Forex Website Disappears, Taking $1 Billion Of Investors’ Money With It
Investors in forex, or the foreign exchange market, who used a trading site called SecureInvestment.com received a nasty surprise as Secure Investment disappeared earlier this year, along with more than $1 billion of investors’ money.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Secure Investment presented itself as a site that made trading decisions for investors and guaranteed their principal, meaning that even if they didn’t make money, they’d never lose any. Secure claimed to be a legitimate and profitable choice, with video testimonials by satisfied investors and trading results posted every day. To further lure customers, Secure stated that on average, investors had gained 1 percent each trading day over the last five years. Bloomberg writes that this would, in theory, work out to a yearly gain of about 250 percent — an appealing possibility for those looking to invest their money and get a large return.
Investors Have Doubts
However, several investors soon realized that Secure Investment might not be as secure as it claimed. U.K.-based doctor Rajibuddin Mandal and his wife invested a total of $60,000 in Secure Investment, which rapidly climbed to $2,450,000 in 10 months, according to Bloomberg. When Mandal attempted to make a withdrawal in March, though, he got an email putting him off; this was followed by an April 30 email in which Secure’s technical department claimed to be working on updates. The next day, the website disappeared.
The Mandals will most likely never see their money again.
Here’s a cached screenshot of what the website looked like in August 2013:
Customers in 11 countries have been affected, says Bloomberg, which also reports that Secure Investment asked investors to wire money to banks in Australia, Latvia, Cyprus and Poland. The data posted on Secure’s website indicated that investors may have lost over $1 billion.
All A Front
The company was supposedly incorporated in Panama in 2008, yet it never revealed its real location, instead boasting a fake staff and fake offices. In July 2013, the website of Panama’s securities regulator “warned that the company wasn’t licensed or authorized to trade currencies,” says Bloomberg.
The video testimonials were also fakes; the supposedly satisfied customers were actually actors who had never heard of either forex or Secure Investment.
So is there a real face that can be attached to this scandal? Maybe; Secure’s CEO is identified as a man named Michael Sterling, who appears in an infomercial for the company. However, according to Bloomberg, there has been no response for “repeated requests” for interviews with Sterling.
All in all, it seems that Secure Investment has disappeared without a trace, leaving disappointed investors a lot poorer — and a lot more angry.