Banners Broker Scammers Arrested
The Banners Broker scam has been the inspiration for many online advertising scams. Some of the most popular today are My Advertising Pays and Traffic Monsoon. The way this scam works is you buy ads to participate in a revenue share and you click on ads to create traffic for others that buy ads to participate in the same revenue share. It is basically a closed marketing system where you are marketing to other advertisers.
On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, Christopher George Smith, 45, of Toronto, and Rajiv Dixit, 45, of Vancouver, were arrested for running the Banners Broker scam.
Here are the details of the scam and their arrest:
“There’s lots of twists and turns here, but the essence of it is that the people who were duped into entering into the scheme believed that they were investing in a (legitimate) Internet advertising business.” – Det.-Sgt. Ian Nicol, of the Financial Crimes Unit
In January 2013, the Financial Crimes Unit started an investigation into Banners Broker. The Toronto Police Service was assisted by investigators from the RCMP, Competition Bureau of Canada, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Ministry of Finance, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, FINTRAC, and the Canada Revenue Agency.
It is alleged that:
- Between October 2010 and March 2013, a pyramid scheme known as “Banners Broker” was operated out of a Church Street address in Toronto.
- The scheme offered participants the opportunity to double their money by investing in an advertising company that had access to a “globally renowned network”.
- Participants were led to believe their investments were being applied towards a program that offered payment for the direction of web traffic via referral links.
- The program’s existence was entirely dependent upon the fee-based entry of new members and little or no real product or service was provided.
- New investors were drawn into the scheme via a series of false or misleading representations.
- By the end of 2012, over $93 million US was obtained from thousands of participants, of which approximately $45 million was paid back to participants in the scheme.
- The remaining funds were funneled to a number of offshore accounts in Belize, St. Lucia, Cyprus, and others.
On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, Christopher George Smith, 45, of Toronto, and Rajiv Dixit, 45, of Vancouver, were arrested. They are charged with:
- Defraud the Public – Over ($5000)
- Possession of Proceeds of Crime
- Launder Proceeds of Crime
- Operate Scheme of Pyramid – Selling (Competition Act)
- Make False or Misleading Representations (Competition Act)
– Source torontopolice.on.ca