With calls for action from the authorities (aka inquiry) into the shonky Bartercard commercial barter business, I share here my take on where the rot lies. I put it into context which will hopefully help those affected to take constructive steps.
Since the launch of BPS Technology (ASX:BPS) and now particularly with “Tricky Trev” doing a runner, it is now too simplistic to simply say, “Down with Bartercard!” BPS now has the public by way of listed shares invested into the mess that these crooks have established and merged with new products & brands.
The History of Rot
Bartercard was founded in evil by those who live in it, mess with it, play with it and to be quite frank love it. To these Smiles in Suits, profiting at others’ expense on the backs of deception is simply natural, par for the course and is for them an example of evolutionary processes, “We’re smarter than you, we have the power, you believed us thus you will pay the price!” is their attitude behind the scenes to the little people when they are out of the public glare.
This flows down through the organisation both in the pyramid of power and over time, so that the genetic imprint of deception and greed has continued for 30 odd years and at all levels. In due course the New Zealand National Sales Manager will be facing jail-time as evidence comes out in court proceedings of his blatant dishonesty. Hopefully more will follow as the truth comes out, and the little people stand up and do the honourable thing.
Wayne Sharp, founder of the Bartercard con-job got out with a bucket-load of cash and laughed all the way to the bank. “Best day of my life!” he boasted when he got the gold. One of the three Smiles in Suits who bought it from Wayne got his cash a year or so ago when he bailed and Tricky Trev will no doubt find a way to cash-up his ill-gotten gains. If he hasn’t announced it yet, watch for it . . . he’ll be selling his interests soon, as will the third goon who oversaw the con – the money-man.
This leaves the Bartercard mess tucked within a publicly listed company (ASX:BPS), stripped of its real assets and a whole bunch of Ma & Pa investors through various corporate shareholdings. It’s up to the Directors of BPS Technology how they take it from there, but the newbies will need to know and understand that the Bartercard currency has massive deliberately undisclosed trade deficits going back to its inception. It operates under GAPP* accounting rules (not English) for a nefarious reason; it has accounts in the Maldives and other jurisdictions where laws and examination of accounts are of a different standard; it has Indonesian connections for its own trading and accounting BS and MULTIPLE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of undisclosed debt. I’ve blogged about this extensively.
The Bartercard Currency is not just technically insolvent, it is so grossly devalued that it is criminal. Bartercard themselves sell their currency for in the region of 22 cents in the cash dollar and they do this regularly and have done it from the outset with very high trading figures. This figure is down from 28 cents in the cash dollar a decade ago. In fact, like I have shown with the BBX currency from their ACTUAL trade balances, backing of the currency is probably substantially less than 20c in the cash dollar.
The Bartercard picture also needs to be seen in the context of time, and the trend (common across the globe) where commercial barter is generally in decline from its heyday a decade or two ago. As I have blogged about for years, in regards to Bartercard all metrics show decrease – number of franchises, countries of presence, profitability, membership numbers, membership satisfaction and trading volumes. All are down consistently year upon year for the last decade at least.
Identifying the Rot
A fish rots from its head. Nothing will or can change with the crooks still running the show. This is where it gets interesting. My take is that Trev & his ‘cobbers in crime’ struggled to grasp the significance of transition from a private company to a publicly listed company. From the outside it looks to me like they tried to run BPS like they did Bartercard – taking from the public purse and doing as they pleased.
Clues to this is the fact that Trevor Dietz is now jumping only a week or two after it came out that the shareholders have taken action to boot him and his mates out. WTF? You don’t own the company like you used to Trev when you have public money. That’s why there are rules, and accountability. Sure you got around them to get your cash but you can’t do what you and your mates have tried to do without consequences if the investors get wind of it!
Then look at the string of complaints that the shareholders have – insider trading is just one of a dozen complaints according to the reports. This is NOT the sign of a man who understands the ways of public companies. He’s gotten caught out, and is being held to account. Good job! I say. Share trading should be stopped immediately and the company investigated INCLUDING the sale by one of the other three goons who pumped and dumped.
OK sure, he’ll probably get away with it and Trev will probably pull a few strings to pocket the cash, but the people who own BPS – the shareholders – have worked them all out and are trying to protect their investment. Good on them, I have said and keep on saying.
