When the Norwegian from Eastern Norway was going to make gains in shares of Apple, Tesla and Amazon, he suddenly faced a long list of expensive hurdles.
Financial advisor Wes at Global CTB used a British passport photo to identify himself and gain trust.
Then he called on the Norwegian to invest the savings in what he thought were stocks. Meanwhile, Wes still offers new explanations for why the gain can’t be released.
The Norwegian is in his forties and lives in a town in eastern Norway. E24 has met him several times, but he chooses to keep his name for the sake of those around him and for himself.
A total of $7.3 million was transferred to Global CTB. Wes did not respond to E24’s repeated inquiries. Nor do others in the global CTB.
Norwegian police dropped the man’s case on the same day it was handed over.
Now the Norwegian himself is desperately searching for the culprits through police inquiries in several European countries. He also established contacts with Wes.
“At worst I told them to go to hell,” he says, adding that he told the financial advisor that “one thing is to deceive people, but what you are doing now is killing people.”
Ecocrime: Chances are slim
The police attorney in charge of the relevant police district replies via email to E24 that the case was dropped on July 8.
The aggrieved party was notified of the suspension in a letter dated July 9, 2021. The notification states that the decision can be appealed to the highest prosecution authority and that the deadline for appeal is three weeks after the notification reaches the recipient. The police attorney wrote that the suspension was not appealed.
When asked why it is so difficult to investigate such cases, the police lawyer also referred to Okocream. Senior advisor Andreas Lundy answers:
When dividends are withdrawn from an out-of-state scam, either by a bank or exchanged for cryptocurrency, the chances of seeing the money again are slim. Investigations that cross national borders and jurisdictions also require a lot of time and resources.
Lunde adds that Økokrim wants to receive advice and reviews in order to know the extent of the problem, see links, and do effective preventative work.
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The cat is out of the bag
During the summer of 2021, it dawned on the Norwegian that the savings, insurance premiums he was carrying, loans he took from family and friends to meet contrived requirements – everything was passed on to the crooks.
The Norwegian was convinced by the trustworthy and resourceful Wes that he invested in, and earned a lot, in stocks like Apple, Tesla and Amazon, he said.
But the money doesn’t come back into the account, even as much as the financial advisor assures it’s about to happen.
Over the past summer, those around him started asking how things went with the investments.
– Then I explained the situation to a friend, over a cup of coffee. That’s when I start letting the cat out of the bag. He understands this is violent, and helps me establish some connection with my loved ones about what happened, he says.
Part of the stats
The Norwegian tells his story to E24 for two reasons: to warn others, to show how they have been deceived, and to shed light on a societal problem.
At the same time, he still has hope that the spotlight on the company that destroyed him, Global CTB, can open its doors to get the money back.
According to Okokrim, this type of fraud happens to many. Okokrim’s 2020 Threat Assessment indicates that 725 DNB clients were subjected to investment fraud in 2019, with a potential loss of nearly NOK 200 million.
In the previous year, the number was 469 DNB customers who abused.
“During the Corona pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of investment fraud cases, especially via fake trading platforms,” the police wrote in this year’s threat assessment, which will be published after Easter.
Now the Norwegian in his forties is part of the stats.
In an effort to get Global CTB to answer the questions, E24 attempted to call through nine different phone numbers registered in six countries.
Five of the numbers have been deactivated, and the other calls remain unanswered.
Emails to a number of addresses the company uses did not result in a response from Global CTB either.
In the fall of 2020, the Norwegian contacted Global CTB for the first time. Then he was looking to invest money from an insurance major.
So I sat and thought, because I had heard a little bit about the cryptocurrency market and everything, and I was very curious and impulsive, so I checked online and talked to some people and got some names, and I finally came across this company.
Global CTB staff welcomed him with open arms, viewing a series of emails, phone calls and messages on WhatsApp that were shared with E24.
The presentations he received were completed, and the analyzes appeared to be thorough.
