Local Electrical Contracting firm, Straton Electrical, has been fielding calls from irate investors who signed up to a web site called stratoninvestek.co.za. Strong Search Engine Optimisation has ensured that whenever anyone searches on Google or other search engines for the name ‘straton’ (which is the name appearing on fraudulent debit orders) that the Straton businesses appear first in the results.
Unfortunately that also means that ‘investors’ who have been taken by Straton Investek now THINK that Straton Electrical is responsible for the fraudulent debit orders and they have been phoning and demanding their money back. These debit orders were activated on their accounts after providing their banking details on the ‘Straton Investek’ / ‘Stratton Oakmont’ web site in the hope of getting rich quick.
A visit to the stratoninvestek.co.za site reveals a Stratton Oakmont, Inc. logo and the simple exhortation:
Try the 72 hour payout which guarantees you a 50 % interest return in 72 hours!!!
Stratton Prides itself in years of experience in investment management. We have financial plans that will rapidly multiply your wealth.
Now the alarm bells should start ringing as the domain name doesn’t match the company name AND they spell Straton as Stratton.
Have a look at the video to see the poor registration details and appalling spelling.
Gareth Thomas from the Stratlec Group says; “We have received several phone calls over the past few months from people asking us why we have taken money from their accounts. They say that the statement says Straton. Straton is not a very common name and Straton Electrical is the result that Google normally gives them. We do not make use of Debit Orders and have asked them to query these debit orders with their respective banks.”
“Today, after yet another call, we looked to see if any other businesses use Straton in their name. That is when we discovered the stratoninvestek.co.za website. The Domain Registrar information is probably fake, because the physical address that was given is non-existent.”
With reference to Stratton Oakmont. Inc. you will remember the 2013 movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, which is a drama based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, directed by Martin Scorsese. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort and Jonah Hill plays fictional character Donnie Azoff, who is loosely based on Danny Porush.
Stratton Oakmont participated in pump-and-dump schemes, a form of microcap stock fraud that involves artificially inflating the price of an owned stock through false and misleading positive statements, in order to sell the cheaply purchased stock at a higher price. Once the operators of the scheme “dump” their overvalued shares, the price falls and investors lose their money. Stratton Oakmont would also try to maintain the price of a stock by refusing to accept or process orders to sell the stock.
The firm was the subject of numerous disciplinary actions brought by the NASD beginning in 1989. The firm was shut down in December 1996, and in 1999 Belfort and Porush were indicted for securities fraud and money laundering.
Belfort and Porush later pleaded guilty to ten counts of securities fraud and money laundering, admitting that for seven years they operated a scheme in which they manipulated the stock of at least 34 companies. As part of their plea deal, they received less prison time, and cooperated with prosecutors in their investigations of other brokerage houses.
“The stratoninvestek.co.za site is clearly a scam. Apart from the fact that people are losing money, it is also potentially damaging our reputation as a small business,” concluded Thomas.
Editor: Who in their right mind provides their banking details online and doesn’t check the bona fides of the company they are dealing with? PLUS, who in their right mind actually believes that they will receive 50% interest in 72 hours? This has scam and fraud written all over it!
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