Investor Alert: INTERNATIONAL DERIVATIVES GROUP & VALIANT MARKETS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2020
INVESTOR ALERT: INTERNATIONAL DERIVATIVES GROUP & VALIANT MARKETS
Rural Manitoban loses over half a million to investment fraud
Winnipeg - The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is issuing an investor alert on International Derivatives Group and Valiant Markets, an offshore forex trading scheme, following a complaint by a rural Manitoba man who has lost more than $550,000.
The company, purportedly based in Toronto, contacted the victim in August 2019 via a so-called ‘managing director’ under the name Michael Porter. Over several weeks, the victim was persuaded to make an initial investment of $7,000 in gold and Bitcoin. Within two months, the victim was lead by the company to believe his investments ‘had doubled’ in value, and pressured into making larger investments.
“Porter told me very specifically that he didn’t get paid unless I made money,” says the victim, a Manitoba business man in his early 50s, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It didn’t seem like he was out for a money grab since he would only profit if I did. He said I could double my money. It seemed like a good investment.”
An ‘online account’ was provided to the victim to monitor his investments via another company called Valiant Markets. It is unclear who conducted all of the ‘trading’ on his behalf, the victim was not involved in any of the investment decisions and/or trades. By Christmas 2019, the victim had invested approximately $93,000 and was pressured to invest an additional $140,000. In February, he invested an additional $350,000. All of the funds were sent via credit card and bank transfers.
The Valiant account statements portrayed trading information and profits allegedly made on behalf of the victim , luring him to believe his investments were paying off. At one point, the victim requested to withdraw $35,000 from his ‘account,’ which was allowed, but this is a common tactic used by fraudsters to establish trust. Porter then claimed that complications due to the COVID pandemic were the reason more money could not be withdrawn from the account, but that he should continue to invest more.
“What has happened to this victim is consistent with scams we have seen over the years,” says Jason Roy, Senior Investigator with the MSC. “Often, they allow small amounts of money to be returned to lure the victim into a false sense of security – the impression that your money can be accessed at any time. Of course, it’s all a lie. The trading, the profits, it’s all fictitious. The investor may not realize there’s a problem until they attempt to withdraw larger sums.”
“I’m going to be starting again from square one,” says the victim. “My business account is empty and COVID has devastated my business. I’m worried about paying my taxes. Michael Porter is still emailing me, asking for more money. I’m under a lot of stress.”
MSC has received complaints about International Derivatives Group from two other rural Manitoba victims, who have lost a combined $36,000.
Following an investigation, MSC is issuing an alert on International Derivatives Group, Michael Porter, and Valiant Markets. These companies claim to be operating in Toronto, the U.K., UAE, and Singapore. Porter and the companies are not, and never have been, registered to trade in securities in Manitoba. B.C., Saskatchewan, and Ontario’s securities commissions have previously issued investor cautions and alerts naming IDG.
Anyone who is considering buying or selling an investment should practice due diligence: research the company thoroughly and/or talk to their registered investment advisor to ensure it is an appropriate decision. Manitobans should also be aware of the red flags of fraud:
· promises of high returns with low risk,
· pressure to invest quickly / limited time offers
· secret or ‘insider’ information / exclusive offers
· offers from complete strangers
· unregistered salespeople and companies
· inconsistent details / avoiding questions / no paper trail
Before investing check to see if the individual or company are registered to do business in Manitoba. This online check can be done at aretheyregistered.ca.
Members of the public are advised to contact MSC if they believe they have been targeted by any type of investment fraud attempt. MSC’s anti-fraud line is 1-855-FRAUD-MB.
The public can also visit recognizeinvestmentfraud.com for more information on common investment frauds and scams.
The Manitoba Securities Commission is a division of the Manitoba Financial Services Agency, a Special Operating Agency of the Government of Manitoba that protects investors and promotes fair and efficient capital markets throughout the province. -30-
Jason Booth, Communications Coordinator, MSC | 204.945.1660 | firstname.lastname@example.org