In this post I share an email from John Attridge, CEO, BBX UK in which among other things he challenges me and my credibility. I also describe communications from IRTA’s Ron Whitney and activities from BBX’s Carolin MacDonald to undermine my credibility. I warned all that I would release the entire data set that I received via my Tipline should any challenge to my credibility occur. It now has. After providing commentary, I explain how I analysed the data and drew my conclusions, then I do exactly what I said I would do . . . provide the raw data to the public so that people may see what I see. Two lessons from today will likely reverberate around the globe for years, the first one being that BBX is decidedly NOT what the puppetmeisters claim it is and the second one is that I am a man of my word. Enjoy . . .
On the 17 February 2017, I wrote the following warning:
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO BBX MANAGEMENT & IRTA
In the event that any representative or associate of BBX International by way of employees, agents or subcontractors or any representative of IRTA challenge any aspect of the credibility of the collator of this data, me, I give notice that I will publish the entire contents of the database I worked from including the full calculation formulas and methodology I used AND information sufficient that the public may verify the credibility and accuracy of this analysis which will inevitably lead to the publication of personal information. I will also supply the full database AND information sufficient to demonstrate that this data can be and was obtained legally to any authority, anywhere on the planet. You however have full right-of-reply on this blog as detailed clearly in my Disclosure Statement. [emphasis added]
On the 2nd March, 2017, BBX and IRTA have met the conditions of my warning; they have not exercised their right of reply; so I now release the raw data as promised.
BBX UK – The Email
From: “John Attridge BBX UK CEO”
Date: 19 February 2017 …
Subject: Re: Dennis Smith & Cameron McKean Emails
Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note that this email was sent to the BBXUK newsletter database which [incredibly] includes “email@example.com”. This is an own goal if ever there was. There’s no cure for ‘stupid’.
I am sorry to have to contact you again regarding more unsolicited emails that many of you have received from Mr Cameron McKean and/or Mr Dennis Smith alleging an array of unsupported and malicious allegations about BBX International – this is a repeat of previous emails you may have received.
“Unsupported” no more. My blogging is now “supported” with the facts. My release of the “facts” that BBX and IRTA do not wish the public to see will validate all claims – to the cent.
None of these matters are related to our BBX UK operation except as mentioned to you all in my last communication, Mr McKean before being “let go” for non-performance as a Thailand franchisee had gained your email from the BBX international system – information available to all of you on our mailing list.
No, Mr Attridge, you are in error and you know it and I can prove that you know it. This is a particularly nasty case of defamation. You are now exposed.
Mr McKean was not “let go” . . . he resigned and your company defamed and continues to defame him . . . please note that from the evidence I have seen, you have spoken an utter falsehood. What you should be doing Mr Attridge is checking the facts, like I have, seeing the evidence and then speaking the truth.
That you actually know the truth though yet deliberately spread this incorrect information makes you a complicit in BBX cover-up attempts and a liar, all now exposed.
You are also now rather exposed having contacted your entire database with known falsehoods. Oops!
It now appears he has committed illegal acts by sharing this information with Mr Smith who is outside our community and is now using this information to contact you – this has broken the very strict International data protection laws and we are taking the harshest legal and criminal action available to us.
Oh, P_U_R_L_E_E_Z_E! It would be an honour to go to jail in order to have exposed the BBX corruption! Double the money and I’ll go to jail twice for exposing your mates at Bartercard too if you really want some fun!
Actually Mr Attridge, I am an investigative blogger who provides a Tipline and offers the protection of Shield Laws to my informants because I am a professional journalist. Now what you don’t know is where I got the data from and I’m not going to tell you because if there is the remotest possibility that you might do what you have said you are doing, then if I can prove that the data came from another source, then your “[harsh] legal and criminal action” will rebound on you for making a malicious complaint.
Ask yourself these questions . . . can you see the data in the database? Yes. Can all other Franchisees and staff see it? Yes. Are there any Franchisees and or staff who feel that they have been done hard by? Yes. Could any one else apart from the whistleblower have spoken to me and/or shared data among themselves – and me? Have I already alluded to the possibility that more than one person has this data? Yes. Mr Attridge you are a fool – a mere child playing in a big grown-up world. These are simply defensive words that are scribbled out in a mad panic without any thought and certainly no legal advice, then slapped into the faces of BBX UK members, and those on your newsletter database.
