My upcoming book The Qoin Con exposes the principals of Qoin as fraudsters of the first order. Conmen, like criminals, virtually all work to a pattern. In this post I explain how knowing Qoin’s modus operandii has enabled me to not only investigate effectively and thoroughly, then to expose [first Tradeqoin, and now] Qoin but to also predict their actions . . . and with a high degree of accuracy too I might add. I do that here in regards to Qoin’s attempts at damage control and stripping what they can off the sinking ship, then I finish with some practical advice to affected parties.
Dutch businessmen Rob van Hilten and Edgar Kampers are a tag-team with a history of bankruptcies in business spanning a decade and more.
They have claimed for quite some time that they are Complementary Currency experts and they certainly have the gift of the gab. Delivery of services promised however is largely a mirage; their business model essentially to put huge efforts into self-promotion (effectively I might add) and to secure public funding, grant money and more recently crowd-funding rather than actually producing, selling or creating value. Their ethics and greed however allow them to pocket the vast bulk of income that comes by way of grants and loans. Creditors abound and they are not only in deep doo-doo, they have been for years.
On 8 October 2014, I exposed their flagship commercial trade exchange Tradeqoin as a fraud. The industry body IRTA backed their man in The Netherlands over my extensive, detailed and accurate blogging along with realtime exposure of the fraudulent Symbid crowd-funding campaign and this blogging causing serious consternation in their criminal HQ, even a million Euro devaluation in their company value while in midstream of their crowdfunding campaign!
In February 2016, I am publishing the book The Qoin Con in which I expose the principals and show the world their immorality, lack of ethics and include the entire series of blog posts in book form. The book will be released in The Netherlands in hard copy with moderately-strong pre-sales. It is a definitive work, the subtitle “The real story behind the Funny Money Jokers” accurately describing the book as an expose of hidden character (or lack of it).
PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOUR – A MODUS OPERANDII
Investigators (be it criminal like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot or civil like myself) work with patterns of behaviour based on fact. We have to apply cold logic onto facts, and to establish facts from [sometimes conflicting] various information.
In my case a tip will likely come in on my Tipline that alerts me to a con or a fraud. I start asking questions and establish the likely credibility of the source of information. If I can prove the information reasonable then I will act on that. In this regard I use a matrix of probability where there comes a time that the probability of the information being accurate vs the likelihood of error or wasting of my time/effort/resources pushing through with detailed investigations.
In the Tradeqoin fraud, I established with quite a serious commitment of resources that the membership was only 6% genuine. That meant that logically I then knew as FACT that 94% of what the conmen claimed was membership was false. This meant that I KNEW for a FACT that there was no [or at least minimal] trading. Thus without needing to even do any mystery shopping I KNEW that there would be nothing happening by way of trade. When Rob van Hilten spoke about the huge volumes of happy traders and trading volumes sky-high I chuckled, of course knowing the truth – it was all BS!
In fact I DID do more research in which I found that the 6% represented friends and proxies of the conmen. This bigtime fraud bought lock-stock-and-barrel by the industry association IRTA, and other industry leaders on the Qoin Board of Advisors too, was reinforced by information and investigations in other areas – like what their marketing looked like – simply regurgitating a few adverts from ‘members’ of a year prior. Doing this sort of thing without their own ‘members’ ‘ knowledge too is just ridiculous delusion – fooling themselves that they have fooled people who all know full well that it’s a scam!
We see patterns of lies for example in the evidence as it unfolds. These patterns of behaviour form a picture that repeats. It can be lies that repeat, rip-offs in a certain way, marketing messages that are previously proven, or even the way that they treat their staff or sub-contractors. This is called a modus operandii.
They say that a leopard never changes its spots. Likewise with conmen. Once they are onto a scam and have it worked out, they just repeat it time after time.
QOIN’S MODUS OPERANDII
Rob van Hilten and Edgar Kampers are no different. Their modus operandii is the same today as it is was a decade ago. In my book The Qoin Con I show that it is actually Edgar who is the brains behind the con but working in the shadows, and Rob the mouthpiece who spiels all the rubbish forth. They both have the gift of the gab.
