Two Crowdfunders in The Netherlands (Geld voor Elkaar & Symbid) have both assisted the fraudulent Qoin operation to the tune of €1/3m allowing the Directors to scam the investing public. In Holland, debt defaulters are listed online however not so for the crooks who use crowdfunding sites, and guess what? These crowdfunding organisations have pocketed their commissions but now won’t talk! In this post I analyse the Crowdfunders’ roles in enabling the con artists and show further how Symbid is seriously exposed by aiding and abetting actual criminal activity.
My extensive exposure of Qoin online has revealed details of two con artists Edgar Kampers and Rob van Hilten, self-proclaimed experts in the Complementary Currency field. Their Dutch foundation Qoin runs as a front for personal enrichment; is bankrupt; rotates credit; is continually “strapped for cash” and always has been (by design!) and is currently going under.
Leveraging their highly successful business model (to secure funding by way of grants etc) they simulataneously secure loans and investments, then have creative ways to squeeze their creditors, using a series of rotating companies that just seem to disappear (usually just before they have to file the appropriate reports) and in some cases owing money – a lovely way to escape the debt, “Sorry we no longer exist!”
In Q4, 2015 the Qoin conglomerate faced increasing difficulties obtaining grant monies, the creditor squeeze came on and bankruptcies are in order Q1, 2016.
Qoin’s Directors have run six successful crowdfunding campaigns, the first five through the largest crowdfunding company in The Netherlands (Geld voor Elkaar) and the latest through Symbid.
Total income by way of investments is on the order of €1/3m – €50k from their Symbid campaign, the balance from five previous Geld voor Elkaar funding rounds.
Total indebtedness to Geld voor Elkaar investors is near €100k (you can kiss that all goodbye now Geld voor Elkaar investors!) and of course none of the Symbid investors will see a red cent of their money again – even Tradeqoin’s proposal explained this . . . no profit for a few years and then miraculously, perhaps, some sham of a payment arrangement, investors may get something!
GELD VOOR ELKAAR – TOTALLY USED
The leaders in Crowdfunding in The Netherlands, Geld Voor Elkaar, have been conned, big-time by Qoin who has rotated credit nicely . . . notice the increasing size of the loans and reduced time interval.
Project No: 3536 €50.000 Running from 10-06-2013 – 13-06-2013
Project No: 5080 €68.700 Running from 7/11-2013 – 7-12-2013
Project No: 6243 €100.000 Running from 19/03/2014 – 20/03/2014
Two more successful campaigns details TBA
Understand also that virtually ALL the funds received went into the Directors’ two houses and lifestyles and VERY little went into debt repayment thus the constant arrears and indeed the current creditor squeeze.
Note also that the Symbid campaign follows these successful rounds with an initial target of €150k, reduced to €50k after my blogging exposed the Tradeqoin for the fraud that it was!
Note also that the links are no longer valid due to Geld voor Elkaar’s changed website – one can no longer browse past campaigns unless you were an investor – funny that! Transparency . . . not!
Qoin rotated credit and leveraged this income stream to obtain borrowings and grants from other entities. Actual deliverables were negligible, essentially any real, tangible deliverables failed to exist over the lifetime of Qoin.
With the wheels falling off Qoin now and the truth getting out there, Geld voor Elkaar is looking at investors losing out almost €100k – because they were conned.
SYMBID’S AIDING & ABETTING CRIME
Qoin’s Symbid campaign is different to and much worse than the Geld voor Elkaar’s ones in three distinct ways:
- Specific warnings posted online and sent directly to Symbid before and during the campaign alterting them to the fraudulent campaign make their complicity obvious;
- That the campaign was halted in midstream is a HUGELY significant fact and that the figure changes occurred in midstream and then that Symbid extended the campaign for the conmen (an unprecedented and incredible act of lunacy); and
- The fact that the Directors of Tradeqoin were trading while insolvent AND they knew it – a criminal act
I also have real questions relating to the valuation tool Symbid uses but this is a secondary issue for the moment.
I blogged extensively in real-time, at the time of the Symbid campaign but summarise the events as they unfolded here:
- Greg Prizmic founded a small barter exchange (Barter Your Business) and sold it to Qoin for a few worthless shares and a bit of cash. He failed to fire (who would when you’re not getting paid and it becomes clear that you’ve been shafted!).