My only concern out of the unsupported allegations they make is that your credit card details have been compromised – I repeat we do NOT hold ANY credit card details and as you all know we use a third party for Direct Debit – as you are aware you are fully protected by the Direct Debit scheme.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
— If you are annoyed as we are and want to help us STOP this nonsense
1. Do NOT reply – all this will do is cause more contact
2. Mark the email as SPAM
3. Click unsubscribe – you will usually find this at the very bottom of the page
If you are concerned in ANY way please email me with your best contact number and I will follow up with a phone call.
John Attridge C.T.B.
CEO, BBX UK
DD – 03333 661 026 | M – 07799 717 627 | 0333 400 2014
firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.bbxuk.com/
1st Floor Wilson House, 2 Lorne Park Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 1JN
BBX is in Australia, China, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom
A long list of names in a database!
This e-mail message may contain confidential or legally privileged information and is intended only for the use of the intended recipient(s). Any unauthorized disclosure, dissemination, distribution, copying or the taking of any action in reliance on the information herein is prohibited. E-mails are not secure and cannot be guaranteed to be error free as they can be intercepted, amended, or contain viruses. Anyone who communicates with us by e-mail is deemed to have accepted these risks. BBX UK is not responsible for errors or omissions in this message and denies any responsibility for any damage arising from the use of e-mail. Any opinion and other statement contained in this message and any attachment are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Please consider the environment before printing this email
First Floor Wilson House
2 Lorne Park Rd, Bournemouth
BH1 1 JN
This is ‘rear-guard’ action and shows a total lack of understanding . . . the people are not stupid, well maybe they did get conned at the beginning but they worked it all out! This letter is equivalent to Trevor Dietz’s communication to the barter industry a couple of years ago – shoot foot.
They’ve already gone Mr Attridge. You are way too late! You’ve over-promised and under-delivered for years. No doubt you learned all this BS stuff from Bartercard? Oops!
One can perfectly understand the CEO Carolin MacDonald’s position when her mirage is being revealed for what it is. That she would undermine my credibility may be understandable, and to be expected (Why do you think I even put that warning up there?) but she SHOULD have shut-up. Members can only blame those that set out to undermine my credibility if there are negative consequences for release of their information.
- He’s doing it for [enter whatever reason here].
- He’s got no credibility.
- He’s going to get arrested and go to jail.
Ron Whitney & IRTA
IRTA has a loose cannon at the head. Prior to publication of the BBX Investigation I gave IRTA a heads-up of what was coming, as I did to BBX UK and BBX International. Ron responded, BBX did not. Ron Whitney also contacted the whistleblower Cameron McKean and spoke for two hours about me. It was not supportive, insinuated that I had ulterior motives and he attempted to muscle Cameron to influence my blogging. Apart from the illegality aspect, this undermining of my credibility has been a constant from IRTA. I show you the evidence of that here:
Created on: 11 February 2017 at 12:18 (Delivered after 0 seconds)
From: Dennis A Smith
To: Cameron McKean
Hi CameronThank you for your call this morning (my time).I summarise our discussion for the record – you may also forward it to anyone as you so wish, including Ron and/or IRTA or the public.You summarised a call initiated by Ron Whitney from IRTA by stating that:1. Ron considered me dangerous to deal with, capable of turning on you. You interpreted this as a warning from IRTA2. Ron believed that he (and IRTA) was subject to a campaign from me and that this was based on something to do with money and/or Bartercard software and/or my involvement or not. I didn’t really understand the exact details but quite frankly it matters not to me much what Ron thinks in the whole scheme of things3. Ron asked that you assist him and/or IRTA by approaching me to either tone down what he saw as my attacks on him and/or IRTA specifically highlighting the possibility that I may “ping” IRTA for booting BBX out of IRTA. I understand that he would be happy to investigate BBX and remove them from the IRTA fold should his investigations reveal that BBX deceived him on application.4. You mentioned something about concerns of IRTA being hammered by my caustic words (my phrasing) if IRTA boots them out.You relayed the details of the 2 hour call to me professionally and caringly and asked that I assess my personal motivations and perhaps moderate the intensity of my blogging especially in light of Ron’s call, commitment to doing the right thing and what appeared to you, at least on the surface a reasonable request.I listened carefully to you and heard the message from Ron Whitney and IRTA. Thank you for relaying it. I make the following comments:
- I am an independent blogger. You did the right thing by not attempting to leverage or influence me in any way. This I appreciate and shows me a high degree of integrity. Thank you
- I believe that Ron’s assessment of me and my motives for writing what I do and for the breakdown in communications is in error. I have given you a short version in which I have explained a little of the history. In essence the matters are personal to some degree but that I am a professional blogger – first and foremost and stand behind every word I write. I must and do remove the personal but I also reserve the right to call a spade a spade and have an opinion.
