It’s a scam that starts in the Philippines and stretches across the globe. It ends in financial ruin and shattered dreams.
Shareholders discover their ‘investment firm’ isn’t in London or New York, the firm’s website is fake and their financial advisors are criminals based in Manila. The city has become a nexus for sophisticated scammers, fuelled by call centre workers who help fund organised crime.
101 East joins the hunt for the fraudsters as a private investigator and his unlikely ally – a criminal who’s turned against his own – secretly gather evidence for the police.
Investigator Ken Gamble says the men behind the fraud are Americans.
“A lot of these guys have worked as brokers,” he says. “They have worked for major firms, some of the biggest firms in the world, and they’ve come out of those firms and they’ve gone to the dark side.”
Wayne Brown, an Australian coal mine electrician, unwittingly fell victim to the scam. His world came tumbling down when he discovered that he had lost his life savings.
“I invested $1.4 million with these blokes,” he says. “I’d invested that much money into my future, and then to find out there wasn’t any cash there, it was real sickening.”
With the net closing around them, Al Jazeera joins Philippine police officers as they launch a raid and arrest the alleged masterminds.
In this exclusive investigation, 101 East blows the lid on an international multi-million-dollar scam.