Their modus operandii follows this broad pattern:
- Edgar will scheme a way or a place to get money – like all good bank robbers they only want to go where the money is;
- Either or both of them will write it all up, taking a small involvement and shouting to the world about their “expertise” in the complementary currency field;
- They will work the victim – usually an institution, although they have sucked in individuals and crowdfunding has been a biggie for them. This is the phase when all the lies and deceptions come out;
- The money will come in and the bulk of it will go straight out the back door – pocketed and never to be seen again;
- The victim generally won’t or in some cases can’t scream because they don’t want to be seen as a victim. In the case of corporate or government agencies, they need to cover their butt of course. Stichting Doen for example will have REAL PR problems if anyone ever asks them any questions because they were warned many times and proceeded with their [quite substantial] funding. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know in those circles eh?
- When the going gets too tough they restructure to strip out the assets (i.e. screw the creditors) and then go bankrupt. They’ve done it several times before.
There is generally no cleanup from these Funny-money Jokers. They ignore you and dump you – until they want something else from you of course in which case they’ll con more to get it. Staff, subcontractors, lenders, advisors – all treated the same at the end of the day.
It’s a sad story typical of conmen the world over – greedy people without consciences lying to others in order to get the gold!
STANDARD PRACTICE FOR CON-ARTISTS IN DEMISE
Any conman thinks only for the shortterm – that’s the nature of greed – it is not to invest into the future or to give, it is just to GET what they can today, and when the squeeze comes on they generally approach the challenges the same way – like an Ostrich at first, then with ad hominem attacks, then getting defensive, then running (or trying to anyway), and then hiding – if they can!
Business is essentially quite a simple thing . . . you give what people want to them when they want it all the while ensuring that what comes in is more than what goes out. Qoin’s principals have ensured that the reverse has been true, more has gone out the back door than what has come in the front, hence their increasing financial stress AND their desperate need to crowdfund just to pay the bills.
The simple rule is that those who got themselves into a pickle can never get out of it. It’s worse in Qoin’s case because they never had any intention of building the business. It has always been a front for a cash-stripping ecercise for personal gain – always, from the first moment of their existence until their dying day, probably shortly after publication of The Qoin Con when the fat lady will be singing!
PREDICTING SPECIFIC ACTIONS OF QOIN
Despite the contents of the above cartoon, I do not have a hotwired link into Qoin’s HQ from Samoa. There’s no point in that because I don’t speak Dutch! Therefore I cannot say exactly what these shysters will be doing in the face of the upcoming unwelcome exposure, but you can be assured that they will be desperate and will be DOING something, for sure!
Remember that this is not the first time that these boys have trashed an operation with money owing, only to pop again and do the same thing again, and again. These guys know all about how to rip the system off (and the small guys)! Qoin has been handling an ongoing cashflow crisis for years. That they have had unmanageable debt and recycled incoming cash borrowed today to pay off debts from previously is a long-term thing for them.
Using their repeating conduct and with a good understanding of how people like them (for example conman Daniel Evans) think and operate enables me predict the following:
Creditors have a degree of power but mostly little leverage. Most creditors will be happy to get something off a sinking ship. Even a deckchair from the Titanic has to be better than nothing doesn’t it? . . . but these boys are skilled at manipulating creditors. Remember that they have conned them into lending something (usually money) but it can be physical assets and/or labour, as in the case of staff not paid.
Qoin has needed Crowdfunding and grants, just to pay the bills for a long time. Expect creditors to be offered silly deals or cents in the dollars in return for backing off and not closing the Qoin fraud down. When desperate, conmen will do desperate things. All manner of BS can and is likely to arise for creditors. According to people on the inside, these Qoin people ‘use’ others without the slightest remorse. They fear exposure. They fear failure, especially public failure but they DO NOT fear God, instead acting like they are Him.
I’m aware of some of the deals that these con artists have done and tried to do with the little people and it makes me puke. I spend a good portion of the introduction to The Qoin Con sharing the story of one individual who got screwed by these crooks BIGTIME and I can assure you that screwing with Creditors comes as easy to them as swimming does to a fish.
One of the things that companies in trouble do is asset strip. You can asset strip for profit. Qoin however only knows how to asset strip while going backwards.
What those about to go under will often do is to slip out of PGs. Personal Guarantees are gold to a creditor, and there is a reason why banks require PGs – because they know full well that they’ll never get paid without one! What criminals like Edgar Kampers and Rob van Hilten do is to pass their PGs off to others in various ways. Best it to get creditor approval to do so, but they’d be stupid to fall into that trap. Smooth talkers however are creative at finding ways to trick creditors, so they might try to assign a PG to another low net-worth individual, or to offer security instead of seemingly valuable assets in lieu of their own PG. Offering shares in a worthless (or soon to be worthless) company is another ploy.
