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Q: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   8 Comments )
Subject: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: tonyspeller-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 10 Sep 2006 10:08 PDT
Expires: 10 Oct 2006 10:08 PDT
Question ID: 763907
first of all, i live in tokyo, where i recently relocated to. 
so, a little over a month ago, i saw an ad on craigslist (tokyo page)
a job listing for a music critic with a

hong kong company, with connections to major record labels. i inquired
into it, but after a couple short

instant message conversations with the hiring manager, i found out
that they had already filled the position.

however, i was placed on their list of potential future employees. 
a few days ago, i was contacted again, and told that they had an
opening again, which i accepted. everything

seems fine so far, but i have some reservations: 
when searching for the company name, or the contact email address on
google, i get zero results. this is easily

explainable by the fact that they're a new, small company, and they
don't have any staff that can code web

pages. but there are a few other things that keep bothering me.
therefore, instead of judging this company

based on their (non-existant) record, i'd like to figure out whether
they're legitimate based on their business

i was informed, throught instant messaging on skype, by the only
contact i have at that company, that, as a

music critic, i would need to buy high quality speakers, a laptop,
etc. but the company would buy the

equipment. the most convenient way to transfer money in japan is
through a direct bank account to account

transfer, and this method is used quite frequently. google even
provides their account number to make payments

for adwords accounts. so i didn't think it was unusual to give my
account number to them, as they aren't able

to take money from an account just by knowing the account number. a
couple days later, i got a large payment

(around a thousand dollars) in my account. the thing is, it wasn't
from one source; it was from 8 different

people in japan. that raised my suspicions a bit, but it was explained
as coming from various customers of the

company, and since it would incurr large fees (if it's even possible)
to transfer money in that fashion

internationally, the company had their japanese customers transfer
their outstanding balances to a colleague

within japan, rather than pay to transfer it to hong kong, and pay
again to transfer it back to japan again.
of course, though, i couldn't help but think that maybe these people
who sent me money were tricked into it

somehow, and that i would maybe be required to send the funds on back
to him/the company. when i expressed my

reservations to my contact at the company, he told me that i could
withdraw at any time. i just needed to

return the money to each of the people who sent it to me. not to him
or to the company. if he were really

scamming these people, why would he want to un-scam them by returning the money? 
so now, i'm waiting for materials to arrive in the mail that will
hopefully help me to understand exactly what,

in detail, the company does to make money, and what my role will be in
it (i was assured that the materials are

on their way). i've tried to get more specific information, but they
seem to be extremely busy lately, and also

their english is less than perfect, so it's a little bit difficult to
communicate clearly. but what i "know"

from our conversations so far is the following: 

*i will need to use the money that they've sent to buy equipment that
logically seems that a music critic would

need (good quality speakers, possibly a new sound card for my computer, etc) 
*i will be instructed in the proper method of testing my sound card,
speakers, and other audio systems to make

sure that i have a good enough set up to accurately critique music. 
*i will meet up with an EMI professor, who is currently traveling
around major cities in china, here in tokyo

sometime soon (i have no reason to either believe or disbelieve this). 
*i'll also be buying a (yet to be specified) bunch of books (to either
review as well, or maybe just ship back

to hong kong? i'm not sure). 

normally, the number of suspicious things, along with the company's
inability to explain them would chase me

away quickly. but i don't understand how they could be defrauding me
by sending me large amounts of money

without asking me to send it back to them (and indeed, asking that i
spend it on equipment for myself!). over

the weekend, they told me just to rest and prepare for work next week. 
the conclusion that i've drawn is that they are a new and poorly
organized company, but most likely not trying

to scam me. however, if you have an idea how this could be fake, i'd
love to hear it. i can't afford to get in

trouble here in japan, as i'd probably get deported, and my in-laws
would most likely also be stuck with a giant

bill. thank you for you opinion!

Request for Question Clarification by answerfinder-ga on 10 Sep 2006 23:38 PDT
Dear tonyspeller-ga,

I saw this last night but it was locked by the editors. Overnight (for
me) you have already been given some good advice. From what you say so
far, this sounds like a money laundering operation, or an employment
scam in which you will be required to send them some of the money.

In my experience no company would send you money from its other
customers. What do they know about you? How can they trust you? Why
fund you to buy the equipment when you were supposed to buy it

I shall find some examples of this fraud for you. In the meantime, can
you provide me with the company?s name? I can tell you whether it is
properly registered in Hong Kong.

