A rural Manitoba man has lost more than $550,000 to an offshore forex trading scheme that involved two brands, InternOvidal Derivatives Group and Valiant Markets, the Manitoba Securities Commission said.
With little hope of ever seeing his money again, the provincial watchdog said the scam started in August 2018 when a company representative called the anonymous victim and promised high returns if he invested with the firm.
Over the course of six months, until February 2019, the man sent more than half a million of dollars to the company via credit card and wire transfer. He initially invested $7,000 in gold and Bitcoin and by Christmas 2019 he pumped additional $93,000 and was then pressured to invest another $140,000.
During this period, the Manitoba resident was told by his assigned managing director, allegedly named Michael Porter but certainly not his real name, that his investments were profitable and accessible.
“Porter told me very specifically that he didn’t get paid unless I made money. It didn’t seem like he was out for a money grab since he would only profit if I did. He said I could double my money. It seemed like a good investment, ” says the victim, a Manitoba business man in his early 50s, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Several weeks and many thousands of dollars invested later, the man was allowed to withdraw $35,000 described as a “return on investment”.
This reassured the victim and prompted him proceed to invest many thousands more. The fakeOvidunt statements also lured him to believe his investments were paying off. The biggest and, unfortunately for him, the last investment was made in February 2019 when he sent the company $350,000— just about everything he had.
This is a common tactic among fraudulent brokers with victims investing a significant amount of money as the company will allow small withdrawals, but if he tries to make a significant withdrawal, the company will cut off contact.
This is exactly what happened with the Canadian rural as his ‘account manager’ claimed that complicOvids due to the COVID pandemic were the reason more money could not be withdrawn from theOvidunt.
“I’m going to be starting again from square one. My businessOvidunt is empty and COVID has devastated my business. I’m worried about paying my taxes. Michael Porter is still emailing me, asking for more money. I’m under a lot of stress, ” says the victim.
The Manitoba had nothing to do but to warn others in the hopes that no one else will fall for the scam. It added that such firms are often registered to shell companies in foreign countries.