Assigning debt, stripping out assets, restructuring are standard tools of trade for those who play fast and loose with the truth.
Intellectual Property is a hornet’s nest. Creditors can be fooled into thinking that there is some value in something that is essentially just all hot air. That Qoin has succeeded so long all the while producing simply NOTHING of substance says it all. We in the industry know it (and except for the association IRTA who cannot confess this because of their own covering up role in the Tradeqoin and Rob van Hilten’s shonky IRTA Board membership status sagas) even if it is all hidden and hushed up.
I doubt that Qoin brand will have any Intellectual Property value after release of The Qoin Con but there may be other Intellectual Property that Qoin considers of value. Crooks will try to pass-off something for nothing and these guys have the arsenal of tricks up their sleeve going back years!
In most cons like Qoin, investigators will find that the barrel is well and truly empty. Assets will disappear; they will have been ‘stolen’ and never reported to the police; or they will be shuffled out to staff in lieu of unpaid wages (“Here take this XXX because we’re going under and it’s better that you get something rather than nothing” sort of thing.)
Anything of value, like real estate or vehicles or electronics will be shuffled out sideways to subsidiaries or proxies on dodgy sales at mates-rates. Things like property will be put in their spouses names, or into a trust, or sold to a proxy and then rented back. Changes to the official ownership records towards the end of the fraud cycle as it is going down will be clues of this scenario occurring. Ownership of property in a spouse’s or child’s name are other clues of a shonky operator at work.
Conmen are creative at protecting their ill-gotten gains for that is what it’s all about for these guys – personal enrichment at the expense of others and ethics and [sometimes] the law be damned.
Now the scenario of assets held by these Qoin guys personally is a huge one because if they have knowingly traded while insolvent (which I can tell you they most assuredly have) then they as directors will be personally liable for the debts they incur. Clawbacks from any efficient investigator will hurt, because it will mean that their assets (or a part of them) will go back to the people they defrauded. More on this in regards to Qoin in a minute.
A large part of a con-artists efforts go into building a [false] reputation – an example of this is Daniel Evans’ serious efforts at building false Facebook profiles for his various proxies to give himself and his con credibility – all false of course.
With the demise of a brand or a company, a con artist can explain things away such as Qoin Jokers did with past bankruptcies that were later explained away as “successful exits”. The truth of course is that a string of bankruptcies from these fellas represents a pattern of behaviour – deliberate stripping of assets leaving the debt for other suckers who end up losing out. In Qoin’s case this is decades of shonky practice that has escalated into the 2016 debacle that it is, not just a little adversity at the tail end of a stellar career in Complementary Currency industry.
Rob and Edgar have been very effective in their muscling into the leadership of the industry. Securing a spot on the International Board of Directors of IRTA assured him credibility in the industry. He got there primarily through conning Annette Riggs (President) and then Ron Whitney (Executive Director) who accepted him even though he neither had a trade exchange at the time (against IRTA rules) and even though his trade exchange when he did establish it much later was a fraud (and again never met basic IRTA Board Member rules!).
Expect the lines to run hot between them on publication of The Qoin Con as the friendship is stretched and tested as the skulduggery is progressively revealed. The Qoin con-artists could attempt to use their friendship as leverage to protect their reputation against the contents of the book. Likewise with others who have publicly challenged my analysis and warnings via my blog. Expect silence and for the issues to be pushed under the carpet the same as those who endorsed and befriended the conman Daniel Evans. You won’t be seeing any apology from IRTA nor indeed anyone else embarrassed by their association with Qoin and the conmen for this will expose them to [legitimate] claims of a cover-up AND therefore corruption proven AND therefore potential legal liability for remember that IMHO despicably, these people Rob van Hilten and Annette Riggs publicly defamed me at the time I started exposing them.
There will come a time however, when the Qoin thing inevitably crumbles and that the names of Edgar Kampers, Rob van Hilten and Valerie Vallenduuk will be known for who they really are – crooks. I cannot predict the timing and exact future but I know from presales that when the book comes out, The Netherlands will be VERY aware of the shady character of these supposedly nice-guys and very clever people. I personally intend to ensure that participants in any of their future activities will be fully aware of The Qoin Con.
