International fraudsters with a history of share scamming estimated to have netted at over £1billion have been secretly funding a British football club with the proceeds of their illegal activities.
Two directors have been accused of making a hurried departure. But today in a joint statement the man and wife team referred to ‘ a very small group of individuals’ who ‘ have sought to bully and intimidate us by making completely false allegations and innuendos against us through the convenience of social media.’
At the centre of the controversy is Crawley Town Football Club – sponsored by CheckaTrade – where reputation matters.
|Susan and Ian Carter with Mayor of Crawley on a roll after cash injection to club – public source|
A poster to the site who was accused however stated in reply:
“The clear weight of both documentary & anecdotal evidence actually gives far greater credence to the theory that:“As the vultures start to circle the club, the Carters have quietly & cowardly scarpered and left a sap in the hot seat”
There appears to be little doubt that cash into the club has been coming from the bosses of ‘boiler operations’ in the Far East; from scammers who have been targeting the pensions of Britons in the UK.
|Paul Hayward , left and Mickey Doherty,right, bask in glory at Crawley as the ‘new owners’|
And now it looks as if the Football League may be asked to step into investigate the affairs of the club which, it is alleged, started receiving laundered money in 2011 the year it made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup before facing and losing to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
After an initial spurt the club has now however been relegated to Football League 2.
The matter however should be of much more interest to the City of London Fraud Squad or the National Crime Agency. Both have had complaints relating to the scammers dating back years.
The plan by ‘boiler room’ scammers* in the Far East led by a Birmingham man Paul John Hayward, aka Paul Hilton, aka, Hong Kong Paul, based out of Bangkok and a major player in the city’s sex trade, was, perhaps, to build up the club and push it up to the Premier League.
But the secret real owners of the club did not want to undergo Football League ‘fit and proper person’ scrutiny saying they wanted to remain low profile.
With the new influx of cash in 2011 the then club manager Steve Evans signed up 23 over a six-month period including Matt Tubbs, for £70,000, Sergio Torres for a record £100,000 and Richard Brodie for an undisclosed but reported fee estimated at £275,000.
One senior member of Crawley FC who threatened to blow the whistle on the conspiracy is reported to have changed his mind after being show photographs of himself in Bangkok in a situation which he would not like his family to have seen.
It is estimated that each year money laundered from the Far East has paid for all the players’ salaries – and more. Expenditure however still exceeds more income and their club needs more cash from the Orient or from a sale to avoid going into administration – something which has happened twice before.
|The now defunct website for the Eclipse Group|
But the cash has been coming from a company called Eclipse Management, based in Bangkok with a parent company in Hong Kong which manages restaurants and night clubs which it had been buying up at a tremendous rate. This maybe because cash for scams was coming in at US$2-3million a month, according to an ex-employee.
And Hayward, the man behind Eclipse, is one of the major kings of ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ scams running out of South East Asia. According to sources this week potential ‘suckers’ in Britain are being currently targeted to invest in at least two scams.
Eclipse Management, is nominally headed by Mickey Doherty, a former Hong Kong bar manager.
In most countries they would have difficulty accounting for the money flow both in and out.
Haywood arrived in Bangkok in his early twenties to work the phones for American scammers. His persuasive telephone manner led to a meteoric rise to ‘top loader’ in a very short space of time.
#PaulHayward is also the man behind the Nana Group, a company which holds the master lease on Bangkok’s busiest sex tourist complex – known as the Nana Entertainment Plaza – a square of lady boy and a-go-go bars with adjoining ‘short time rooms’ for sexual liaisons with prostitutes.
The lease was purchased from a Bangkok hotel, manufacturing and property company called the FICO Corporation at over £14million. Hayward claims that he got a bank loan from CIMB bank for this venture – and has had to force sub contractors to put up the prices of drinks and, bar fines (taking a prostitute out of the bar) to pay it back.
Hayward has boasted the perfect crime and that the City Fraud Squad could never catch him because: ‘I do not even have a bank account’.
He tells his minions the familiar boiler room defence : “If people are prepared to pay cash to someone they have only spoken to over the phone they deserve to lose it.”