The opportunity given to the Norwegian was to invest in well-known and well-established stocks in large quantities. CTB Global explained that for resource reasons they did not have a license as a financial company, and that the investments would be made through the “stable” cryptocurrency Tether (USDT).
– It was really tragic, at that moment, because I could have gone to DNB Markets instead, but it was an impulsive act, based on the fact that he was so professional and thorough, he says, calling what he was exposed to approximating brainwashing.
He maintains that financial advisors did not promise high returns or incredible opportunities. It was about sober and risk-aware choices, that was the impression he made on him.
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I should have gone through bitcoin
He explains that Norway’s first investment in Global CTB was a suite of Apple stock solutions.
Across the company’s professional-looking platform, he’s been able to track the share rise, and thus his own money, beyond the fall of 2020.
At this point, he didn’t know that he could no longer access his money. Therefore, he also joined many other investments until Christmas in the same year, both in shares of well-known large companies and in Bitcoin.
In the new year of 2021, warnings against the CTBT began to emerge. Finanstilsynet transfers information from the Netherlands as follows:
“The Dutch financial watchdog warns consumers against responding to offers from Global CTB. This company is a suspected “boiler room”. Global CTB contacted people without asking them, to offer investments ».
“Boiler rooms” are unregulated businesses that conduct phone sales of financial products without authorization from the authorities.
UK Financial Services Authority, FCA, She now has a separate page about Global CTB:
“We believe this firm is providing financial advice or financial products in the UK without our permission,” they wrote.
To E24, supervisory advisor Jo Singstad confirms that Finanstilsynet has received inquiries about Global CTB from several affected Norwegians.
Singstad explains that for this type of foreign player, it is the authorities in the home country that should follow through on the action. Finanstilsynet will not comment on the number of Norwegians defrauded, or the size of the amounts.
Make a fake margin loan
After several rally in stocks such as Apple, Tesla and Amazon, as well as other investment vehicles, the Norwegian has been given a new opportunity. He was due to join the stock exchange’s listings, and Wes’ colleague was contacted.
“Albert” pretended to be an American, and explained that one had to enter in relatively large sums to be included in the lists.
The Norwegian told E24 that two of the IPOs “go well”. However, the latest and biggest Alphabet-backed Oscar Health program met with opposition when the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange on March 4 last year.
According to Wes and Albert, he’s now in trouble. They advised the Norwegian what is called hedging to get value.
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– This made me desperate, and I began to look at how to achieve it. That’s when I started getting friends and family involved.
During the hedging period, he was offered a margin loan to buy back the shares, which now had to be repaid. In addition, they suddenly had to report on new tax regimes from US President Joe Biden, which amounted to six figures in dollars.
The Norwegian got help from friends and family to put the sums together, all based on the belief that the big money would pay off once the formalities were implemented. Furthermore, the scammers demanded $56,000 in commission fees. Then she said stop.
– This is where we stand today. But all the way up to the point where you will start making money, they are very professional.
50 million annually
– It’s as tragic as possible. Of course, I was very stupid in my choices and acted as I did, never looking back at anything, he says.
After it became clear to him that he had been cheated, all the Norwegian’s waking hours agreed to try to recover what he had lost.
– I think I decided to do it until I lay in the grave. If I can’t save myself, I do everything I can to focus on this. I can’t accept the idea that we should live in a society where business here should be allowed to grow and grow, he says.
It started with the police report that was dropped after 24 hours. He has also tried to get help from Finanstilsynet, the Ministry of Finance and Okokrim, who sent the Norwegian case documents without actually investigating the case.
In 2020, Okocrem estimated that Norwegians send about NOK 50 million annually to various investment scams. The number comes from open blockchain data.
Ecocrime describes the chances of getting your money back from such scams as very small.
In his attempts to get his investment back, the Norwegian was in contact with several representatives who promised they could help him.
It cannot be trusted, he warns Ecocrime on their website. Because scammers often pretend to be companies that specialize in recovering money lost from these investment scams.
The double effect is that people become blind out of desperation, he says.
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