Time, once again, to catch up with the latest antics of our favorite con artists. Earlier today, the following message popped into my old email address (which I still look at from time to time)...
Good day Sir,
I read your posts back in 2009 and I'm afraid I have friends that joined the cult of Salvacion Legaspi and Mr Kempe. Check out Facebook and search for Maharlikan Tribe. The woman claims to live in a castle and had the indigenous people sign papers and claim her queen. She's now claiming to be the true queen of the Philippines. Check Facebook and tell me what you think? My guess is they might hypnotise people.
Very odd. How did this person access the old email address? At any rate, I don't do Facebook.
"Queen" Legaspi is indeed a cult leader in the Philippines: She claims to be the Messiah, or something similar. (Reports vary.) Her friends include Dr. Hans Kempe, the man who single-handedly cured cancer. (Just ask him.)
Another of her friends is everyone's favorite scammer, Wilfredo Saurin -- a.k.a. Yohannes Riyadi, a.k.a. Bill Hayward, a.k.a. The Richest Man in the World, a.k.a The Philippines Phantom.
Saurin first came to our attention back in 2009, when the Italians arrested him as he was carrying $134 billion in "Federal Reserve Bonds" into Switzerland. The right-wing conspiratorialists jumped all over this story. Bottom line: The "bonds" were all fakes, printed on an inkjet printer and artificially aged. The same fraudulent instruments have been used in many previous scams (and have also been sold on Ebay as novelty items). I have reason to believe that Queen Legaspi originally created the worthless things.
I never did figure out precisely how Saurin hoped to make money with these "bonds." In general, it is easier to scam rich people if you can convince them that you too are rich.
My original investigations into this story can be found here
also did a piece on the Mystery Bonds; the writer was kind enough to cite my work.
A few years later, Wilfredo -- now semi-permanently inhabiting his "Riyadi" persona -- showed up again. This time, he had hornswoggled an actual British Lord (Lord James of Blackheath) into believing that he, Riyadi, was the richest man in the world, with over $15 trillion to his name. (Which he earned fair and square, by working hard.) As I wrote on an earlier occasion
Saurin/Riyadi, as head of something called Foundation X, wanted to help the U.K. weather its current financial storm with a massive loan.
He even produced a document confirming his wealth, "signed" by Alan Greenspan and Tim Geithner.
Almost needless to say, many internet sensation-seekers have accepted this claim at face value. After all, if a British Lord believes it, then it must be real. Right?
The conspiracy theorists insist that Lord Blackheath is telling the truth, and that all doubt is slander. Why do they say this? Because -- to put the matter very succinctly -- Saurin has spun a paranoia-filled yarn about the Federal Reserve. Conspiracy buffs of a certain stripe will believe anything you tell them, as long as you tell them something dark and ominous about the Federal Reserve.
Saurin/Riyadi/Hayward was able to prove that his wealth was real by displaying an ACTUAL DOCUMENT issued by none other than HSBC. Allegedly. You can see it here
Dare I suggest that Queen Legaspi fired up the printer again...?
A more recent story
about Saurin/Riyadi/Hayward, from February of this year, displays similar documentary "proof" from the Bank of Indonesia.
The $15 trillion apparently came from Riyadi’s stash of 750,000 tonnes of gold held in the US. This brings in an additional consideration to the case: Nevermind money, just how much gold is there in the world?
According to the World Gold Council, Riyadi’s claims cannot be true, as only 165,000 tonnes of gold has been mined in all of history.
Now, as it happens, there is one fabled horde that is said to contain so much gold that -- if it were made public -- experts would be forced to revise their estimates of how much gold actually exists. I refer, of course, to the legendary treasure trove called Yamashita's Gold, which is said to be secreted in various remote locations throughout the Philippines. (Some sources also mention Indonesia.) Author Sterling Seagrave has argued that the horde is real, and that right-wingers have used it to fund a series of covert operations which have slowly and subtly manipulated our political reality over the past three or four decades. It was widely reported, back in the late 1980s, that none other than General John Singlaub (of Iran/contra fame) was hot on the trail of the gold.
I seem to recall that one writer -- was it David Guyatt? -- once said that the money has been stashed in various secret bank accounts around the world. These accounts were in the names of various world leaders of the 1970s -- except the names were always slightly misspelled. (A la
Is there any truth to these claims? At this writing, I have no idea. I can say, however, that the legend of Yamashita's Gold has come up in previous articles about Saurin and Queen Legaspi.
Interestingly, a figure calling himself "Mr. Gold" has entered the scene, claiming that he has found the treasure. He has told his story not to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal but to those bastions of journalistic excellence, The Barnes Review and the American Free Press.
Check it out.
It's a hoot.
Are "Mr. Gold" and wiley Wilfredo one and the same? Maybe; maybe not.
Do they know each other? Are they confederates? Well....let's just say that I would not be even slightly surprised.
