Who Was That Man?
This is short simple and the point. Do you have any idea who you are doing business with? Do you have any idea of their background or credentials
These are a couple of quick stories from very real encounters with people who manipulated a company’s or a family’s needs in order to penetrate the inner circle.
A woman claimed to be an Executive Protection Specialist and was hired by a small firm. She knew what she was doing and was very good with the family. She claimed to have two degrees from the University of Michigan. One degree was supposedly in Criminology and the other, a MA in Physiology. One of the charges brothers visited and heard that she was from UofM and went over to her and said “Go Blue”. She hesitated and said “what?”. If you are from the UofM you know what “Go Blue” is all about. The brother said, “oh, nothing” and walked away. Only Eastern MI has an accredited Criminology degree and the UofM offers only a MS in Physiology. These are both small points, but conducting a quick check they found out that she had never attended the UofM, and that there was not one person by her name that attended the UofM. With the help of a Private Investigator, the SSN and the ID of this woman presented upon employment did not turn out to be the person she had claimed she was. There she was on the inside of the family for 4 months. Who was she and what was she really up to?
A man by the name of Hiram Forbes was a well-known character at the Angel investor’s forums in Southern California. He regularly looked at offers from investors, business owners and had made some small investments serving on some of the advisory committees for several small technology companies. He had also made some introductions to other investment bankers who had in fact invested in a number of companies. He had created some bona fides. An investor client of ours asked for a quick background on Mr. Forbes, nothing more than a routine check. To our surprise, we couldn’t find anything; no person by that name anywhere in the region and no person with those names and that age range in the entire United States. Furthermore, the cell phones used appeared to be in the name of someone else. Who is this guy and what were his intentions?
Lawrence Adkins is an American wandering around London and looking to invest in some very technical and exclusive hedge funds. He claims to have 500 million dollars to invest, that he was the grandson of a wealthy southern cotton family and that he worked very closely with “Insert famous name Wall Street Investor” for investment opportunities. Again, a long-term client asked for us to check out the background of this person and we found no information matching what he claimed No 500 million, not a wealthy cotton farming family according to the National Cotton Museum and according to “Insert famous name Wall Street Investor” he had no idea who the heck “this Adkins guy was or is”. Also “Insert famous name Wall Street Investor” asked us/me “do you make it a habit of just calling up famous people to check if someone is claiming to actually know them??” I answered, “As a matter of fact yes and I have spoken to former Presidents, Astronauts and several actors and actresses and they, like you have all called back and been very gracious.” “Insert famous name Wall Street Investor” – said “Good someone needs to stop this $^!+.” So what was this person’s game or motive?
The independent guess by all is that they were looking for inside information to markets and transactions that they would not otherwise have and/or a competitive intelligence operative.
So the next time someone shoots off their mouth, write it down and check it or have it checked. It is not that hard and definitely worth it.