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Old Aug 2, 2013, 10:30 AM   #1
Squilly
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Business Owners, Does This Sound Suspicious?

I was getting a bit of work done during the 3 months I was away (was still a dreadful 3 months). For those of you that don't know, my brother owns a retail site, AC Electronic Outlet; it's down at the moment so you can't access it. Nonetheless, that's not exactly the issue at hand.
Senior year of high school, he knew a security guard who has partial share of a large third party Apple retailer in Poland. No idea how the conversation started since I wasn't there but it sounds very promising, almost too good to be true (like one of those once in a lifetime deals). Prices of Apple products are very expensive in Europe, which is why they say they're taking advantage.
Gets a bit confusing. My brother is essentially acting as a middleman and getting paid. He has a license with another Apple distributor based in CA whom supplies from Apple. Apple ships the stuff (or so I hear) but first has to go to my brothers US address. The Europeans are paying a substantial amount of money, approximately $160,000 on their first deal with him - eight pallets of product consisting of iPads and iPhones. They're paying the sales tax here, 20% VAT tax to Poland, and still managing to score a profit. The money is in my brother's possession but apparently, the Europeans have access. Full $160,000 in a local bank, whom my friend works for and couldn't find the transaction. Now, there are twelve partners for the Apple stores in Poland so it could be a simple name mistake. I just don't want my brother to get scammed for something in the six-figures (he's also very nieve). He'd turn a profit of about $20,000 on this order IF it works. I have plans of partnering with him and we're still in the negotiation process. Does this sound too good to be true? Sorry, might be a bit scattered...
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 10:43 AM   #2
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Sounds as legit as the Nigerian prince who e-mailed me this morning.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 10:53 AM   #3
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This sounds like a classic scam. Can't wait until we hear about how your brother got ripped off.
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Last edited by dejo; Aug 2, 2013 at 11:35 AM. Reason: discussing specific moderation.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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This sounds like a classic scam. Can't wait until we hear about how your brother got ripped off.
Agreed. I would avoid this.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:12 AM   #5
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Agreed. I would avoid this.
He has access to all the money in the account, its at his disposal. That's what confuses me.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:16 AM   #6
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Sounds like a textbook 419 to me

http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/...gerian419scams

and for a few laughs - http://www.419eater.com/html/419faq.htm

STAY CLEAR, STOP COMMS WITH THEM, IGNORE
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:17 AM   #7
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Sounds like a textbook 419 to me

http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/...gerian419scams

and for a few laughs - http://www.419eater.com/html/419faq.htm

STAY CLEAR, STOP COMMS WITH THEM, IGNORE
He knows one of the guys IRL too, being a security officer as well.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:22 AM   #8
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He knows one of the guys IRL too, being a security officer as well.

You asked for advice and it seems clear your brother is involved in a scam. His friend may be a part of it or will get scammed as well. Think about it dude, why would guys with hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy and resell Apple products be dealing with 2 nickel and dime web sites?

Paul Blart was a security officer too.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:26 AM   #9
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You asked for advice and it seems clear your brother is involved in a scam. His friend may be a part of it or will get scammed as well. Think about it dude, why would guys with hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy and resell Apple products be dealing with 2 nickel and dime web sites?

Paul Blart was a security officer too.
Cause it's cheaper to do than go directly through Apple EU?
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:31 AM   #10
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It sounds like those people are using your brother's identity to launder stolen property and money for them. At the end, your brother will be considered lucky if it is just $$ he lost. Do some research and you will find those types of scam have been around for at least 5~8 years so it is nothing new.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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It sounds like those people are using your brother's identity to launder stolen property and money for them. At the end, your brother will be considered lucky if it is just $$ he lost. Do some research and you will find those types of scam have been around for at least 5~8 years so it is nothing new.
What stolen property?
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:41 AM   #12
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Cause it's cheaper to do than go directly through Apple EU?
I'll try again. They can't buy from Apple. Any Apple dealer or reseller supplying them is in violation of their Apple contract. Once they find one foolish enough to do this, they just need one other fool to act as their middleman and get screwed.

And don't think an order for that many phones and iPads won't escape Apple's scrutiny. Surely it's way over and above the average this dealer sells normally.

So it seems we're at a crossroads. You can take the advice you've received here or continue to make excuses for it and let your brother get scammed.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:50 AM   #13
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I'll try again. They can't buy from Apple. Any Apple dealer or reseller supplying them is in violation of their Apple contract. Once they find one foolish enough to do this, they just need one other fool to act as their middleman and get screwed.

And don't think an order for that many phones and iPads won't escape Apple's scrutiny. Surely it's way over and above the average this dealer sells normally.

