative in London. The man calling was from Africa. He wanted to met us to see if we would be his agent while he was in Africa. His name was Ishmael Masala.

    After meeting with Ishmael, he "added" an extra remit to his initial request and stated that he also buys and sells items for this Africa "Chief"....named, "Chief".

    Ishamel wanted to meet us first, (we met initially near a train station and went to a place for a meeting briefly) to explain "our" role when meeting the supplier of some goods.

    Then we met the "Chief". That is the only name we got for the bloke.

    We met him at the Royal Horseguards for brunch. He did pay for drinks.

    During the meeting the "Chief" gave two gems to Ishmael to get a price to sell for cash.

    Ishmael said he had a Jewish, Barry Cohen, contact who buys gems.

    Then we went to meet this "contact" who had been running around town and happened to be near Piccadily station. We said we would meet him there for an evaluation at the Meridien hotel.

    Once we got there to the Meridien Hotel, we had drinks and he took out his "machines" to determine the quality, weight etc of the 2 gems. One gems was a rough Sapphire and another Emerald. He estimated he could offer to buy them both for GBP 70,000.

    Then Ishmael took the gems back to "Chief" to try and get him to let him sell the gems. The Chief wanted GBP 40,000 for both. So Ishamel thought he would be making a good commission.

    We spoke to Ishmael who said the business arrangement should be 50/50 on commissions.

    BUT----and I mean BUT----the "Chief" wanted some "upfront" money for the items...before he would release them to get the payment. The Jeweler said he had the cash and to meet him back at his offices (where Ishmael knew the details) in a few hours time.

    However, at this point, we stepped out and informed them that business deals dont operate in such a manner...that we were uncomfortable with it all....and that we had no assurances about how or from where the gems were from....

    ....but we think it is a scam.

    Honestly, we dont have time for this...and wasted some hours...but BEWARE businesses....

    We think a ring is targeting businesses...whether from the yellow pages or websites to see if they can do this SCAM (what we think). They will want some upfront "holding deposit"......but we are not sure ...if the Jeweler guy was authentic....if the gems WERE IN FACT real though we witnessed the testing, but we are no experts....and the thrill of making such a huge commission....

    We think the Chief wanted some thousands as a deposit to him that we would bring the full 40k back.

    We are not thieves...and thought why would you do business with someone you think may rob you?

    Not sure where to place this in the forum...but hope the word gets out.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    16

    Re: SCAM-Biz called for Import/Exp then Gems selli

    1. Why does he need your services? He already had the seller (Chief) and the buyer (Larry) lined up. There's no need for your involvement, and only cuts into his profit margin.

    2. Was there any independent verification of the value of the gems? Surely there's no shortage of jewelers in downtown London that can give you a rough estimate on their value. That he pulled out some "machines" and performed some act in front of you means nothing. At the end of the day, he's some bloke you met in the hotel lobby.

    3. What was the reason for the "upfront money"? If you're going to rob him of his gems worth 70k, the pittance of a few thousand in "upfront" money is hardly a deterrent.

    I'd expect that as soon as you handed over the "upfront" money, all three would disappear and you'd never hear from them again. What you going to do? Go to the police with three vague descriptions, no business addresses, no contract?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    2

    Re: SCAM-Biz called for Import/Exp then Gems selli

    HI Cookiebeast,

    The guy was from S. Africa and he said that he is not able to travel often to the UK. So he needed a company based in London to act on behalf of "his" interests. He said the supplier, Chief was corrupt and he was afraid if he wasnt there to sell the items, or have a company do it on his behalf, the Chief would bypass him and go direct to his Buyer.

    Re: verification...I am not gemologists or jeweller...so hadnt a clue. But the device seemed quite hi-tech! And he put some kind of light through the gems which made them glow...and there was a mini weighing device..and another device to check clarity..which moved up and down on a colour display...but of course I couldnt validate it...only it "seemed" genuine.

    The point of the SCAM I felt was the "hurriedness" of it all..."the deal has to be done today"....I am normally a rushed person...but that day...I thought, "why does it all have to be done today"?

    Re: Upfront money...Again strange. The Chief gave us the gems in the first place to take from the Royal Horseguard Hotel to the jeweller. We were gone with the gems all of 1.5 hours. When we got back to tell him how much the gems were valued...THEN he took the gems and said....ok...he will sell them...but in order for him to give the gems back to us for selling he needed some kind of "reassurance". I asked what do you mean? He said, "how can I trust you especially if I plan to supply more gems". I asked him, "well you trusted us enough in the first instance to give us the gems to take away to get valued...what has changed?".

    Then I thought...for 70K...how much money is he talking about it...and what was the point? I thought to myself....is he trying to "divide and conquer" by making it difficult to sell the gem and then try to force us to tell him the name of the Buyer? This line of thinking almost threw me off of the scam trail.....I genuinely thought he just wanted to "use" us in order to get the direct details of the Jeweller, Barry.

    But he didnt want to accept something like 500quids....(like a key deposit for a hotel room)...I said to him, "for 70k...there is no amount to deter someone from stealing it..or they could just flat out buy one of the gems!".

    Then I began to slow down and think more....that business isnt run like this...and this type of transaction might not be all it seemed.

    I didnt really realise until AFTER I told them I had other things to do and that the Chief and Ishmael would need to sort things out that I realised it might have been a scam.

    So I didnt confront them when they were in my presence.

    Then I had to leave town...and I havent heard a word from them since...nor have I made any contact with any of the members at all either.

    The only information I have is Ishmael gmail and mobile number...the mobile number for the Chief...and the mobile number for Barry Cohen.

    I think I could recognise them in a line for sure!

    I cant be bothered...and I read that people dont report these things to the police for fear of implicating themselves in something illegal.

    I can see how that can happen...but like I said...at the end...I told them "I wasnt sure HOW they got the 2 gems in the country....and if the Chief was the legal owner of them".....so I cant say either way for sure?

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