ADVICE FOR THOSE AFFECTED
IRTA. Having just finished talking about IRTA, I now talk TO them. Annette Riggs and Ron Whitney, with the publication of The Qoin Con and very likely demise of the Qoin and Tradeqoin frauds, your cover-ups; your shonky appointment of a conman onto the Board; your despicable attempt to tarnish my personal reputation to protect your combined *rses are revealed and proven now in a public forum. You are a disgrace to the industry and to the good people who DO care about it and who play straight. My advice is to show yourselves people worthy of trust and respect; apologise and rectify the matters – Rob van Hilten should be evicted from the Board of IRTA immediately and you should make some effort at restoring the past good name of IRTA. I know full well that this is the last thing you will do, but it is my advice nonetheless.
STAFF. Abandon the sinking ship forthwith. Take anything that you can get by way of settlement for your unpaid wages and protect your future by burying any involvement with the criminals you currently work for. If you have shares in the company or have invested into the scam, sell them to your enemies and get anything, literally anything that you can for them for they are (and always have been worthless). If you have unpaid wages, debts incurred since the day that the principals first knew that the operation was insolvent [and when you read the book you will get a big surprise when that was – hint: it was before you were employed!], you will have a strong case to sue your bosses personally. You will know their lifestyle very well and most likely how they have built their personal assets via real estate. Consider sharing the inside information that you have had access to with those that want to take action – fellow staff members (disgruntled), upset creditors and customers. The authorities will act when there are more then two people prepared to bankrupt. It only takes two to tango!
CREDITORS. If you do not have a Personal Guarantee, you will have lost your money UNLESS you join with other creditors in Class Action against the the crooks personally. The Qoin Con details not only what this means but also HOW you can do that. Research and speak to other creditors about their experiences and be very careful when negotiating with these boys – they are skilled at spin; have no conscience and will do everything they can to protect their ill-gotten gains. If you have a Personal Guarantee then you are lucky, and congratulations on your past wisdom to get that. Undertake immediate, affirmative action to recover your money owing and enforce the PG at your earliest opportunity.
OBSERVERS & SUPPORTERS. Qoin has presented itself as Complementary Currency experts and the principals Rob van Hilten and Edgar Kampers [and to a lesser extent lawyer Vallerie Vallenduuk] have benefited personally for many years at the expense of the public purse, and more recently crowdfunding participants. Con artists rely on personal endorsements and leveraging relationships, sometimes personal relationships that have been forged over years. My advice in regards to the Qoin people is to distance the commercial and personal as clearly as you can. Face the facts – that no matter what you think about me, and no matter how you feel, that I, an investigative blogger in Samoa has exposed these guys and their fraud fearlessly; accurately and correctly over the last couple of years and that there has been another (less savoury) side to the Qoin people and business. Then act professionally to protect your own online reputations. To Stephen DeMeulenaere and Scott Morris, the two industry voices who challenged me publicly, my advice is that if you rectify your position by stating publicly that you were wrong; that you too were conned by your ‘friends’ at Qoin that this is a perfectly natural and believable statement of fact. Apologising and rectifying your statements of doubt towards me (simply the messenger) would also make a strong statement of your own ethics and credibility.
THE TWO STOOGES THEMSELVES. Rob and Edgar, I call you for what you are – greedy con-artists without a morsel of decency. I know very well that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that you’d ever do this but my advice is to sit down with each other and for the first time in your rocky relationship stop your fighting and work out how to do the honourable thing. My advice is to call in the liquidators and pay up – personally – even if it means selling up your treasured assets in your homes. Rob, my advice is to speak to your wife and explain that putting the house in her name and stripping the business to build your “doer-upper” into the very nice personal investment farmhouse means that she and you are living off the proceeds of dishonesty and crime – for the little people that trusted you and lost out can never go away from your conscience. When you look around your house and try to enjoy your luxury, you will always know that you’re a crook. No wife can respect a husband who does that. Fix the problem even if it means that you’re not living as some rich dude – supposedly a successful businessman. Same thing with you too Edgar, when your family come in and share your house – they will eventually find out that it has all come by way of fraud, and that you’re little more than a thief – albeit a white-collar one.
I see two possible scenarios that could unfold for the Qoin conmen. The first is the most likely scenario, for it is their modus operandii and as I said leopards don’t change their spots. It is that Rob and Edgar set up shop again, maybe in another industry for their future is ZIP in this one, but with the same greed-driven self-interest and the same string of damaged relationships. The result will be the same of course, but this time their cons will be less effective and their demise will come a lot quicker because I am dedicated to following these con-artists every move and protecting the public from their lies, greed and tricks.
