NABA Clarifies Merchant Barter Exchange Fraud Investigation - Apologizes for confusion created by MB
Added: (Tue Oct 10 2006)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
(New York) In an effort to clarify some confusion relating to a recent nation-wide investigation of barter fraud, NABA executive director Nathan Forbes today confirmed that neither Midwest Barter Exchange nor Midwest Business Exchange are NOT the subject of any investigation, frauds, nor complaints as some people may have wrongly surmised. “The MBE Gang” we have been investigating is a group of what we believe to be professional gypsy con artists operating in various temporary offices in Morristown, NJ, Mt. Pocono, PA, and Manhattan, NY, and is not in any way affiliated to Midwest Barter Exchange which was recently named as one of the ten best barter exchanges in North America”. NABA investigator Dan Church explained. “We apologize for any confusion created, and we want to assure our nation’s merchants that both state and federal investigators are on the trail of the real perpetrators” added Forbes.
With a further warning, Church advises merchants to beware of anyone asking you to send merchandise or money to any of the below addresses used by the thieves:
55 Madison Avenue, Morristown, NJ
400 Park Avenue, New York, NY
4 Fork Street, Mt. Pocono, PA
Two men and a women using a variety of bogus names were last known to be going by the names of Kyle Lang, Seth Lang, Steve Bowles, Robert Bowles, Chris Mitchell, Marty and Kim. 17 different 800 numbers have been utilized by the group in the last two years and several calls were traced back to a 973-285-3363 and others to 973-476-1159 but these two numbers proved to be pre-paid cell phones registered to non-existent people. 112 merchants from Miami to Vancouver have lost over $4.8 million in the last year to the MBE Gang which uses five different scams to exploit small business owners according to Church as follows;
1)They sell exclusive barter exchange “franchises” to unwary investors for anywhere from $50K to $300K and even offer to “finance half the purchase”.
2)They “trade” X amount of merchandise for 3X of worthless “trade credits”.
3)They’ll actually transact a legitimate barter transaction just to get a company’s banking, credit card, and checking account information, and then hit those accounts a month or two later for tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized purchases.
4)They’ll purchase unsold inventory worth thousands with post-dated checks that inevitably bounce.
5)Once they locate valuable merchandise in a warehouse or shipping containers they then hire thieves to steal the merchandise.
If merchants are approached by anyone fitting the above descriptions, they are urged to Call Dan Church or Davis Stryzinski at the North American Barter Association at 1-800-917-2588.