So it seems we're at a crossroads. You can take the advice you've received here or continue to make excuses for it and let your brother get scammed.
I'm not trying to get him scammed. I'm just trying to tie things together for parts of it I may have left out. First part: wouldn't that be why Apple is shipping here first and stuff getting reshipped to them in Poland? What wrongdoing is that in the eyes of Apple?
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:57 AM   #14
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Walk away now. They're more interested in moving money than pallets of stuff.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 11:58 AM   #15
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I'm not trying to get him scammed. I'm just trying to tie things together for parts of it I may have left out. First part: wouldn't that be why Apple is shipping here first and stuff getting reshipped to them in Poland? What wrongdoing is that in the eyes of Apple?
US Apple distributors (Ingram Micro, Tech Data etc.) can only sell to authorized US Apple dealers. US Apple dealers are only allowed to resell products to end users in the US.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 12:03 PM   #16
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.... The money is in my brother's possession but apparently, the Europeans have access. Full $160,000 in a local bank, whom my friend works for and couldn't find the transaction. ...
yes, this sounds a bit suspicious
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 12:29 PM   #17
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What stolen property?
As far as I know, Apple distribute their computer/ipad (exclude general line) directly to retailers and their AAR requirement is quiet stringent. Anyone who is on their list won't bother to risk millions in lawsuit for that 3% profit margin. Do you know how many Apple products are stolen each day? Go on eBay and Craigslist and 90% of the "Brand New in Box but can't provide verifiable receipt" listings of MacBook / iPad are stolen for funded by fraudulent credit card. This is where Apple's "REACT" task force comes in. If those eight pallets didn't come from AAR, they must come from some where. There was one article on LA times that this dude and his four buddies was able to steal millions worth of Apple products undetected until a normal traffic stop in Lakewood or Lake Forest. He was later arrested LA after escape bail.

It is also a violation of parallel import law to ship products sold in US market to EU market. Meaning both custom and Apple can confiscate this shipment. Since you are not clear on how the VAT is handled so I won't comment on that. BTW, it is called smuggling if someone tries to bypass VAT. Good luck with that on Apple electronics. I wouldn't be surprised if they ask you for specific documents from Apple to proof legitimacy of this shipment.

Another tip. Never some stranger wants to deposit $$ into my bank account its a big RED flag!

At the end of the day. Your brother's name / business is probably the only "real" traceable name on all and every document. Not only he is a suspect to both US and EU law enforcement agencies UNTIL proven innocent, Apple can also sue him for the value of lost property. All that craps just to make $20k? I say no thank you
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 12:34 PM   #18
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Seems legit to me
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 01:14 PM   #19
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almost too good to be true (like one of those once in a lifetime deals)
Do I really have to say it?
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 03:21 PM   #20
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....Gets a bit confusing.....The money is in my brother's possession but apparently, the Europeans have access. Full $160,000 in a local bank, whom my friend works for and couldn't find the transaction. Now, there are twelve partners for the Apple stores in Poland so it could be a simple name mistake....
can you clarify this?

If the money is in your brother's "possession", then that would suggest it's in his own bank account that he alone controls.......so how would the Europeans have "access" to it? That suggests they can withdraw the money whenever they want. (So one danger to your brother is that he'll order the goods and ship them on to Poland only to find that they've pulled the money from the account before he's paid for the goods, which will vanish in Poland, leaving him stuck with the bill from his supplier.)

The money's in a local bank? So if it's in your brother's "possession", then you'd think his name & account number would be all that's needed for your friend at the bank to verify that the money's there......the name of some unknown investor in Poland shouldn't even be necessary.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 03:24 PM   #21
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can you clarify this?

If the money is in your brother's "possession", then that would suggest it's in his own bank account that he alone controls.......so how would the Europeans have "access" to it? That suggests they can withdraw the money whenever they want. (So one danger to your brother is that he'll order the goods and ship them on to Poland only to find that they've pulled the money from the account before he's paid for the goods, which will vanish in Poland, leaving him stuck with the bill from his supplier.)

The money's in a local bank? So if it's in your brother's "possession", then you'd think his name & account number would be all that's needed for your friend at the bank to verify that the money's there......the name of some unknown investor in Poland shouldn't even be necessary.
The people in Poland sent him money to a Federal Bank locally. My brother can take the money out whenever he wants. I don't know about vice versa though. Money has to come out to pay Apple for the product though, as well as to cover the VAT and sales tax. It was deposited by the Poles, in their name, not my brother's.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 03:49 PM   #22
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....It was deposited by the Poles, in their name, not my brother's.
if it's in their name, then they likely can withdraw it whenever they want......and if your friend at the bank can't find it in the account records, what did your brother see to convince him the money was actually sent?

What's the invoicing arrangement with your brother's supplier? If it's a scam, they could be planning on pulling the money from the account after the goods have been shipped but before payment is due
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 04:00 PM   #23
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if it's in their name, then they likely can withdraw it whenever they want......and if your friend at the bank can't find it in the account records, what did your brother see to convince him the money was actually sent?

What's the invoicing arrangement with your brother's supplier? If it's a scam, they could be planning on pulling the money from the account after the goods have been shipped but before payment is due
Apparently it was under another partners' name.
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 04:10 PM   #24
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Apparently it was under another partners' name.
so your brother hasn't been able to verify that the money is actually in this account?
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Old Aug 2, 2013, 04:31 PM   #25
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Apparently it was under another partners' name.
Basically a slightly modified reshipper scam
"The fraudsters explain that they will buy goods in the United States that need to be re-shipped to a final destination in Europe."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_fraud#Re-shippers
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