This sounds like something you should extricate yourself from.


Request for Question Clarification by answerfinder-ga on 10 Sep 2006 23:54 PDT

Here's some examples. But remember there are all types of variations
of this fraud. See if they fit into your situation.
Section on Money-Laundering Scams
Section on Payment Transfer Scams and How They Operate

Once again, details of the company will help me ascertain if it is genuine.


Clarification of Question by tonyspeller-ga on 12 Sep 2006 09:32 PDT
the name that they told me was EMI-Kaman Music. by the way, when
searching for my contact person's email address, i came upon this
it's an ad for pretty much the same "job" in japanese, except the name
of the company is listed as TTL yugen gaisha (=TTL limited), and they
have an address in tokyo.
Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
Answered By: answerfinder-ga on 12 Sep 2006 10:23 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear tonyspeller-ga,

Thank you for the additional information. I was unable to proceed with
the Japanese page you gave me as I believe that their company registry
is not available online. In any event, the language barrier stops me.

I did, however, search the Hong Kong company registry and there is no
company registered in the name EMI-Kaman Music.

There are a number of companies staring with E.M.I.. including EMI
PUBLISHING (SOUTH EAST ASIA) LIMITED, but none with Kaman in the name.

I also tried Kaman Music and found that there were a number of
companies starting with Kaman or Ka Man, but none had the word Music
in their registered name.

The registry can be accessed through this link. There is also a
director name search available should you wish to check up an
individuals? names.

I note there is a Kaman Music Corporation in the States. I have
checked their Hong Kong representative and they do not go by the name
you have supplied.

I also searched EMI corporate pages and their Hong Kong site and could
find no refence to the company by its full name, nor the name Kaman.

If you have no further information, it is still my view that this is a
very dubious transaction and you should extricate yourself from them
and consider how best to remove the money from your account.

Please do come back to me if you have any questions or further
information. I shall respond to the clarification request as soon as I
receive it.
Thank you
tonyspeller-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: sonoritygenius-ga on 10 Sep 2006 12:24 PDT
Keep the money. Change account #

Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: murunbuchstansinger-ga on 10 Sep 2006 13:37 PDT
Sound like a layering operation in money laundering to me.

Report this to the police or appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

If you were in the UK, you would risk a 7 year jail sentence simply by
not reporting this matter to the authorities.  Goodness knows what
would happen in Japan.

Report it to the authorities.
Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: myoarin-ga on 10 Sep 2006 13:41 PDT
I think you are right, it does sound suspicious.  Why would a HK
company need a music critic?  Especially if it is dealing with major
record labels?

Why would a small and new company  - if that is what it is -  need two
music critics, and set up a waiting list?

There are scams that seek people to take deposits by check and ask
them to transfer the money on, but then the checks bounce after the
people have passed on the money  - their own money.  Your story
doesn't quite agree with this, but it is still very, very strange that
you would receive money from eight different Japanese sources as a
consequence of having spoken with a HK company, if it really was one.

If you are not being set up for a scam, would you still want to work
with a company whose activities are so opaque (as opposed to
I wouldn't.

This is a free comment.  Your question was originally locked because
the word "google" appeared in it.

Also, the email notification system is defunct, so please check back
by yourself to see if there have been postings to your question.
Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: durangoskier-ga on 10 Sep 2006 17:51 PDT
This is DEFINITELY a "symbiotic layering scheme" and is practiced in
Japan and other countries on unsuspecting "Americans."  The advice to
contact the authorities is good - do it.  This is only advice - I am
not a certified answerer.
Good luck.
Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: probonopublico-ga on 10 Sep 2006 21:16 PDT
Hi, durangoskier-ga 

I've never herad of a "symbiotic layering scheme" ...

I guess I can look it up but if you can explain it would be great!

Many thanks!

Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: kemlo-ga on 11 Sep 2006 09:32 PDT
Google has not heard of it either

Your search - "symbiotic layering scheme" - did not match any documents.

Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: myoarin-ga on 11 Sep 2006 09:51 PDT
The best example of a symbiotic layering scheme is Sachertorte.

Baumkuchen is perhaps a more sophisticate process, but I like Sachertorte better.

I was assuming you, Bryan, know what a Sachertorte is, but for the
less wordly wise:

Subject: Re: to AnswerFinder; possible fraud?
From: probonopublico-ga on 12 Sep 2006 12:03 PDT
Many thanks, Myo ...

I'll follow your leads tomorrow ...

I don't know what I would do without you.



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