Sky-high dreams all washed up

ALMOST exactly 12 months ago I wrote in Business News about a Ministry of Fair Trading warning regarding the activities of SkyBiz.

At the time, I mentioned that there was a matter involving the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Kevin Ryan, a Perth-based participant in the scheme. The matter has now been settled on the basis of Mr Ryan consenting to various orders of the court. The Federal Court in Perth has handed down orders by consent declaring that Kevin Ryan, a Perth participant in a scheme called Skybiz 2000 Home Based Business, breached the Trade Practices Act 1974 by promoting a pyramid selling scheme.

The ACCC instituted legal proceedings against Mr Ryan, alleging he contravened the Act by attempting to induce others to become participants in the trading scheme promoted by Inc and to pay Skybiz $US100 per web site in order to obtain the prospect of taking part in the scheme.

In settlement, Mr Ryan has consented to orders in which the court:

p declared that he attempted to induce persons to take part in a pyramid trading scheme called the Skybiz 2000 Home Based Business Scheme by representing to them that they would receive payments if they in turn introduced other persons into the pyramid scheme, in breach of the Act;

p accepted his personal undertaking that he will not take part in, or induce or attempt to induce others to take part, in the pyramid scheme; and

p ordered that he pay a contribution to the ACCC’s costs.

“E-commerce is an emerging industry and the ACCC is determined that traders engaging in trade and commerce over the Internet must comply with the Act. This matter serves as a warning to individuals who may be consider-ing joining similar schemes that are promoted over the Internet,” ACCC chairman Professor Allan Fels said.

A plea to be avoided

I REGARD myself as being an astute investor. In this business, you don’t get to give advice to clients, write about financial planning when required, and talk about such matters on radio and sometimes appear on television on financial matters by being gullible.

So, when I received the following email from Mariam Abacha, you can imagine that I would be sufficiently sceptical to not even acknowledge its existence. Yet, I am reliably informed that there are numerous people out there who actually believe that this is the answer to their prayers and that they are going to be inordinately wealthy. So, if you receive an email along these lines, put it in the “deleted items” file.




I am Mrs Mariam Abacha, the widow of the late Gen Sanni Abacha former Nigerian military head of state who died mysteriously as a result of cardiac arrest. Since after my husbands death, my family has been under restriction of movement and that not withstanding, we are being molested, policed and our bank account both local and international are being frozen by the Nigerian civilian government.

Further more, my eldest son is in detention by the Nigerian government for more interrogation about my husband’s assets and some vital documents.

Following the recent discovery of my husband’s bank account by the Nigerian government with Swiss bank, in which the huge sum of US700Million dollars and DM450million was logged. I therefore decided to contact you in confidence that I was able to move out the sum of US$25 million Dollars, which was secretly defaced and is sealed

in two metal boxes for security reasons.

I therefore personally, appeal to you seriously and religiously for your urgent assistance to move this money into your country where I believe it will be safe, since I cannot leave the country due to the restriction of movement imposed on the members of my family by the Nigerian Government. You can contact me through my family lawyer on the above email address or his company email who would arrange to meet with you OUTSIDE Nigeria in order to liaise towards effective completion of this transaction.

However, arrangements have been put in place to move this money out of the country in a secret vault through a security company in Ghana, and as soon as you indicate your interest, my lawyer shall send you the Airway bill of the luggage and other related documents so that you can help to claim the luggage. Conclusively, we have agreed to offer you 20% of the total sum while 80% is to be held on trust by you until we can decide on a suitable business investment in your country subsequent to your free movement by the Nigerian government.

Please reply urgently and treat with absolute confidentiality and sincerity. For your assurance and my genuineness read more about my mishaps, I would refer you to / 7th Aug 2000.

Yours truly,

Mariam Abacha.

Please ensure that you do exactly what I did and consign this to the bin. There are numerous people out there who are actually falling for this scam.

I have a client who felt that this was actually a genuine article and contacted me to discuss it. The Ministry of Fair Trading in WA has indicated it is concerned about this matter as well.

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