But the core of BPS Technology is their Bartercard membership. It is from this generally battered and disillusioned group of barter diehards and suckers that BPS must attempt to leverage its value-adds – its technology acquisitions. As evidenced with Tess and Bucqi however, talk and delivery are poles apart. This is the result of talkers, pumping for one primary purpose – the dump.
The Bartercard brand still has some legs, but it is hugely devalued thanks to:
- Tens of thousands of businesses who have had bad experiences with these guys, most viewing them in retrospect as “utter crooks”;
- Years of dishonest, greedy management (flowing into the “dog-eat-dog, who-gives-a-damn-just-make-a-buck-and-any-cost” approach from staff) that has destroyed their credibility; and
- A hugely debased currency with massive hidden trade debts.
Throw in some negative press from yours truly and it’s not a pretty picture.
Dealing to the Rot
I don’t think the Bartercard brand/currency/business is repairable. The trade debt is too high, not just a little too high – too high by an order of magnitude. The damage that the Smiles in Suits has done to the BPS offering is too high. They will be leaving a shell with no real value.
When exposed to the reality of the Bartercard situation (and you can be VERY sure that the Smiles in Suits will be doing everything they can to hide the real nasty facts and figures** from those who inherit their mess!) the incoming Directors should really be calling the police the authorities and folding up shop.
They would lose all, but this is the ethical decision that all suckers have to face . . . do they pass the lemon on and deceive another sucker further down the line, or do they call it like it is, realise that they’ve been done and close the show down?
Whatever happens, it’s my wish that the truth gets out there. I want people to know the facts about these Smiles in Suits, about the Bartercard currency and business, one of the (if not THE) largest commercial barter cons in the history of mankind. Time will tell but as I share more of the New Zealand court case against Bartercard I am involved with, I will have much more information for those interested.
The Industry Watchdogs
There is another frightening aspect to the Bartercard disaster, and this is the global position of commercial barter within regulatory frameworks. Commercial barter is self-regulated. Anyone can create a currency outside of the Legal Tender system, and as long as it is not claimed that it can be used for the payment of taxes (that is by law limited to Legal Tender) crooks such as those who established, ran (and run) the likes of Bartercard can do so unchallenged.
There are more than one potential threats to and forms of accountability for a commercial barter organisation:
- Commercial Law
- Fair Trading Laws
- Securities/Financial Laws
- Criminal Law
There may be others but the commercial barter industry sits within the matrix of all and none of the above simultaneously thus they can (and do) get away with murder.
Let’s go through this all briefly in relation to Bartercard (I will share more as our court case against Bartercard progresses).
Bartercard presents a Member agreement to prospective members. I consider it to be the gold standard in membership agreements internationally and has been updated and tweaked over the years to give maximum power and control to Bartercard. It is a tight commercial agreement which they use effectively in litigation situations. You sign – you pay! is the essence of this.
In fair-trading cases (or situations natural justice, essentially in Bartercard’s case their misrepresentations) this comes down to evidence. Bartercard retain control of the critical figures, 99.9% of litigants cannot possibly know of information that proves what I have been saying about a devalued currency and therefore 99.9% of the time Bartercard will win any case where value of their currency is questioned. This is an area of huge weakness for Bartercard because as the evidence is coming out more and more this will eventually find its way into the courts. That will be interesting but it hasn’t occurred yet.
Barter is not recognised as a financial service, or security (at this stage) so companies like Bartercard can play with their funny-money at their whim, creating it and using it as they so wish. They are (with their own currencies) essentially Central Bankers, Wholesalers, Retailers and Regulators all at the once! The industry has always been sh*t scared that regulators will step in and attempt to regulate the industry – and for very good reason too! Their party would be over tomorrow. For the moment, and probably the long-term, the party will continue, mainly because the industry is way too small to register on the alarm scale, and it also requires a bit of lateral thinking capacity to deal with alternative currencies. Most bureaucrats are not in that space, so it gets put in the “too hard” basket.
Criminal is an interesting one which will come into play increasingly as the industry crumbles further and precedents are set. In all my investigations I have identified clearly criminal conduct at the top. Ormita, IRTA/UC, BBX, Tradeqoin & Qoin as well as Bartercard all have aspects of criminality at the core of the things I’ve shown. Take for example the conmen from Qoin (Rob van Hilten & Edgar Kampers). As I write I am awaiting the fourth report from the Receiver in the Netherlands. He has identified criminality. I can tell you that my blogging proves it and where the evidence can be found. Indeed even the public prosecutor up there in The Netherlands accepted the complaint which means that he can see prime facie evidence of crime. Likewise with my Private Prosecutions of the three Directors of BBX here in New Zealand. The actions of Ron Whitney receiving personal benefit by way of bonuses and income based on fraudulent accounting at Universal Currency was a criminal activity. I’ve also mentioned upcoming criminal charges against a senior Manager within Bartercard New Zealand. But the crooks, crims and the crazies of commercial barter don’t think about legalities when those around them don’t either.
