Millions missing in crazy scam involving scores of victims.
A woman from Edenvale claims to have permission from the World Bank, the IMF, the UN and “all those short alphabetical organisations” to launch her own country. The launch date is 1 June 2017.
If you are a South African, you are in luck, as she will be annexing parts of Johannesburg as their HQ.
And if you haven’t already begun to roll your eyes, we must tell you it is a scam – an elaborate one that has been duping South Africans for more than a decade.
Almost all the operations which feed into the grand scheme of the “country” idea start with the word “Maveric” – be it Maveric Sovereign State; Maveric Bank; Maveric Old Age Homes; Maveric Oil and Gas; and so on.
Noseweek knows of at least three men who have been taken for more than R7.5 million, a school principal who defrauded her school of R500 000 to “invest”, a security expert who raised a 40,000-strong army to protect the “country” and a farmer who has bet his pension on his farm being turned into a retirement utopia, despite his own bank manager telling him he is being scammed.
The “President” of this soon-to-be- launched state is, in her own words, a “silly little old lady in Edenvale” called Marilyn Allen, aged 62, known to her followers as Gypsey Luongo.
Maveric Press Secretary Ursula Allen-Brown, a bona fide Sea Point-based public relations practitioner who is also the managing editor of the website CapeInfoSA, said the launch date was 1 June. She said Noseweek would eventually “apologise for calling them a scam” when the truth is revealed. She claims the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, will give the keynote address at the launch.
“We have our own bank with our own currency called Maverics and Cents. It’s not like opening a guesthouse with three rooms. You know what I mean? This is a country we are launching,” said Allen-Brown.
The organisation’s loony website opens each page with an audio extract from either Kelly Clarkson’s pop hit Stronger, Shakira’s Waka Waka, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 2nd Movement KV-525 or the soundtrack to Star Wars. It also has a page dedicated to Dragon videos.
Email communication between Allen and her “bureaucrats” who call her “Madam President” end with “May the Force be with you”.
It has a national anthem based on the old South African anthem, a constitution based on the country’s 1961 constitution and a religion called “Oneism”.
Documents obtained by Noseweek reveal that the scamsters are in cahoots with others based in Ghana, the United Kingdom and Nigeria and use traditional money-transfer mechanisms, fake bank websites and fictitious street addresses often used in Advanced Fee Fraud, otherwise known as 419 scams.
Such scams usually offer promises of wealth but need an upfront payment to make it all happen. In this case the money was always tied up in Dubai, Switzerland or London and Allen always needed an upfront payment from a willing soul for the millions, billions or trillions of dollars – depending on to whom she was speaking– to be released.
Nevertheless Allen-Brown insists: “Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Emirs, Emiras, Heads of States, Prime Ministers, Presidents and Ministers of Foreign Affairs… allies and foes alike, [will] stand united for world peace at the official launch of a new country”.
In a “March 2017 press statement” sent to Noseweek, she said the new country is “sanctioned by UN, World Bank and a slew of major world role- players”. She said the country will be spread in enclaves across Africa and the Middle East, with “1,500 Maveric NGO Sovereign States villages” being set up to “service 90 million Maveric families (60,000 families per village).”
|Parts of Johannesburg will be annexed as the HQ of the Sovereign State of Maveric according to its president, Marilyn Allen|
The statement goes further to claim that each family will receive “a two-bedroomed furnished home” and there will be “free education, free healthcare and guaranteed employment in a safe tranquil haven of peace, under the protection of Maveric military” who will have ground-to-air missiles just in case.
“Facilities include schools, academies of learning, universities, technicons, hospitals, family clinics, shopping malls, amphitheatres, recreation centres, parks, state libraries, sports stadiums, post offices, public transport, theatres and nightclubs to fully service Maveric village people of all ages.”
And finally the press statement quotes “Gypsey Luongo, Madam President Maveric NGO Sovereign States” who says: “After building 280 homes at Orange Farm (1989) in record time (6 months), I knew that building 90 million homes and 1,500 Maveric Villages in 18 months was achievable”.