In our last look
at Saurin, we learned that he has a couple of American buddies: One calls himself Dr. Keith Francis Scott (!!) and the other is Alexander Mann. (Get it? He's just A. Mann.) Apparently, these fellows are all somehow involved with a Vietnamese "government in exile" located in Orange County, California. These people were connected to a CIA counterfeiting operation in place during the war: The idea was to devalue the North Vietnamese currency by airdropping billions in counterfeit notes.
So what has this band of scalawags been up to lately? Well, someone went out of his way to persuade me that Queen Legaspi has been practicing mass hypnosis in the Philippines. I don't know if that is true, but the allegation is now on the record.
This conspiracy blog
recounts some of Saurin's activities with a confederate named Anthony Martin, which I suspect to be an alias of A. Mann. The story connects Saurin to the P2 lodge (but of course!) and to something called The Dragon Family.
This unusual blog
(apparently the work of someone named Paul Collin) refers to Saurin as The Philippines Phantom. It seems that the wiley one has recently been using the monicker William V. Morales. Apparently, he had been trying to sell funny money to a group in the Philippines called the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
We found PCGG representative Gerry Ledonio [ TEL: (718) 358-8114 ] being "handled" by the law firm O'BUCKLEY ( New York, USA ) that was arranging secret PCGG meetings with the southern California Filipino man nicknamed "Cowboy" who was also very much an international bank paper trader who held a plethora of fraudulent international bank paper financial instruments [ i.e. bank guarantees ( BG ), certificates of deposit ( CD ), stand-by letters of credit ( SBLC ), safe-keeping receipts ( SKR ), etc. ] accompanied by a whole host of support documents, amongst many others, where the now-late former Philippines President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (aka) Ferdinand E. Marcos was seen named within a Letter Of Instruction naming his sidekick to be "William V. Morales," an alias used by "Wilfredo S. Saurin" (aka) the "Philippines Phantom."
It's a little hard to make out exactly what all of that is supposed to mean, but I think that one key lesson is this: You can get important people to take you seriously if you wear a nice suit and if you carry official-looking pieces of paper.
The site also provides a list of Saurin aliases:
Wilfred Saurin (aka)
Datu G.L. (aka)
Wilfredo S. Ramos (aka)
William Morales (aka)
William V. Morales (aka)
Joseph E.S. Daraman Jr. (aka)
Joseph Eutiquio Severino Daraman Jr. (aka)
Joseph Daraman (aka)
Joseph Teo Hui Kiat (aka)
Johannes Riyad (aka)
Yohannes Riyadi (aka)
Saroeun Soush (aka)
Wilfredo Serion (aka)
Dr. Saroeun (aka)
If you google the name "Saroeun Soush," you'll discover all sorts of fun stuff. Apparently, he was doing business in Cambodia
A SHADOWY organisation that has been accused of fraud in multiple countries is operating in Cambodia, raising concerns about government oversight and the potential defrauding of foreign investors.
Asia Real Property Co, Ltd – a firm with offices on Norodom Boulevard – identifies itself in promotional material as a subsidiary of an international real estate consultancy known as “ARP-OITC Group Co Ltd (Cambodia)”.
OITC is short for the “Office of International Treasury Control”, a group that has been implicated in a series of bizarre scandals from Ecuador to Fiji while making grandiose claims about its links to the United Nations and the United States government.
In addition to real estate consulting, ARP-OITC offers “bank instruments”, including high-limit lines of credit, to foreign partners, ARP-OITC executive managing director Soush Saroeun said in an interview this month. He said the company was working on three joint-ventures in Cambodia with companies from Vietnam, Canada and France.
“Though not generally or publicly known, OITC is the largest International Institution of its kind,” the organisation says in a brochure. It claims to be “the largest single owner of gold and platinum bullion in the World” and “the largest single owner of Home Mortgage Securities in the World today”.
I also did a little research into the name "Joseph Daraman." This may actually be the name of a confederate
of Wilfredo Saurin. Or perhaps two men use the same alias. Such things have happened before.
Joseph Teo Hui Kiat
(another of Saurin's many personas) has produced an alleged document -- signed by Ben Bernanke! -- "proving" that he has deposited one billion dollars with the Federal Reserve. Hey, that's chump change for a guy who is worth $15 trillion.
It's also worth noting that, in a document reproduced here
, Yohannes Riyadi expresses his anger with Wilfredo Saurin. Maybe they should duke it out, the way Ed Norton and Brad Pitt did toward the end of Fight Club
You must be wondering: How do these scamps stay out of jail? Surely, there must be laws against printing up your own documentation allegedly issued by major banking concerns. At this point I should note, en passant
, that other high-level con artists have been known to earn a "get out of jail free" card by doing the occasional gig for the spooks. (That ploy has its limits, as Ozzie LeWinter discovered.)
If Saurin and his associates keep finding ways to avoid the pokey, I'll probably be following their frantic antics for the rest of my life.
If you're a con artist, you may want to think twice before adopting the persona of The Richest Man In The World. That scheme has one huge drawback: Whenever you go out to lunch with a friend, you'll be expected to pick up the check.