- Ron Whitney and Annette Riggs can speak to me at any stage (and sometimes do) but they are the ones who ceased communications and dialogue in many matters, not me.
- I have supplied a copy of The BBX Investigation to Ron prior to publication at the same time as I supplied it to BBX, you and others affected and you know the clear invitation to respond or correct any information before or after publication AND drawing attention to my Right of Reply. I say what I mean and mean what I say.
- Ron did not respond at the time (not even a confirmation of receipt) and has not since. [This has now changed. I have received one email from IRTA.]
- Contacting you to relay a message I consider unethical especially as I am available to him and have never refused to talk to him. If you want to be involved in any communication on any of these matters you are welcome. I can initiate a three way call or communications or I will cooperate with you. One would have to ask why, but I have no problem speaking to anyone about anything unless it relates to commercial sensitivities
- I will continue to blog accurately, shortly announcing my intent to bring BBX management to account in a criminal court of law with a private prosecution in NZ, which is part of my deliberate campaign to rid the industry once and for all of this BBX blight and to deal to one small part of the corruption that plagues it.
- I am not interested in any investigation from IRTA. I have done it; I have the evidence; I have published it. I believe that my words analysis and commentary should be ample evidence for IRTA to act decisively to do the honourable thing – whatever that is – immediate suspension pending an investigation if they don’t trust me and want to buy time, or immediate termination based on real evidence. Crumbs – if he speaks to the right people it would take all of two minutes to get enough evidence to give them the flick – once and for all! You of all people should know that.
- In regards to the issue of taking credit should IRTA act decisively, I can assure you that yes, I will take the credit for taking the bull by the horns but that should IRTA act fast and professionally, as I have already alluded to, yes, I will be the first to congratulate them and endorse their conduct – remember that I do not have hidden agendas – if they do the right thing and I can see this then I will say it – and good on them if they do.For the record then, I have listened. I appreciate your risk in sharing me Ron’s message and your opinion. My decision is to proceed with a relentless pressure on all associated with BBX, knowing full well that there will be and is serious consequences to this sort of exposure. In the coming 48 hours I will have more posts that will make it imperative that anyone with any integrity will act firmly and quickly to extricate themselves from this criminal business under the guise of an ethical Barter Exchange.As always, while I may be a prickly character, and be opinionated, I will work only with the truth and always attempt to be fair to all. My current intent is not to bring IRTA or Ron down, it is to stand for the truth but with what IRTA has said or done, both in private and public, they will have a lot of work ahead of them. For the record, and this is a second subject you mentioned briefly, yes, the book Bartercard Secrets is 1/3 written and once BBX goes I will be working on that fulltime. Same thing applies with BC – Ron should be preparing for another one to go down, when I don’t know but it is inevitable just as long as I keep on doing what I do.Lastly there was talk of money. Yes, I involved IRTA when I had an 80% probability that they would be able to secure the money that I asked for and No, I received not one cent from the industry to write anything since and this applies to my investigations into BBX. I did this off my own bat and at my own expense, and you can tell that to Ron if you want.Regards
Dennis A. Smith
On this basis I now publish the raw BBX data; the entire BBX International database.
The Raw Data
This Spreadsheet contains personal and financial information supplied to my Tipline in the course of investigating BBX International and associated companies. I have redacted some critical personal information such as PIN numbers, but contact details and financial information sufficient to validate my blogging remains.
It is provided here on the basis of permitting any person who doubts the credibility of my blogging, in the face of accusations by the ones I have investigated and am investigating, so that they too can assess my credibility and therefore protect their interests; make informed business decisions relating to BBX.
I have blogged extensively.
I have emailed all members on the database; responded to every inbound email and done it all online. My blogging warns of this release in advance. IRTA and BBX were aware of not only their non-PCI compliant systems but that their data was ‘out there’ and also warned in advance, in public.