But a group known as the Confederation of Defrauded Victims (CDV), representing some 90 people who between them have lost about US$20 million are currently in dialogue with the banks who allowed the scammers to set up accounts with them to defraud investors from the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, several countries in Asia, and the United States.
Some banks are currently co-operating but not HSBC, says the CDV, which was the banker for many boiler room frauds.
The CDV has put out an internet warning on HSBC saying the bank ignored KYC (know your customer) and FATF (Financial Action Task Force) recommendations claiming the bank laundered money for a series of boiler rooms in which Hayward and his colleagues were involved – including scams carried out selling Tlway Texco shares and other fraudulent offerings and using vo’s (virtual offices) pretending to be financial trading companies called Masahiro International, Jameson West Associates Ltd., Warner Beck Inc., McBain Baxter Holdings Ltd. and Carver Brooks Associates.
The CDV points out that none of the boiler rooms could have operated without the co-operation of international banks.
Hayward himself is now estimated to be personally worth US$100m-200m – and company checks in Thailand show more than 100 companies linked to him and his colleagues via Thai nominees, including wives and girlfriends.
|Mat Turner (left) of Creative Pod)|
The transfer of shares by Susan and Ian Carter, who run a small airfreight company – World Transshipment Services – to Matt Turner the boss of a local public relations and IT company Creative Pod, mean that Turner and the clubs chairman David Pottinger now control the club’s shares.
Pottinger, chairman of the club has much closer links to Hong Kong Paul, or Paul Hilton, as he was referred to in a story in the Guardian, and they have met on their international travels.
Below Pottinger is pictured with Stephen Hayward – the father of Paul Hayward in Singapore.
|Paul Hayward’s father ran the Dubliner in Hong Kong, while Jon Kealy, of Brinton group notoriety runs the
Dubliner in Bangkok.
Recently Hayward has made moves to sell his ‘interest’, perhaps alerted that there has been a leak about his ownership. The club has been touting for new investors.
|Hayward left – Doherty right at the club|
But if the Football Association does its homework it’s possible that interested parties would be able to pick the club up for a song.
And a spokesman for the CDV said: “If the Football Association were to undertake a serious investigation we would be more than prepared to show them our files on Hayward.’
Hayward’s ‘ace up his sleeve’ is that despite his reluctance he might pass a ‘fit and proper person test’ because he has never been convicted of any criminal offence. This is almost certainly due to the fact that since a young age he has always lived in countries where the police have been pliable and run their own rackets.
Thai police rarely investigate foreigner on foreigner fraud – and never against a victim overseas.
|Paul Hayward – Thai Immigation foto|
Hayward arrived in Thailand 15 years ago when he was only 25 years old and worked as a ‘loader’ for the Brinton Group – a boiler room run by Irishman John Kealy – which was closed down in raids by the Thai police prompted by requests from the Australian Federal Police and FBI in 2001.
He also worked as an opener for a company called Foreign Currency International before a meteoric rise to become one of the partners in Premium Placements – a boiler room run by what become known as the Bangkok ‘Big Five’.
The other four members were Glendon Bullard, from Georgia, U.S. whose brother in law is the titular Managing Director of the Nana Group and who himself became President of the Thailand branch of the Bandidos motorcycle gang and Americans Mark Hutcherson, Jack Prather and Paul Richard Bell.
Hutcherson, Bell, and Bullard are all now reported to be dead – Bullard, a heavy cocaine user, died in Pai in Mae Hong Son Province of Thailand in March.
His home in Chiang Mai had been raided last year by the Thai Police Crime Suppression Division at the request of the US Drug Enforcement Administration but nothing was found.
The notoriously corrupt CSD was virtually closed down last year with some 80 per cent of its officers transferred as a result of corruption allegations. The Lt.Colonel responsible for the raid on Bullard’s Chiang Mai home later died while co-operating with investigator – after falling ‘from a height’.
Hutcherson was reported (unconfirmed) to have died in a shooting incident, perhaps self inflicted, in the United States last week and Bell succumbed last year to heart trouble. He was buried in Texas on July 11 according to a funeral services report.
