Speak Asian Online: SpeakAsia scammers attempt reboot
If I could pinpoint the moment Indian regulators failed SpeakAsia’s victims, it would a Judge unfreezing the scheme’s bank accounts for a few weeks mid-2011.
CID investigators immediately filed an appeal and had the accounts refrozen, but by then the damage had been done.
Harendar Kaur, one of the masterminds behind the Ponzi scheme, rushed to transfer over $100 million dollars out of the frozen account.
The funds, along with Kaur, were never seen again.
What followed was a proxy war against Indian regulators headed up by Ashok Bahirwani.
Bahirwani was hired by SpeakAsia management to set up the All India SpeakAsia Panelist Assocation, whose purpose was to encourage victims not to cooperate with authorities.
There is no doubt in my mind that funds transferred out of India were used to fund this effort.
At the forefront of the nonsense was a court case filed by Solomon James, a Speak Asia investor working closely with Bahirwani.
Writ 383 was filed with the objective of obstructing regulatory investigations into Speak Asia. To this end the lawsuit was largely successful, until it was finally disposed by the Supreme Court of India in late 2012.
Once again, by the time that legal circus had played out, the damage to Speak Asia’s victims, many of which to this day refuse to acknowledge they were scammed, had already been done.
Most of Speak Asia’s ringleaders had disappeared by that point, with CEO Manoj Kumar remaining a fugitive on the run.
Kumar fled India shortly after Indian regulators began to crack down on the scheme in 2011.
Reports suggest Kumar purportedly died of cancer in 2014. To date and as far as I know, this information has never been verified.
I maintain that one of the key masterminds of Speak Asia expiring after years on the run, with millions of dollars yet unaccounted for, is a little to convenient for my liking.
In any event despite seemingly insurmountable odds, Indian authorities continued to investigate SpeakAsia.
Several arrests were made throughout 2013, culminating with a 5000 page chargesheet filed in December.
It is against this backdrop of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in Indian history, that scammers are now attempting to resurrect Speak Asia.
Whereas reboot scams tend to distance themselves from predecessors, those behind the new scheme has taken the opposite route.
Referring to the scheme as “Speak Asian Online”, all they’ve done is add an “n” to the original Speak Asia name.
Details surrounding the scheme are currently sketchy, but it’s clear that Speak Asian Online is likely being run by those heavily invested in the original Speak Asia scam.
A website has been set up over at “speakasianonline.com”, which borrows heavily from the original Speak Asia website.
The domain itself was registered on the 4th of January 2015, with bogus details evident in the registration.
Much of content and media presented on the site is dated circa 2011, before regulatory action halted Speak Asia’s online activity.
An ad that features on the Speak Asian Online website was uploaded to YouTube on May 30th, 2011.
Speak Asian Online’s business model is a carbon-copy clone of Speak Asia’s compensation plan. That being affiliates invest funds on the promise of an advertised weekly ROI for 52 weeks.
This is done using a survey ruse, through which it’s claimed Speak Asian Online investors perform market research for non-existent clients.
To that end a number of third-party logos appear on the Speak Asian Online website, with the company claiming they are “proposed advertisers”:
Note that none of these companies were ever clients of Speak Asia Online or Speak Asian Online, nor will they ever be.
The surveys Speak Asia conducted have already been busted as doctored frauds.
CEO Manoj Kumar paid some shill to peruse Wikipedia articles and come up with pointless surveys for Speak Asia investors to complete:
Speak Asia’s surveys for its investor-panelists were sourced mostly from Wikipedia and other sites on the Internet, and not from clients based abroad.
The EOW, on Friday, arrested a web designing firm’s owner who allegedly prepared surveys for Speak Asia from information he gathered through the Internet. Speak Asia’s claim that its surveys were sourced to clients abroad.
That the same is happening in Speak Asian Online is pretty much a given.
On the same page the above logos appear, an image of a trademark registry filing bears the name “Nisha Singh” as Speak Asian Online’s proprietor.
A Nisha Singh can be observed making enquiries about joining Speak Asia back in February 2011,
but whether or not this is the same Nisha Singh behind Speak Asian Online is unclear.
As is to be expected, promotion of Speak Asian Online targets Indian investors who lost money the first time around.
Writes one Speak Asian Online affiliate:
Are you a Previous Member of Speak Asia. Do You Really Want to Get your Money Back.. Please call (removed).
SPEAK ASIAN ONLINE SECOND VERSION OF SPEAK ASIA ONLINE.
SPEAK ASIAN ONLINE AGAIN START SURVEY CONCEPT WITH GOVERNMENT APPROVAL. NOW…
Alexa statistics show an uptick of traffic beginning late March, indicating the scheme has only just started to take off:
Will victims of the original Speak Asia be once again taken for another hundred million dollar ride?
With no information on the Speak Asian Online website pertaining to management and a bogus domain registration, who is behind the scam remains to be seen.