I am writing to you in the hope that you will do a good deed and inform fellow Singaporeans not to fall victim to further ponzi schemes, following the high profile cases of Sunshine Empire, Profitable Plots, Geneva Gold, SureWin4U and the more recent Orchard Road Property scam, where the founder has reportedly gone missing with $60 million.
There are currently at least a few more potential scams that are brewing in Singapore, one of which has already blown up in Taiwan but has somewhat successfully insulated the news from its Singapore members.
Below are their descriptions in brief.
NUMBER ONE – MAXIM TRADER (http://www.maximtrader.com/)
They claim to be a group made up of expert Forex traders and analysts with many years of experience. The CEO is a Singaporean called Andrew Lim. Since a few years back, they have been going around Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong, China and Taiwan to offer investment packages to the public which promise generous returns of up to 8% per month. The condition is that the investors must have their funds locked up for a minimum period. They have managed to grow extremely fast through a generous commission system they offer to existing clients to get in new clients.
What’s Fishy about Maxim
First, Forex trading is a very volatile ‘business’. It is not only illegal in various countries, but also nearly impossible to offer ‘guaranteed’ returns due to the volatile nature of foreign exchange fluctuations.
Secondly, if Maxim Trader is handling large amounts of investments, it is going to have problems filling orders on a timely manner. Due to this, they should rationally offer a lower rate of returns (due to lower trading volumes) to be conservative and responsible to their clients if they are really trading.
Thirdly, Maxim Trader is trading through its own brokerage firm – Maxim Capital. This means that any funds remitted to Maxim Capital can be manipulated to show false trading results. Even if a client is seeing trading results through a 3rd party software, this can be easily manipulated on the brokerage firm’s side.
Fourthly, on it’s own website, Maxim Trader’s mother company – Maxim Capital – claims to be a listed company. Sure, it seems to be listed. But try to find more substantial information like its cash flow, financial statements, business prospectus, etc and you will find that you cannot find any. Now, even if they are really listed, so what? Remember the biggest Ponzi scheme ever that was a big listed company – Enron?
Fifth, Maxim Capital was founded by a Singaporean called Andrew Lim – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/andrew-lim/26/793/5aa. Yet there are conflicting reports on other sites that Maxim Capital is actually owned by Royale Globe Holding Inc. This is confusing because this particular company is actually a ‘shell’ company with no business operations, and the president is a 25 year old Thai guy called Yupa Sathapornjariya. So this means that a 25 year old Thai guy owns a shell company called Royale Globe which owns Maxim Capital, both ‘listed’ companies with no visible business operations, models and financial statements.
Now Here’s the Big One
A few days ago, the Taiwan authorities officially arrested the founders of Maxim Trader Taiwan on suspicion of operating a ponzi scheme. They found wads of loose cash lying about, folded into flower bouquets and stuffed into suitcases.
Below is a news article on the case.
Below is a Taiwanese TV news report on the case.
Strangely, the news does not seem to have reached Singapore, and life is going on as usual over here.
This may be due to the fact that the Taiwanese authorities are not communicating with Singapore’s CAD, and that their news are mostly in Chinese.
But one thing is clear; the shit is going to hit the fan big time very very soon.
If you have money in Maxim Trader, get it out now! If they refuse, report to CAD immediately on grounds that they have already gotten in trouble in Taiwan.
NUMBER TWO – ONE LIGHTINING (http://one-lightningcorp.com/)
One Lightning is a MLM group from the Philippines offering monthly returns on your investments. Although they offer a range of products, it is not necessary to keep purchasing these products or introduce other people in order to get these monthly returns.
What’s Fishy about One Lightning
All legitimate MLM companies need to keep selling products in order to stay afloat and profitable. They charge a premium for their products, and give a generous commission to their affiliates to re-sell their products, in the process saving up on advertising and generating good income for everybody who sells their products. To sell products continuously, most good MLM companies focus on developing good products that people would want to use for the long term.
Strangely, One Lightning is not product centric.
Instead, when they first started out, they offered only ‘investment’ schemes that allowed investors to put in various sums of money for monthly returns based on what they put in. Although anyone who put in money does get some products, the company is not focused on selling the products and does not require their members to do that. These products are also poorly packaged and seem to be pretty generic products.
Although it is also not necessary for existing members to introduce new investors, One Lightning gives out generous commissions to members for doing that.
Due to the generous commissions for introducing friends, the monthly returns without the need to sell products, One Lightning has managed to grow very fast within a few months of inception in the Philippines and has even infiltrated other countries like Malaysia and Singapore.
Question – how can One Lightning be sustainable if it is –
– Not researching and developing good products that people want to buy and use for the long term
– Offering monthly returns to its members without requiring them to sell products or introducing new members (note however that its members want to introduce new members for the generous commissions)
Where is One Lightning’s money coming from in order to pay off the monthly returns to its investors if it does not have a sustainable business model built around its products? The later investors of course! Classic ponzi scheme style.
Now Here’s the Big One
In March 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Philippines officially published notices that they have served a Cease and Desist order on One Lightning for offering authorized investment schemes. http://www.sec.gov.ph/notices/advisory/2015AdvisoryNo2_One_Lightning_Corp.pdf
There are also many articles on One Lightning’s illicit activities that can found through typing in ‘one lightning sec’ or ‘one lightning scam’ in Google.
As of last check, this Cease and Desist order has not been lifted. This means that it is officially illegal in the Philippines to be introducing One Lightning to anyone.
Yet, in Singapore, it seems that the group has been actively looking for new members, probably because it is not banned in Singapore yet.
If you are invited to a One Lightning event, don’t go. Report the event to the CAD for them to carry out a thorough investigation. Warn your friends.
If you are already caught in a One Lightning investment scheme (scam), try asking for your money back or report them to the CAD if you are refused.
NUMBER THREE – SINGLIWORLD (http://singliforex.com/)
SingliWorld smells just like Maxim Trader and operates almost in the same fashion, except on a smaller scale.
What’s Fishy about SingliWorld
Besides all the similarities it bears to Maxim Trader, the biggest alarm is that SingliWorld seems to prefer trading exclusively through a newly established Forex brokerage firm called TFX Global – http://tfxglobal.com/about-us
Question – If SingliWorld is a legitimate Forex trading company, why is it not using an established and reputable Forex broker like FXPrimus or Forex.com? Why work with a new company with no track records and may potentially screw up their trading or even run away with their money?
Answer- Maybe they belong to the same owner(s)?
There is an excellent article on SingliWorld here which discusses the ownership very clearly. Do read it and form your own opinion.
Now Here’s the Big One
Both Singliworld and TFX Global are on MAS’s Investor’s Watchlist. http://www.mas.gov.sg/IAL.aspx?sc_p=T
If they are indeed legitimate, why not clear it up with the MAS?
This article does not in any way confirm that SingliWorld is a scam, but whatever is presented here can be researched off the internet, and you are free to form your own opinion on the company.
Before the shit hits the fan and they reveal their true colours as a ponzi scheme, withdraw whatever you can and run, or report to the CAD if you have trouble withdrawing your money.