In all boiler room raids in Thailand while the Royal Thai Police appeared to be co-operating, none of the bosses have been charged with any serious criminal offences while the young people manning the phones were fined and deported for working without visa. Further, one boiler room boss (Frank Giannini) walked off charges of killing two Thais in an accident while under the influence of drugs which were found in his car.
Many openers and loaders in the Brinton Group came back on the next plane.
|Raid on Brinton Group in Bangkok – FBI officer in foreground (Pic A Chant)|
The Brinton raid, which were billed as a ‘triumph of international police co-operation’ – was in fact totally ineffectual and not a penny was recovered.
Kealy and his team faced charges bought by the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission with trading in shares while not registered to do so – and they quickly paid off their fines of about US$10,000 each, while draining the Hong Kong banks, which were holding their stashes and moving the cash elsewhere. The Brinton Group had been targeting Australian investors.
But Hayward as a star ‘loader’, a person delegated to ensure clients keep putting more and more cash in, was soon hitting Britain with a company called Jackson Cole getting people to invest in a company called Secure Tee.
He is credited with making some US$80 million out of that scam – less his payroll and expense and there was no looking back.
Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Squad were given a list of all the victims which had been stolen from Hayward’s office by two American-Thai brothers James and John McCleary – but no action was taken – and of course SOCA has now been replaced by the National Crime Agency.
The McCleary brothers were later jailed along with two police officers for the kidnap of American Mark Hutcherson, a partner-in-crime of Hayward. They claimed they were innocent and merely reporting the boiler room, run by Hayward and Hutcherson to police – while police decided to make some extra cash.
BELOW – Part of an ABC Four Corners report on the Brinton Group
Another person who also tipped off police in Thailand about Hayward’s activities in Thonglor, Bangkok, Canadian Stephen Sharpe, was forced to flee to Manila – where the boiler room operators had a similar number of scams running.
He was subsequently set up on drugs and rape charges but was released after an investigation by the Philippines National Commission on Human Rights and having spent four years in jail has, He has now returned to his family home near Toronto.He wrote a document on Hayward called ‘The Painted Picture’ before his arrested,
And with regards to Foreign Currency International, a New Zealander, Ian Travis, who broke ranks and tried to steal clients, was gunned down in the centre of Bangkok while driving his BMW.
Nobody was ever taken to court for the murder. Although the boiler room boss Jim Muller was actually extradited to stand trial for it with three Thais – they never did.
Tipping off police in Thailand and the Philippines on boiler room operations is a dangerous business as the cases of McClearys and Sharpe demonstrate.
|Steven Sharpe aka Burt|
The Nana Group security force is comprised almost entirely of off duty policeman from Lumpini Police Station in Bangkok and Hayward can also call upon a 3 star army general as his protector, according to the CDV.
A spokesman for the CDV which runs a website exposing frauds based out of Bangkok said his group approached the General in question through a third party and were merely told that he would not consider changing his position unless they could increase the offer.
Hayward has closed down most, but not all, of his operations in Thailand which were located in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya, and he has already been thrown out of Cambodia, but evidence suggests that, even though he does not have to work again, boiler room scams are still operating under his name in the Philippines and Indonesia – both of which have a corruption rating higher than Thailand.
The closing and opening of rooms and switching from the Philippines to Thailand, to Malaysia, to Indonesia and even Bucharest is quite common. The operators use VOIP lines.
Whatever the FA decide, were it to investigate, is almost immaterial set against a background of massive international fraud. The cleaning up of a small football club pales into insignifance. Boilr room cash could buy a small country.
What is significant is that Hayward allowed his vanity to get the better of him by wanting to control a football club.
A spokesman for the Gotelee solicitors of Ipswich who represent Hayward said that their client denied all allegations that he was involved in boiler room share scamming and intended to issue a writ unless all references to him were removed and an apology given.. Mr. Hayward was a businessman in the property lease, restaurant and nightclub business, Gotelee stated.
If the allegations were not with drawn ‘our client will have no option but to issue proceedings’.
And finally here’s a very good film by an Aussie Keith Jones, who unwittingly invested in a boiler room scam operating out of the Northern Thai capital of Chiang Mai. He made the film to help himself through his ordeal. He finally tracked down a boiler room ‘cooler’ called Edward Martin, aka Ian Beck.