IRTA has serious political issues surrounding Bartercard’s misconduct, and they relate to a conflict of interest when ANY member strays from the straight and narrow. This can be seen best with the knowledge that conman Rob van Hilten from the Qoin/Tradeqoin con was on the Board of IRTA at the same time as I was blogging and showing the world that it was all a big con! The cover-up from the President and CEO of IRTA at the time was incredible (and funny) to watch!
Then revelations that BBX was going down, yet had just been touted by IRTA’s bigshot as a great addition to the IRTA stable of serious trustworthy players. BBX as industry leaders and ethical my a*se! BBX was a proven $6.9m fraud in New Zealand, worse in Australia and a joke around the rest of the world. I proved that even the so-called nice-guy John Attridge’s BBX operation in the UK was short more than a million quid on his own figures in the first couple of years!! What did IRTA do? Cover-up. Their perceived reputation couldn’t take a hit that one of their members was a dodgy operation and going down as we spoke!
IRTA’s situation with Bartercard though is a lot worse than with BBX. First their history goes back years when they bailed out the bankrupted Bartercard USA business using the Universal Currency. What IRTA members don’t really know or understand is that they (through UC) bailed out one of their competitors who totally ripped off the US people! Take that IRTA members. Not only that but the debt was never even touched for years since. In other words IRTA members though their own currency UC is still on the hooks for Bartercard’s bankruptcy in the USA! And that debt grew and grew with no repayment! Hello?
Then Bartercard has one of their staff on the IRTA Board – Paul Bolte, and IRTA gave an endorsement to Bartercard’s Tess software system even before it was fully developed and available for sale. From this situation, think shame, cost, loss and the politics should Bartercard’s huge undisclosed trade deficit become known. IRTA’s political problems when attempting to hold Bartercard to account are insurmountable. Conflicts of Interest or Corruption doesn’t even begin to describe it all.
In recent days I have shown how the rats are leaving the sinking Bartercard ship. That the ship is going down is beyond question. I do not believe that anything can stop it’s progression now to the bottom of the sea.
I know the Bartercard court case in New Zealand intimately and the issue of whether a commercial entity like Bartercard can legitimately establish the value of a private currency “by fiat” will likely be tested in a court environment. I predict that this will, eventually prove to be helpful for others across the globe no matter where it leads. Should a commercial barter company claim that their currency is “worth” on par with a local currency, despite market value being less or the backing unprovable, this will be a big step forward for the little people to step up to the mark and hold crooks like Bartercard to account. Anyone who can prove that the market valuation of the Bartercard currency differs from Bartercard’s claim “by fiat” that it matches the local currency and you have a hornet’s nest that will destroy the host very quickly.
I predict that the authorities will fail to act – it requires hard evidence, a creative and passionate, dedicated person capable of dealing with liars, crooks and funny-money. It’s not a sexy subject and there has been a history of complaints to the authorities about these people over the years.
I predict that IRTA will cover-up as they have done for decades, first turning a blind eye to the Bartercard trade deficit, then doing everything they can to protect one of their own.
Lastly I predict that I will be having a lot of fun over the next couple of years getting the word out as Bartercard in its various iterations goes through its agonising death. A lot of people will be hurt and will lose out as the truth comes out and they realise that the barrel is empty. For those Bartercard members who don’t understand things and think that I’m causing them loss by helping to bring the Bartercard scam into the open, please don’t blame the messenger. I’m simply pushing that which is falling by exposing the facts. The real crooks are the ones that stole your wealth – Bartercard management and the Smiles in Suits.
* Bartercard’s Trade Deficit is undisclosed (off-balance) although referred to in some accounts! Incredibly (from my understanding) GAPP allows this.
** There is one question to which the answer will reveal all . . . Does the Bartercard currency/business have any undisclosed trade deficit. The answer is of course, “Yes!” and the proof of this will require any new Director of ASX:BPS to have an immediate nappy change.