The second option is one in which the crooks humble themselves, grow up, learn from their mistakes and do something good for their community. A few people can do this after having business and personal failures. Having been through decades of spouting BS and looking out for their own interests, Edgar who has the brains, and perhaps to a lesser extent Rob, could be excellent ambassadors for the truth. While they can’t run a business themselves to save themselves and probably never will be able to, they DO have the experience and capacity to build contacts and talk. It’s a proven business model along the lines of “we’re the crooks turned-good-guys”; “Hire-a-thief-to-catch-a-thief!” sort of thing and “We’ve made all the mistakes – learn from us”.
Take the initiative; do the right thing and the little investigative blogger who ‘lacks credibility’ sitting in Samoa who ‘took you down’ could perhaps endorse you guys as boys who screwed up, but now got it right and is helping others make the world a better place.
Nah! I think I’ve lost the plot and am dreaming . . . the book The Qoin Con comes out in February 2016. Pre-orders here.
Bye bye Qoin.
The Qoin Series
- The Qoin Con – Exposing them all - Notification of pending book release [766 words]
- Using Modus Operandii to expose Qoin - a precis of the logic used to expose the con [4,144 words]
- Coordinating Qoin’s Creditors - help and advice for Qoin's affected Creditors [3,918 words]
- Qoin Questionnaire - Creditor Questionnaire
- IRTA’s Cover-Up of The Qoin Con - IRTA actively covered for the crooks, for years [2.257 words]
- Qoin on the Ropes - The conmen moving into panic mode as creditors start calling, and squeezing [2,710 words]
- Qoin Screwing Their Creditors - Incredibly callous actions of greedy conmen without a conscience exposed [2,558 words]
- Qoin Directors’ Criminal Actions - An analysis of trading while insolvent & fraud, plus the serious consequences [3,999 words]
- Qoin’s Cover Up Commences - The first of the companies closed down (owing €95k BTW!) [1,348 words]
- Qoin’s Veritable Maze of Confusion - Just some of the current companies, the cancelled companies and the phantom companies [2,142 words]
- Qoin Fraud Exploits Crowdfunding Loopholes - Geld voor Elkaar and particularly Symbid are highly exposed having supported the Qoin fraud [1,521 words]
- Qoin Exposes Stichting Doen’s Nepotism - Stitchting DOEN has funded, was warned and covered up. They are complicit [2,273 words]
- WARNING to Tradeqoin Members - Tradeqoin is simply a database of names but all who allow their names to be used help perpetuate the fraud [635 words]
- Qoin’s Conman Rob van Hilten’s Lies - Proven liar, liar, liar, liar, lair! [1,848 words]
- WARNING to Qoin Supporters/Endorsers - Conmen leverage relationships with "big names" to gain credibility - A warning to those who may have been conned [601 words]
- Bye Bye Qoin – Officially Bankrupt - A slap in the face for Qoin's two conmen, their active supporters to the end, IRTA's Executive, and other losers who backed the donkey of BS over a thoroughbred of facts. [2,277 words]
- Issues for Qoin’s Liquidator [Curator] - All liquidators of frauds must work through deception. Good ones will get there and find the money. [1,530 words]
- IRTA Source Emails Annette Riggs [7,220 words]
- IRTA Source Email – Ron Whitney [1,098 words]
- Correcting IRTA’s ad hominems - Reveals & proves an ugly personal agenda [ 3,153 words]
- Qoin’s Bankruptcy Unravelled - The details and explanation [2,613 words]
- Qoin as a Source of Ridicule - Nobody trusts them now [1,140 words]
- Qoin’s Bankruptcy – Liquidator Report - Here's the proof! [4,722 words]
- Qoin’s Trading While Insolvent - Damning White Collar crime proved - THE KILLER-POST! [1,639 words]
- Qoin Conmen’s Methodology - Explaining the confidence game [2,741 words]
- Qoin's Bankruptcy - Industry Significance - Significant! [2,016 words]
- Qoin Spins Down & Down - IRTA's spin on Qoin's bankruptcy [991 words]
- IRTA’s Defence Undermined by FACTS - Jacob Musschenga pings IRTA's spin [1,353 words]
- IRTA: Explaining is a Sign of Defeat - Damning commentary of IRTA's Defence [3,492 words]
- Qoin’s Crimes Listed - Summarising criminal actions of Qoin's Directors [1,176 words]