Agoracom Blog

AGORACOM CEO ALERT! Canadian Small-Cap Financing Scam Discovered

Posted by AGORACOM at 2:35 PM on Monday, March 31st, 2008

The following is an actual alert generated by AGORACOM for Canadian Small-Cap CEO’s. It is not a prank. Please read the message below and pass it on to colleagues. We have uncovered a financing scam taking place in Toronto, which may very well be taking place in other Canadian cities as well.

It has come to our attention that at least 8 Canadian Small-Cap CEO’s in the resources sector have become actual or potential victims of a scam.  There are probably many more, as response to this alert grows everyday.


CEO’s are contacted under the auspices of a massive financing from a private high-net worth investor that wished to remain anonymous until meeting with the company in person.

A meeting is arranged at the Exchange Tower (or 20 Bay Street), where each of the CEO’s were taken to an unmarked suite. The “investor” suffers some kind of a mishap at the last second and can not attend the meeting. In the meantime, attendees of the meeting are engaged in a poker game and invite the client to sit down and play a high-stakes poker game.

CEO’s that refuse to participate are faced with high-pressure tactics to coerce their participation. Without being specific, we can verify that over $30,000 has been scammed so far.

We do not believe this is a coincidence and are now warning all of our clients and colleagues to stay away from any such invitation to meet undisclosed investors at the Exchange Tower, 20 Bay Street or any other location. If an investor is serious about financing your company, ask them to meet at your offices.

This is not unique to AGORACOM clients, nor do we believe it is unique to Toronto. As such, please forward this message to all of your colleagues and peers as soon as possible, including media contacts. We need to get this message out as fast as possible.

If you have been a victim of this scam, please advise us as soon as possible, as we are considering the involvement of the RCMP.

UPDATE: We received numerous phone calls from clients and non-clients within minutes of sending out the message. Here are the highlights:

  • It looks like 20 Bay Street is now another location being used by the scammers.
  • One person remembers a similar scam taking place years ago but can’t believe they have the guts to pull it off in the Exchange Tower today.
  • Another CEO advised the scammers that he was bringing along his IR person to the meeting. The scammers asked him to come alone but the CEO insisted. The scammers canceled the meeting the next day.
  • Another CEO was propositioned but advised he did not require financing at this time.
  • Another CEO accepted the invitation and met with the group. The meeting took place at 20 Bay Street. Walked into the room and a game was taking place with $100 bills in a suitcase on top of the table. While they waited for the investor, the scammer that arranged the meeting joined the table and began playing. Within a couple of minutes he received a phone call and asked the CEO to “play my hand”. CEO said he didn’t want to be responsible for his money. Scammer said “no problem”. Within 10 minutes he was up $1,000. The scammer came back to the room and thanked the CEO. Gave him $500 as a “thank-you” and asked him to play along with them. Within a few hands, CEO was up $1,500. CEO got up to leave as he knew something was up. They asked him to play a couple of more hands. Next hand he was dealt a full-house. Rules of the game required holder of pairs to double the pot. He now knew this was a scam and folded his hand, giving back the entire $1,500. They offered to give him IOU but he left quickly. He had won 80% of the hands until that point.

UPDATE #2: Just received e-mail from a CEO that was contemplating meeting with the scammers on Wednesday. Now that he knows who they are, he cancelled. Have to love the speed of Web 2.0!

UPDATE #3: Just received another call from someone that received a call from the scammers. Looks like they are still going strong.


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