If you are ever contacted by Pacific Tycoon, telling they purchase containers on your behalf, lease them out for you, promising high returns: either fixed 12% or fluctuating returns averaging 30% per year, you should really be cautious!!! Of course, salespeople will tell you China is the manufacturer of the world, there s huge demand for containers, etc. Below is the truth about this investment scheme.
Pacific Tycoon is a Ponzi Scheme based in Saigon, Vietnam. It does have an office in HK to meet clients, which is at a different address from the virtual address published on the website. PT staffs pick up clients at the airport or hotel and take them to that office. They always ask clients the exact date and time they are coming to visit Hong Kong, so as to book flight tickets to get there from Vietnam and fill up the empty office. There are also two part-time local Hong Kong staffs. Hong Kong staffs are innocent, staffs from Vietnam have to tell them that they come from Shanghai office, and Hong Kong staffs believe that. There’s probably nobody in Shanghai.
Pacific Tycoon does have Hong Kong phone numbers (land and mobile) beginning with 852, which are just SIMs they bought in HK and bring the phone to Vietnam. Salespeople call clients using voice-over-IP (Skype) to save costs and to hide where they are calling from.
Ted Mallory (just an alias) runs the boiler room in Vietnam, about 30 staffs. They get telesales leads from email campaign in Viral Planet, The Executive Club, Adalsa, Investor Guide, Galvan, etc. The biggest markets are UK and Australia. Since the beginning of 2012 until now, revenue per month is about 1 million US Dollars, I estimate that after deducting costs, Ted makes about 400 to 500K per month for himself.
Ted is paranoid about his identity. Staffs don't know his real name. All we know is he's an old British guy, tall, brownish blond. He may also have a Filipino passport. The apartment to run the office is always rented under his Vietnamese mistress' name Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thanh. Moritzclear Research S.A. and its company bank accounts are under his Filipino female friend’s name Michell Empleo Dela Cruz.
As a rule, client leads from USA, France, China (including Hong Kong), Vietnam, and a few other countries are immediately taken off the list. Regarding USA and France, Ted is scared off because there were offical warnings against PT; regarding China and Vietnam, he is smart enough not to create any noise in the local market, so that the police don't pay attention. If a client has British nationality, but live and work in Hong Kong, he'll be taken off the list, because Ted doesn't want him to visit the HK office randomly and finds nobody. In addition, clients are told not to send and receive funds from a US bank account, regardless of his/her nationality.
A powerful sales pitch is to tell potential buyers to contact client references; i.e. those who already invested in PT, for opinions. In total, there are only 10 client references, who are victims themselves. They are kept happy, receive their returns from this scheme, and they are paid a flat fee each time someone agrees to buy after emailing/talking to them.
Another sales tool is to mention that you will receive container ownership certificate, with a container number (BIC code). Well, you may want to go into this link and check if the last digit is correct: http://www.bic-code.org/calculate-the-check-digit-online.html. A client told me he checked and the last digit doesn’t match, or that further investigation about the correct code shows that the container doesn’t belong to PT. Anyway, I have seen a junior staff printing out a lot fake ownership certificates in the Vietnam office, from a template file. All she needed to do is to insert the details like numbers and owners and then print them out.
Another tool to convince clients of PT is to mention that it is a member of Hong Kong Shipowners Association and Container Owners Association; and that is is ranked platinum by Dun & Bradstreet. The truth is, it is only listed as an associate member, NOT full member, in HK Shipowners Association and Container Owners Association by paying those websites a fee. The same apply for Dun & Bradstreet website, it paid that website for the platinum ranking thing. On the other hand, one should question why this company is not listed in The Institute of International Container Lessor: http://www.iicl.org/about/members.cfm. Another way to be extremely cautious is how this company is created:
_Parent company Moritzclear Research S.A. was incorporated in Belize
_Pacific Tycoon registered in Hong Kong, contracts with clients under Singapore law
_The bank to receive clients’ money is in Taiwan
_Website registered in The Phillipenes: http://www.showsiteinfo.us/sites/pacifictycoon.com (scroll down to About Site, click on the tab Whois)
In Vietnam, PT advertises job vacancies under various fictitious names (San Severino Holdings, Cloisters House, DataFlow, etc.), since the company itself doesn't have any business registration, and staffs don't have any real labour contracts with the company. In February 2012, Vietnamese police raided PT office in district 4, but then were bribed to ignore PT. I think it was only the poor local policemen who raided, not police at higher level like Economic Police or anything like that.
It is important to note that Ted Mallory has been hiring an IT company to *** and bring down websites with bad publicity about PT, and he successfully brought down www.absoluteinvestor.co.uk and www.boiler-room.orgs. At the moment this comment was written, www.absoluteinvestor.co.uk is up again but the discussion thread about PT being scam is still inaccessible, while www.boiler-room.orgs is still down.
When it s impossible to bring down a website, PT lets its lawyer to contact the investment forum requesting comments to be removed, saying it is libel. Thus, many comments about the truth of PT by ex-employees on, for example, The Motley Fool were removed.
There is a Facebook profile about this Ponzi scheme, you can see photos organized into albums, with detailed description. You can find Ted’s photo, too. https://www.facebook.com/ted.mallory.9
To re-affirm that Pacific Tycoon is ponzi. Please see that this company is listed in a couple public warnings and alerts:
_Warning against Pacific Tycoon by the FMA: http://www.fma.gv.at/de/verbraucher/investorenwarnungen/internationale-warnmeldungen/detail-internatwm/article/warning-against-pacific-tycoon.html
_Warnings against Pacific Tycoon by the French authority: http://www.amf-france.org/documents/general/10449_1.pdf
_Investor Alerts at Finance Inspection: http://www.fi.se/Folder-EN/Startpage/Register/Investor-alerts/A-list-of-all-investor-alerts/
_Scam fraud alert reports: http://scamfraudalert.org/2013/03/08/economic-frauds-www-economicfrauds-com/
_Even in German, Pacific Tycoon is warned against: http://www.afm.nl/nl/consumenten/risico/waarschuwingen/waarschuwingenlijst-buitenland/p.aspx#5D9E6A38-E392-4F67-8F1D-F0D1EE0FAF67