Scam artists still on the prowl
Scam artists continue to proliferate in Panama and among their target settings are gatherings of expats. Like the Irish gangs in Boston,...
Scam artists continue to proliferate in Panama and among their target settings are gatherings of expats. Like the Irish gangs in Boston, the Mafia in New York, or the Chinese Tongs in Toronto and Vancouver, they find, while setting up shop it is easier to rip off their fellow countrymen, while warning them to look out for predators.
Like all con-artists. they follow the money, and the gullible and where better to start than gatherings of expats? So watch out for that friendly offer to show you the ropes, guide you past the “corrupt” officials, find you a good lawyer or realtor, or a darling piece of property that is sure to make you a fortune.
EXPOSURE. In a masterly piece of research, guest columnist Eric Jackson, a lawyer by profession, crusading journalist, by avocation, has profiled some of the names that have besmirched the Panamanian skyline, and their channels of communication, where they first bait the hook.
Sometimes the link between the expat hosts is too close for comfort, sometimes they too have been blinded by the suavity and hand painted resumes of the villains.
So be warned and remember mom’s admonition about all that glitters.
In his article, posted on the Panama News site, Jackson pinpoints a host of operators, who once roamed the bars in Panama, and are now contemplating their limited world through a different set of bars in American prisons.
Sadly, many predators are still on the loose and few seem to end up in Panamanian prisons. Even when caught in the act of robbing their fellow countrymen, they seem to find victims prepared to re-affirm their beliefs in their“good intentions”, of those who have picked their pockets.
Eric presents a note from an expat which says: I came here with the intention of patronizing Panama businesses, but after experiencing insufferable delays and a myriad of other problems, I turn to other ex-pats when possible
He then comments “Among the foreigners here, there are less than honorable folks looking to take advantage of such attitudes.
LARCENY. “Typically, they place themselves in positions to meet foreign newcomers and determine which of them have a lot of money. They especially like those who have a bit of larceny in their hearts, for example those who are moving all of their assets down here to get beyond the reach of tax authorities, rs, the narcs or child support collectors. Such people are unlikely to seek legal recourse if they are cheated”
INFILTRATION. He goes on to outline the cons of people now sitting in US jails like Marc. M, Harris and Tom McMurrain both of whom says Eric, managed to infiltrate Whose New, operated by Sandra Snyder, and the American Society. Harris was also befriended by Balbina Herrera.
The article points to Expat Socials under the away of convicted tax fraudster Eddie Ray Khan , now also in a US prison. The Pieces were picked up by socialite Laura Alexander and Mary Sloane, who still claimed to be a Canadian lawyer, and whose activities have been exposed in the Panama Star. With Mary writing on the website, the name became Expat Explorers. Mary then went on to co-found the now defunct Panama Magazine with Arthur Hawk. More money disappeared.
So the next time you go to a gathering of “like-minded” nationals, who want to exchange business cards, don’t let the drinks cloud your vision. Leave your check book at home.
TOMORROW. Scam by omission.
What the promoters don’t tell you.