I provide it here for the purposes of personal and professional analysis. Please be aware that the access to and storage and dissemination of other peoples’ personal and critical financial information may have legal ramifications.
If you know and understand this all you may access the entire data set I worked from on a passworded page using a four digit password, sequential numbers commencing with “1”. Contact me if you have any difficulties working it all out.
Analysing The Raw Data
The Spreadsheet has tabs for each country. Press CTRL + END to go to the last cell. The line number will show you quickly how many members there are in that country.
Each line contains the details of each member. Tab through to see the field name and then the BBX Member’s details in that field.
Trade Balance is the value of credits in the BBX system – a positive number means that they have credits to spend. A negative number means that they have taken from the system and are in trade debt to the BBX system.
To total figures in a country (like I did) you will need to massage the data to align the columns you want to total by. One way to do this is to copy the required columns to a text document and FIND & REPLACE a field name with a Paragraph Mark and the Field Name, then sort. This can then give you sorted data to massage. I did exactly this to derive totals within the BBX system which I then used to generate the infographics.
Use the Last Sale date to determine activity within an exchange.
Bad debts requires either a knowledge of the members or inside intel from within BBX. I had both. Most won’t and those interested will need to do some investigation. I have. Details of the debt reserve fund and the missing transactions are critical to investigators. Staff have knowledge of this fraud. The word is out. All cover-up activity leaves a trail. It’s way too late now for the criminals to escape from the light of truth.
Use the companies office, Google, BBX insiders (some of them are happy to help – obviously confidentially for obvious reasons) and communicating with other members, comparing notes and so on will reveal the true picture to the dedicated.
Apollo & Sky High are BBX operations as are various trusts and property-related entities.
When you find a genuine company, simply view their website, compare their Trade Balance with their supposed capacity to trade then phone them. Ask questions and you’ll generally get answers. Remember that everyone is in the same sinking boat.
Sorting by Trade Balance and then separating the debits and credits will reveal the big beneficiaries of the managers’ criminal conduct. Likewise those who have large assets in the BBX system. It can also show you promotional offers, like in BBX UK. A large number of members in credit by (for example £220.00 or £440.00) indicate a similar value given away – a carrot that hasn’t worked – still sitting on the ledger unused.
Simply totaling the Trade Balance column shows you the missing transactions – total debits should equal total debits in any balanced ledger. None of BBX’s do, neither as a global nor in any one jurisdiction.
Sorting the UK data by Card Type (or Credit Limit) as well shows the promotional members vs the real members. IRTA’s rules also require that members are those that have traded in the preceding 12 months. This can be established by sorting by Last Used (date). Do it and see for yourself whether or not BBX UK has been telling porkies or not. Oops!
All other countries data is basically historical – names in an [aging] database. China’s data proves the points I have made!
Security & Ethical Issues
Releasing the entire Raw BBX Data was a simple issue for me. I warned IRTA and BBX of the conditions where I would, to protect my credibility. They all challenged me so the die had been cast, for I always honour my word. I didn’t threaten them I warned them and promised them, so the matter was actually quite simple . . . but there were other factors that led to my initial warning, which to be quite frank had a very high probability for coming to pass (knowing the way people like these sort of guys think and work).
Here are some of the issues:
- Distorting things. When the ship is sinking, people who deceive can only really attack the messenger – “He this” or “He that”. BBX (and IRTA) has done exactly this – BBX International, BBX UK and Ron Whitney. Releasing the raw data brings the focus back to the facts. I really don’t care whether the amount that the BBX principals have stolen over the years is $20m or $200m. I just want people to know that there has been theft, and then the actual figures can be fought over by others in a courtroom or with the Receivers. What happens with something like what I am doing is that the smart ones pull out and the losers stay. This increases the troubles for the crooks and the good ones are gone. That’s great on both counts!
- Hiding things from each other is another game played by deceivers in positions of power. Letting members see other members details though is an incredible empowering act. Once it is known that companies with a huge debit balance are refusing to accept trade, real questions can and should be asked. Why? What’s going on? Same thing with locating other members and understanding the facts. When someone who stands to lose a lot gets up in public and rants about how great BBX are, and is then shown to have that vested interest, others are empowered with the truth and by having this same inside knowledge as the elite. Sure, it’s a two edged sword as everyone can see their data but in the situation that a trade exchange is going down, it could be seen as a healthy thing to have the facts in the members’ hands. Too many times it is the insiders, the TCOs; the Franchisees and of course the owners who benefit by concealing things from the other members – all for personal gain of course. They will still try to do this, but the smart ones who have done their research will know the facts.
