wine-searcher

Wine Name:
Vintage:

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Warning – Lynch & Mullin, LLP – shares in Winex-Ex Inc.







 website record for Lynch & Mullin 
– creation date 18 July 2016


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

I must say that these scams are getting quite sophisticated and it's easy to fall for them. Beware.

Best regards,'

•••

How this advance fee scam works:
As KP says this is quite a sophisticated scam as it involved both setting up a website for a fictitious US law firm by cloning a legitimate American law firm's site and another site that purported to be a US Government securities agency.

Ex-clients of failed wine investment companies – Bordeaux Fine Wines Ltd and Vinance plc so far – are cold called by someone from American 'law firm' Lynch & Mullin,  and told that their wine company has purchased shares – see KP's story above. Staff names to date at Lynch & Mullin are Mark Schratton, James Fischer, Matthew Cohen and Andrew William Marks – probably all false names. 


Compare and contrast 


The scam Lynch & Mullin, LLP site in 'Boston'

 Carr, Morris & Graeff, PC – legitimate US law firm in Virginia and DC
site cloned by Lynch & Mullin  


More cloning ..... Lynch & Mullin above
 Carr, Morris & Graeff, P.C.

 Lynch & Mullin, LLP (scam)

Carr, Morris & Graeff, P.C. – cloned by Lynch & Mullin

Who is? Lynch & Mullin's website 
created 18th July 2016

The investor is told that these 30,000 shares in Winex-Ex Inc. are restricted and are advised to contact the International Securities and Investments Commission (ISIC). They are told that the ISIC is a US government Regulatory, who will make enquiries about removing the restriction. Investors are told that there will be a fee for removing the restriction. Lynch & Mullin send out a share certificate for 30,000 shares in Wine-Ex Inc along with transfer documents. Winex-Ex Inc does not exist, although Google does show a Winex Inc in New Jersey, which was established in 1994 and surely a legitimate company and nothing to do with these scammers.  


Certificate for 30,000 shares in Wine-Ex Inc
 

$150,000 transfer of shares to Lynch & Mullin  






Investor GJ contacted the ISIC and dealt with a Mr. Mark Gibson, International Affairs, and based at 277 Park Avenue, New York NY 10172. Gibson advised that the fees to derestrict the shares are

Option 1 a fee of 25c per share with the restriction removed within 10/14 days. $7500 on 30,000 shares.
Option 2 a fee 30c per share with the restriction removed within 24/48 hours. $9000 on 30,000 shares.
     
Anyone, who sells their 30,000 shares to Lynch & Mullins, will never see their money instead they will have had their wallets thinned by either $7500 or $9000.


International Securities and Investments Commission (ISIC).
Despite its impressive name the International Securities and Investments Commission (ISIC) is a recently created scam. Its website was created on 9th August 2016. The registrant's name is given as Jonathan Richardson, EDF Grande 2, Piso 1, Barcelona, Spain  


The real bona fide US government agency is: 
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission  https://www.sec.gov/

Please note that ISIC has no connection with the Australian Government's ASIC – Australian Securities & Investments Commission. 

Update: 18.8.2016 20.35
It appears that the Lynch & Mullin website has disappeared. As anon pointed out below their website appears to have been a clone of Carr, Morris & Graeff, PC, a legitimate law firm based in Washington DC, whose website was registered in April 1997. 


Sorry the website lynchandmullin.com 
cannot be found 

This is good news but it is very possible that the scammers will just set up another cloned website.  
    
••   


Update: 24th August 2016 
The cloned site is back up but as http://lynchandmullin.net replacing http://lynchandmullin.com peddling a similar scam using shares in Eco Care Global Inc

•••

* The four directors of Vinance Plc have all been disqualified from acting as UK directors. Simon Earl – 10 years and Simon Ford, Paul Ford, Mike Wallen – 9 years each. Details here. In February 2013 Simon Earl and Mike Wallen were jailed for their part in running a brothel and prostitution ring. Details here
 

16 comments:

  1. What directors of vinance are in prison not for fraud they went away for running a brothel and are out now

    ReplyDelete
  2. The website is a direct clone of http://www.cmgpc.com which looks like a legit firm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks anon. Agreed looks like a clone.

      Delete
  3. I just got the same approach, no doubt foolishly gave the caller my current private email address, and received forms to fill in. Does anyone know what the scam is? Is it just to get personal information for identity fraud or do they get a more direct payoff somehow?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melvyn, did they purport to be from Lynch&Mullin or did they already set up another identity?

      I also think this was an advance fee fraud.

      KP

      Delete
    2. It was Lynch & Mullin, LLP. The caller identified himself as Mark Stratton.

      Delete
  4. Melvyn. It is advance fee fraud you pay so much per share to get them 'unlocked' to the website organisers posing as a US Government agency.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I see. Thanks for that. I was wondering because I didn’t see any advance fee requirement on the forms I was sent.

    By the way, another giveaway is that they say that the agreement is governed by the laws of the United States, whereas legitimate US agreements are governed by the laws of a specific state.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I contacted the website registrar to take the site down - so not sure it was the registrar or the scammers who erased the site. I also asked the registrar to report the people who registered the domain to Action Fraud - let's see if that happens.

    KP

    ReplyDelete
  7. KP and Melvyn – in the process of expanding this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim, thanks for the new information. The Spanish link is interesting. I noticed that they used a reference to maps.google.es on the lynchmullins.com website

      KP

      Delete
  8. Similar call received from "Lynch and Mellin" advising I am on EchoTech International's share register and that one of their clients is bidding for them. Potential payout for me if I fill in various forms. Sounds suspect.

    ReplyDelete
  9. More than sounds 'suspect', it is suspect....

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beware the fictitious website for Lynch & Mullin has resurfaced as lynchandmullin.net as of a few days ago. It is still cloning (unashamedly) the reputable site of Carr, Morris & Graeff, P.C.,.
    Some more names to add to the crooks list of Lynch and Mullin are a John Stockwell (who claims to be a Cambridge University graduate)and Chad Richards. Their advertised phone number (Phone: (+1) 8572 633495) also is answered by people claiming to be with Lynch and Mullin.
    They are now peddling a new company in which they claim I had shares, also under my name called ECO CARE GLOBAL INC. This company also has a website http://ecocareglobalinc.com which is so basic with no contact information or company information, just plenty glossy scrolling photos and aimless statements. Lynch and Mullin are also still directing "clients" to International Securities and Investments Commission (ISIC)as your reader highlighted above.
    However the scam mechanics are identical to those described above in relation to Wine-Ex shares, they are just using a different bogus share name.
    I have to admire them in a perverse sort of way for creating a highly sophisticated scam.
    Do not get taken in.
    Regards
    MJF

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just told my mum in law not to have any dealings with Clarkin Butler whose website sprang into existence 19 days ago and who rang her with a similar try-on, looks from domain search to be possibly the same people involved.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just been rung about a similar thing, what happened in your case?

    ReplyDelete