Eastern Cape resident Riaan Kolesky is one victim. He lost R1m to the scam – albeit an earlier version.
“When I was approached in 2008 we had just lost our business. I was trading in auction cars and ran two fishing boats. I was introduced by a friend. I was asked to invest in her oil and gas business. I put in US$1,000 with promises of a tenfold return and exclusive access to feeding scheme contracts in refugee camps being funded by the UN.
“It’s the hope that captures the guys. And then you are hooked.”
Once it dawned on him he was being taken for an expensive ride, he and others who had been similarly duped put together a 160-page document (costing US$15,000, this involved hiring investigators in the US and UK) which they handed to the Port Elizabeth SAPS.
“We ascertained she has been running since at least 2006. She was definitely involved with okes in Ghana and Dubai. We handed over a dossier to the police. We cannot understand why they haven’t made any arrests. There was ample information,” he said.
Another victim was Tom* from Johannesburg who lost R2m. He was conned to cough up the cash on the promise of lucrative air conditioner installation and electrical maintenance contracts at Allen’s multitude of “opportunities” from refugee villages to old age homes.
“The paperwork looked legitimate from the World Bank and UN. She was a sweet-talker. The thing is, during the entire time she always lived in poverty,” said Tom.
However after forking out more and more money into her scheme, including taking out bank loans, he demanded to see his investment. Allen told him to go to Accra, Ghana.
“We arrived with Marilyn. Once at the hotel she told us all our lives were in danger and we needed to stay in the hotel. By this stage we realised that Nigerian and Ghanaian nationals were involved. When we were leaving Accra some guys who knew Marilyn pulled us over and tried to convince us to stay but we decided against it,” said Tom.
He said the whole episode spooked both him and his wife and they walked away seeing the R2m loss as “school fees”. He lost his business.
A third victim, Harry*, was taken for between R3.5-4.5m.
“When I look back now I realise how foolish I was. I was introduced to Marilyn by Tom. She told me she wanted to start an old age home and that she was in the process of buying land in Hartbeespoort and another on the South Coast. We were invited to take part. I do dredging and I gather they wanted a marina put in. This was in 2008. She had an architect on board and a project manager called Ian Clark. From the surface it looked reputable. Then she needed money. It started off as a R50,000 loan, then R100,000, then R200,000. Eventually I was depositing money into overseas accounts. A few years later it all adds up,” said Harry.
Harry even employed her sons.
“They looked impoverished. She had no car, no food in the house and she was involved in various online relationships. I was always being told her money would be arriving ‘next week’,” said Harry.
In a twist of events Kolesky, Tom, Harry and others scammed by Allen have since gone into business together trading in oil through an offshore business in Nevis in the Caribbean.
The latest victim is security expert Eugene Halliday. With the promise of a US$500,000 down payment, he raised an army and was given the title of “General”. But after nine months of building a database, drafting “military” budgets, trying to arrange boot-camps and creating an insignia for the uniform, he realised the deal stank.
“I never invested any money but we put a considerable amount of time and energy into the recruitment drive. I eventually contacted Marilyn’s ‘donors’ – all of whom knew nothing about her.
“I have since found several people who invested money and eventually walked away. Some put in their life savings, others turned down job offers. We were under the impression of providing security and dropping off food parcels. She tried to ask for money from us but thankfully we never gave her any. She kept on saying she needed US$24,000 to clear a fine so her millions could be released,” said Halliday.
In May he opened a criminal case of fraud at Hibberdene SAPS.
Allen told Noseweek she plans to change her name to Gypsey Luongo “because I am going to be the president of my own country I can pick my own name”. She admitted to asking her potential citizens and business partners for the money to clear the fines. She is also working with her son, Derek Allen.
“What I have is totally real. You will sit with a big problem if you want to call me a scam artist. I have been investigated by SA Crime Intelligence, go ahead and do it.
“Everybody has investigated me and I have been cleared by FICA and the top people in the world. Make a fool of yourself.”
• Tom* and Harry* are not their real names. They both feel embarrassed at being duped by such a scam.
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