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Pattaya Daily News

Hilton
24 July 2009 :: 21:07:07 pm 1771

Thai Scams: Boiler Room Operative Reveals All

We started the exposé on the Bangkok Boiler Rooms, yesterday. Today our informants, initially convinced that they were working for a legit brokerage firm, actually discovered the true nature of the scam they were involved in.
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SERRIED RANKS OF BOOTHS

“The Boiler Room was lined with booths where TMs (telemarketers), with headsets donned, were in avid conversation with numerous ‘punters’ across Australia,” says John Charles, another of our informants. John Charles was actually his pseudonym, his stage/phone name chosen because the Floor Manager said if you adopted a new name, you could act out totally out of character. John recounts “the floor was packed with young and not so young, hearty, enthusiasts mainly of Anglo extraction i.e. Brits, Yanks, Ozzies, New Zealanders, Canadians, anyone whose native language was English and, occasionally, the odd Thai or Hong Kong citizen with incredibly good English”.

John recalls “we would sometimes take the piss out of our mates, trying to make them laugh while they were deep in a sales conversation, or more properly an intro-conversation, because selling was the job of the ‘sales broker’. We would start by saying we were doing a survey, anything to get the name & other info about the punter. You’d notice your mates eyes occasionally flick to the ‘How to overcome objections’ notices pinned to the wall everywhere. But YOU knew you could handle anything the punters could throw at you. After all, your name was top of the board, right? You got the most punters consistently, through your gift of the gab and total persuasion techniques, smooth-talking bastard that you were!”

THE SCAM REVEALED

John Thomas, who had read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, recalls “we only discovered it was a total scam ‘cos of the f*ck ups with the allocation scheme, giving everyone the same Yellow Pages. One day we called some poor bastard who’d really been taken for a ride. He said he’d started off investing Aus$5000, upped it to 10k the next day and then to 25k the day after. The ‘super-brokers’/loaders were really working on him, telling him the first day, his shares had shot up in value and the same the next, so why didn’t he invest more while he was on the roll? This happened until he’d upped his stake to Aus$100,000 then they rang him up with the bad news, saying he’d lose his investments if he didn’t invest another Aus$200,000 immediately. Poor git had to mortgage his house and business to raise the cash & then lost it all! He was suicidal!”

Tony confirmed “we found more and more punters in the same boat, as we were ringing around. They’d all been totally ripped off! I happened to discuss it with one of the sales brokers in the taxi in the morning and 10 minutes after getting in, found myself carpeted. Having to confront the Big Boss, who got really heavy, telling me over and over they were legit & if I talked to anyone else that would be it! He didn’t spell it out, but the threat was there – and not just dismissal!”

INVOLVING THE FBI

Rob said next, “we felt so bad about being involved in an obvious scam, we contacted the FBI. They told us to collect evidence, not exactly easy ‘cos all the prime stuff was in the boss’ office – the boss, who the FBI said was actually genuine Brooklyn Mafia! The week after was Xmas and there was a party for us all in a local restaurant. The big bosses were there, congratulating everyone, with the ‘brokers’ showing off the new suits they’d all been given and then the Big Boss came on, boasting how they’d ripped the punters off for the equivalent of the Australian National Debt, something in the range of billions of dollars! He also warned anyone thinking of spilling the beans, that they’d be kneecapped. Needless to say me and my close mates didn’t come back after Xmas”.

LOADS-A-MONEY

Bill, one of Rob’s mates, who was also working undercover for the FBI, said “we all went to the next share scam bandits, round the corner, after Xmas. They welcomed us with open arms after they knew we’d worked for Kensington. Here it was much more relaxed. No threats and loads-a-dosh – money for nothing, literally! We’d be on the phone and the Floor Manager would come in and say ‘right folks, phones down. Let’s give a big hand to Rob. His lead is a whale that just made A$100,000. Here’s $50 for you Rob, nice one’. They were handing out US$50 notes like it was confetti. This happened all the time, especially with the whales – the big investors. I even wore a T-shirt with a whale on the back, signifying I could really bring ‘em in, which all my mates thought was really cool! We were still working undercover for the FBI, gathering evidence.”

DEADLY RIVALRIES

“The following week, the previous Floor Manager got gunned down in his Mercedes sports because he’d ripped off loads of lead sheets, the sources of ‘gold’ that the boiler rooms couldn’t operate without. We didn’t miss him, though. He was a real pr*ck and deserved what he got. There was a lot of rivalry and bad feeling among the different boiler rooms.”

“The next week we all moved back to Soi Asoke,” recalls Bill, “the Floor Manager was replaced with a woman, an absolute f*cking lunatic! We could hardly go to the toilet before she’d be breathing down our necks. ‘GET ON THAT PHONE!!’ she’d yell from her vantage position where she could watch the serried ranks of ‘mules’ (as we’d been called by the previous Mafia boss). We just had to be on the phone all the time.

After hours was great, tho’. We’d all head down to Soi Cowboy, where all the girls knew what we did for a living. With the sort of money we were making, the chicks were effectively for free. Didn’t stop them turning up at the firm’s door ranting and raving tho’. We had at least 5 a day. Till the LOCK DOWN!

THE LOCK DOWN

This happened one day when we were all working like maniacs. Suddenly all the doors were locked and the cops came in and stood in front of the doors. They passed pieces of paper around demanding names and phone numbers – real names, not stage names. We sat in silence, all expecting to be immediately imprisoned. Suddenly, all the cops left. They’d been paid off.

WORLDWIDE COVERAGE

“We decided the best thing was to quit while the going was good and we were all still alive and free. Never mind working with the FBI, they’d get enough evidence without us. The following week, all the UK and international press got hold of the story of the Bangkok Boiler Rooms and emblazoned it across their covers, worldwide. The boiler rooms we knew of were all closed down and many people arrested. We’d got out just in time! We found out the firm had upped and gone to Cambodia and another to Vietnam, from where they’d email us and offer to pay our airfares out to help them start up again, but none of our immediate crowd went, although we know people who did, And so it goes. They came back to the Land of Scams and Bangkok after that. They’re still here, though, look for their revealing ads in the Bangkok Post

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Stories

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