- Tradeqoin was setup by Vallerie Vallenduuk (a crooked lawyer who is currently about to be debarred from her illegal conduct as a lawyer, attempting to take out the only commercial Trade Exchange in The Netherlands while hiding that she had a serious conflict of interest) and Qoin Directors.
- Tradeqoin stuffed a whole bunch of names of friends and contacts together on a website along with a couple of dozen members of the Achterhoek community and claimed to have 200 members.
- They launched their Symbid campaign with incredibly inciminating documents and business plans – stuff not even Alice & Wonderland would have dreamed up and aimed to get €150k.
- I commenced blogging with a public warning and showed that Tradeqoin was an utter fraud with a direct telemarketing exercise to their supposed members proving that only 6% were genuine members and all of them were simply not trading;
- Panic ensued at Qoin’s HQ for they desperately needed the cash to service previous debt (interest rates at 8% from previous Crowdfunding campaigns a good part of their worries);
- IRTA and other Qoin associates from around the world came in with guns blazing to support their Board member and industry colleague’s dodgy business, attempting to discredit the Samoan blogger;
- Qoin then ‘adjusted’ their business plans* for Tradeqoin and casually just shaved a cool €1m off their [totally fabricated] valuation overnight and reducing their ask down to ‘only’ €50k(!) thus proving that their entire presentation was a total fabrication in the first place;
- In light of the extensive blogging and proof, Symbid extended the campaign (incredibly!) and (incredibly again) they succeeded in gaining their revised goal of €50k!
I warned Symbid.
On publication of notice of The Qoin Con I did the same.
Again, from Symbid . . . nothing!
Crowdfunding is taking off but it’s a game fraught with credibility issues. Think about it . . . why would people not use abank if they had a good business plan, equity and experience. Missing any one may preclude traditional lending BUT risk is increased is it not?
The Netherlands is doing something to protect the smaller investor. I April will come some new laws – Hmmm more laws?
Crowdfunders do not list their bad debtors as normal practice. I wonder why not? That’s the service the public expect isn’t it?
All Crowdfunding sites carry the proviso that investment opportunities are listed and promoted on an all-care no guarantee basis – buyer be ware sort of thing. Geld voor Elkaar’s translation says for example:
Pay attention! Any form of investing has its risks. It is possible that you may get back less than you invested. We recommend using only a responsible part of investing your assets in crowdfunding projects. We also recommend that you spread your investment across multiple projects.
That’s different though for Symbid’s situation
When in due course investigators reveal that the Directors of Qoin knew that they were insolvent and that the Tradeqoin crowdfunding campaign was a total and utter fraudulent exercise with ample warning and proof online in real-time then Symbid can be held liable for the crime of aiding and abetting criminal activity – trading while insolvent AND fraud. Remember that this is not just a simple case of one conman slipping through the net, this is a campaign in which a major rewrite occurred in midstream with serious blogging about the fraud occurring simultaneously.
Symbid, you clearly prostituted ethics for a miserly buck by way of commissions on a very bad deal for all your investors. This is at a minimum gross incompetence OR MOST LIKELY WORSE!
* Daarom passen we onze bedrijfsstrategie aan:
We richten ons voorlopig op de TradeQoin-community Amsterdam/Haarlem/Alkmaar/Hoorn. In deze community zitten de meeste deelnemers.
Als aanvulling: onze ambitie om meerdere communities op te zetten en te faciliteren blijft onverminderd bestaan. Echter; om dat te realiseren zijn significante fondsen nodig die niet 1-2-3 gerealiseerd zijn. Daarom dat we nu ons vooralsnog richten op 1 community en daar met energie in investeren. Daar zijn veel minder mensen, minder ICT en dus minder fondsen voor nodig.
ENGLISH: * Therefore we adjust our business strategy: We focus initially on community TradeQoin Amsterdam / Haarlem / Alkmaar / Hoorn. In this community there is the majority of participants. Complementing: our ambition to create multiple communities and facilitate remains unchanged. However; to realize that needed significant funds realized not 1-2-3. Because we still focus on one community, and that investing in energy. There are much fewer people, fewer IT and therefore less need for funds.
THIS IS ALL OUTRIGHT DECEPTION to attempt to explain why the Symbid business plan had been changed in midstream . . . Tradeqoin never traded and was only ever a front to secure funding, grants, loans and continue the fraud! It’s easy to play with figures when they have NO CORRELATION to reality!