Poker by Proxy Fraud Update: Site Disappears, Video Spokesmen Identified
A few days back, FlushDraw reported on the happenings of a supposed poker-themed investment site called Poker by Proxy, which claimed to use the financing of investors to reap big winnings at the poker tables. That the site’s operations screamed “Fraud!” to any experienced poker player was obvious, as was the inevitable crashing of the scheme once its obvious lies were uncovered.
Poker by Proxy’s crash came in highly predictable fashion, too. First came the announcement of a horrible -99% loss at the tables on November 29th, this despite Poker by Proxy’s supposed daily stop-loss figure of -5%.
Then came an announcement by the site’s administrators that attempted to explain the situation, including blaming the “thieves at PayPal” and other online-transfer sites. Supposedly, PayPal had turned off the spigots and had managed to reverse a couple of transactions, since PayPal, a US-based company affiliated with eBay, does not allow transactions connected to online gambling.
The farcical explanation was quickly shown to be false in several ways, including testimony by investors that Poker by Proxy had taken steps to disguise the nature of the transactions from PayPal. In addition, several investors posting in a related thread at moneymakergroup.com in a HYIP (High Yield Investment Program) where Poker by Proxy was touted, have reported unauthorized reachback attempts in the last few days by Poker by Proxy in an attempt to extract even more money.
Poker by Proxy also announced that any investors who demanded refunds would automatically be ineligible to receive any, while also claiming that a refund process was ongoing. PBP even listed a couple of dozen accounts which the site claimed had been refunded or were already “in profit,” but none have been verified, and the bulk of those lists are likely faked entries.
Poker by Proxy also continued, for several days, to post bogus positive daily results for a handful of days following the “-99%” figure on November 9th, though that daily yarn had long been rendered meaningless, as explained in our first post on the collapsing fraud.
Within the last 24 hours, the whole site has been taken offline. In a separate monitoring thread at 2+2, user “Stoop Kid” was the first to report that the site’s DNS info had been switched:
Re: Site promising returns on investmentLooks like they finally pulled the plug. Website is down… nameservers have been changed within last 24 hrs.
Before: poker.bl1.blockdos.com, poker.bl2.blockdos.com
Now: ns1.cybercastco.com, ns2.cybercastco.com
A separate post in that same thread examines existing Whois data for the original PokerByProxy.com domain, including a possible link to a couple of earlier poker entities and known poker names. However, those connections have not yet been verified.
What can now be confirmed, however, is that the supposed structure of Poker by Proxy was itself a fraud. Back in September, money-news-online.com published an interview about Poker by Proxy with “Patrick,” who identified himself as the CEO of the site. The second question from that interview details the company’s initial structure, as claimed by “Patrick”:
2. Can you give us some background information on PokerByProxy? How many others are involved with the program or are you operating alone? How long have you been online and what’s your ultimate aim for the program?
Creating a program like PokerByProxy has been a goal of mine for quite some time, and I’m happy to say that I’ve finally got it online. It took a lot of preparation, from the creation of the website, to establishing a talented team of poker players, but I’m proud to say that the effort has paid off. There are currently 7 of us involved with PokerByProxy:
Myself (Patrick) – CEO of the Program
Jack – Head of Customer Support
Kendall – Operations Manager
Poker Team – Currently 4 Players
PokerByProxy was introduced publicly on September 4th. The goal is to grow the program to the point that our level of investment is as large as our poker team can handle.
This excerpt can now be shown to be a lie in total; such a corporate structure never existed. “Jack” and “Kendall,” also known as “Kendall Baker,” both appeared in videos touting Poker by Proxy as we detailed in our first post last week:
Both “Jack” and “Kendall Baker” are utter fakes, inexpensive providers of videos on Fiverr.com, as uncovered by FlushDraw.
Kendall Baker, whose promotional video touting Poker by Proxy’s affiliate program remains on YouTube, turns out to be a Fiverr user called “websitevideo”. His full Fiverr page is available here, and as you can see, he’s both “featured” and a “top rated seller” at Fiverr.
The same holds true for “Jack,” who is actually another well-renowned Fiverr provider of promotional videos with the user name of “mintyone”:
(Here’s the link to mintyone’s profile on Fiverr.)
Both websitevideo and mintyone are based in the US, according to their Fiverr profiles. It is unlikely that either is aware of the full nature of the Poker by Proxy scam; it’s entirely possible that both know as little about the finances of poker — and why such an investment “opportunity” as Poker by Proxy offered would be impossible — as the fraud’s intended investor victims.
Nonetheless, since both Fiverr users can be shown to have been involved with the Poker by Proxy operation, and received a paltry few dollars for their involvement,it is hoped they will share what they know. That they were also willing to serve as the public faces of a fraudulent operation so cheaply, and with no double-checking on exactly what they might be representing, is another indication of the problems with services such as Fiverr, which are easily exploitable in such a manner.
FlushDraw has contacted both of these Fiverr users, and invited them to come on the record and perhaps share information about who recruited and paid them to represent Poker by Proxy. We’ll provide another update as more information becomes available.