Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 19 August 2016

Warning – Lynch & Mullin, LLP – shares in Winex-Ex advance fee fraud

Very recently in a most useful message from KP, an investor in collapsed Vinance PLC, a scam wine investment company. An impressive piece of research by KP. Two investors with closed Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd have also been contacted this month offering the exactly same share scam. 

'Dear Jim,

I wanted to warn the readers of your blog about a new scam going on:

Today I received a cold call from a chap called "Mark Schratton" from a "law firm" called Lynch & Mullin, LLP from Boston, Massachusetts.

The story made kind of sense: "You invested in Vinance PLC some time ago, it looks like those unscrupulous owners who are now all in prison* purchased shares in a company called Winex Inc. and put your name as a shareholder without you knowing as a means of routing/ stashing their investor money. As it turns out, you're in luck because you're now owner of 30,000 shares which our client is looking to buy".

I did invest in Vinance PLC, lost money on it and yes the management of that company is now in prison (or at least some of them). The chap had my contact details, my name, phone number and email. I checked the law firm's website - basic but otherwise well respectable.

Then "his colleague" sends me legal documentation advising me that I own 30,000 shares at $5 each and asks me to fill in my contact and bank details as soon as possible (best today). All looking very legit and professional.
I asked to see my share certificate - and they even produced that.

A few issues with the master plan:

  1. Lynch & Mullin LLP does not exist - there's no mention of them in the Massachusetts commercial registry
  2. Their website was only registered a month ago
  3. There are no legal articles with this firm's name anywhere to be found (Google, Law360...)
  4. They managed to produce a share certificate "from the registration authorities" (which they did not originally have) within 1 hour
  5. Winex-Ex Inc does not exist - there's no mention of them in the Nevada commercial registry (Nevada as per my "share certificate")
  6. In the legal documentation they mention some bogus government agency - the website mentioned in the document is empty (just registered). When asked about it "Mark" provided a different address which was registered only a week ago with apparently the intent for people to contact them to verify that Lynch & Mullin is an actual firm.
  7. The servers of this "US govt agency" are hosted in France... hmmm

Full details on investdrinks' blog

1 comment:

Bob Rossi said...

What a ham-handed attempt at a scam. It didn't take me long to determine that there's no such law firm. Something like that is so easy to check, and immediately indicates that it's all a scam, no matter how they tried to make it look legit.