- I’ve redacted the Credit Card Details. I consider that nothing is to be gained by releasing them and the risk that I can be accused of manipulating the data by retaining the Credit Card details is minimal. If the authorities want to see criminal negligence and exposure of non-compliant systems they have ways and means to do this without need of me. I also have never had them on any computer or computer I have direct control of. I know how to get them but I don’t have them. Note also that I have never actually said that I have them either. I talk about critical personal and financial information and PCI compliance. I have issued sample data that individual users have had good opportunity to see that I speak with the data. BBX UK needs to be a bit more careful and measured in their response to this sort of threat, methinks! Also, they will need to check their systems because if they have access to BBX members in other countries whose credit card details ARE in the system then they are most certainly exposed! I have redacted the PIN numbers as there is no value in releasing them for a validation exercise and this could enable further crimes to occur.
- Timing. I’ve left publishing it until towards the end of The BBX Investigation series deliberately. I want to show the world that I am not reactive like the crooks are but that I think and act in the long-term. I will also remove it from online once I can see that it has been out there and done the needful. Once BBX is closed, or when I deem it appropriate I will take it down.
- Lastly, the data is already out there. I know of more than one location where it is. Do you think there is likely more? I do. Sooner or later it will all get out anyway. I’ve reacted and done it first, in a controlled, and I think sensible and ethical manner. My wish is that those associated with or an interest in BBX will use it wisely and ethically too.
There is of course the possibility that competitors in the market place will access and use this data for commercial purposes against my request to the contrary. To this very strong possibility I just say, “Well, them’s the breaks!”
Go to the BBX Raw Data
The BBX Investigation Series
- PUBLIC WARNING: BBX Barter (2381 words)
- 2. War Erupts Within BBX Barter (4090 words)
- 3. BBX is Busted – Working it Out (2388 words)
- 4. BBX has big, Big, BIG Problems (1778 words)
- 5. The Demise of BBX (3489 words)
- 6. BBX – A Summary (1308 words)
- 7. Reflections on Investigating BBX (6394 words)
- 8. BBX – The First Criminal Charges (3625 words)
- 9. BBX Crimes – The Significance (2,710 words)
- 10. BBX Causes Problems for IRTA (2,251 words)
- 11. BBX: Rats Off a Sinking Ship (1,715 words)
- 12. BBX Data Security Breach (1,852 words)
- 13. BBX Threatens – Sue Me PLEASE! (1,511 words)
- 14 The BBX Knives Are Coming Out (1,791 words)
- 15. BBX Memberships – Names in a Database (2,774 words)
- 16. BBX UK & The Franchise Show (2,840 words)
- 17. OPEN LETTER 1 – BBX Members (162 words)
- 18. BBX Currency Analysis – 10c/$1.00 (1,527 words)
- 19. The BBX People Speak (11,726 words)
- 20. More Words from BBX People (15,206 words)
- 21. How BBX Did It – Lies & Theft (3,663 words)
- 22. BBX – Winding Down/Winding Up (3,217 words)
- 23. BBX New Zealand Analysis (828 words)
- 24. BBX UK Membership Analysis (1,143 words)
- 25. BBX NZ – Serious Fraud Office (1,261 words)
- 26. BBX – Thailand Member Analysis (1,165 words)
- 27. BBX Minor Countries Analysis (574 words)
- 28. The BBX People (2,290 words)
- 29. BBX International in a Nutshell (295 words)
- 30. The Raw BBX Data (4,463 words)
- 31. BBX Members React – It’s War (5,617 words)
- 32. BBX and Issues of Morality (1,363 words)
- 33. Warning to BBX Staff & Associates (1,944 words)
- 34. BBX Devaluation Helps With Tax Losses (1,269 words)
- 35. BBX Rips Open the Barter Industry (1,237 words)
- 36. MEDIA RELEASE: Barter Tax Avoidance Warning (516 words)
- 37. BBX Whistleblower: Cameron McKean (4,994 words)
- 38. The BBX Investigation Final Comments (1,504 words)