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Commission uncovers new twist to overseas share scams

The Securities Commission says it has found a new version of the overseas share scam business.

Sunday, March 18th 2001, 8:37PM

The Securities Commission is warning investors to keep clear of an outfit called Marlborough Acquisitions Inc as the company appears to be breaching New Zealand law by not complying with the Investment Advisers (Disclosure) Act 1996.

It says the scheme targets people who have sent money to overseas brokers to buy shares.

In most cases these people have been unable to contact the overseas brokers after they have parted with their money.

"In the new approach the apparently US-based firm contacts New Zealand investors inviting them to sell their shares," commission operations manager Norman Miller says.

"The caller claims to be acting for an anonymous person who wants to buy shares in the companies concerned and is willing to pay up to 10 times the original purchase price. "

An "insurance indemnity bond" or other advance fee (about 10% of the promised price) is required to be paid by the seller before the shares can be sold.

A document in the form of a contract and guarantee for the return of the bond follows by fax or mail.

Marlborough Acquisitions invites people to contact a referee, by the name of "Securities and Registration Compliance".

"We are informed that this agency assures the New Zealand caller that the deal and the firm are bona fide," Miller says. "Enquiries undertaken by the commission indicate that this referee is not a regulatory agency. We are also informed that Marlborough Acquisitions Inc is not licensed as a broker-dealer in the United States. "

Miller says one of the main concerns is that the scheme requires people to make an upfront payment.

"In the experience of the commission other schemes with these characteristics may have involved an advance fee fraud.

"We repeat our warnings not to send money overseas to people known only to you by telephone," Miller says.

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