We have received a response from Alastair Steadman, who previously contacted us via email without our solicitation, on his mortgage “alternative”. As we stated in our post Beware the mortgage fraudsters, we wanted you to know of any response. We strongly believe that in providing this information, and highlighting what we believe is a scam, that others across the net will not be bilked by con-men and promises of rich rewards, all without merit.
Mr. Steadman, on January 15, 2012, did not divulge the nature or even vague description of his “invention”. Instead we were sent 4 documents that were supposed to endorse the Life Mortgage Product (LMP) – which we assume refers to the product of Mr. Steadman though he never even stated what it is called.
The first was from Robert Davies, of Quantum Advisories, dated April 9, 2009 and which confirms the address of The Life Code Company as the same for Steadman. We have not spoken to Mr. Davies (or any of the “endorsees”), but the document stated
“Thank you for outlining the LMP to me. Whilst I suspect that some modifications might be necessary, it appears to have potential to help prospective homeowners…”
This is not an endorsement. It is not proof of concept. It is a statement that an idea that needs to be developed sounds interesting. No different than stating that betting black on a roulette wheel has potential to win. Yet that does not imply success or credibility of the idea.
Peter Mason, of Neville James Group Limited in a reply dated May 20, 2009 and addressed to a Mark Kober-Smith (no idea who that is or what the connection to Steadman is) stated,
“I have reviewed the LMP and think it is a very interesting concept…”
Which reflects the view of Davies. Lin Casling of Living Time Limited on January 16, 2009 stated a similar view. Trevor Galvin of Mortgagefinders was the only individual of the 4 to have a stronger view of the LMP. Mr. Galvin also stated that he worked on the LMP with Steadman. The document is undated, and again does not provide anything that would be considered proof of concept or even an explaination of the concept.
As for the letter from Alastair Steadman, the only thing that was clearly stated was that the only way anything would be stated to us, was if we signed a non-disclosure act. We declined.
The use of such a document seems to have 2 intentions. It may imply credibility to those unfamiliar with the document and the financial services industry. Secondly it disencourages questions that would reveal credibility. Our experience, which includes working with investors on IPO’s and development stage companies seeking funding, provide clear understanding that an explaination – without revealing proprietory facts – is not only possible but manditory to receive an investment (from accredited investors). Which does not even address the question if the document, apparently hand typed and not written by a legal expert, would apply to American law jurisdictions.
Our reply, on January 16, 2012, to Mr. Steadman was the direct statement that none of the “endorsements” were in fact that, and none provided any credibility to his product or person.
Further we asked if he was indeed Alastair Duncan Steadman, where his location is, and if he is the owner of The Life Code Company and Aruffens Foundation. We asked that he explain his lack of transparency in noting this information on the websites and the emails sent. Lastly we asked that he reveal if the 4 “endorsements” were from individuals identified as contributors on the Aruffens Foundation website – which the site does not provide.
As we stated to Mr. Steadman, none of our questions are beyond the pale for an individual that randomly emailed us with a promise of shared financial success for our investment/donation of funds.
We again state this is part of the proof why random emails for individuals that have never been heard of or solicited are generally scams. These individuals try to feed off of the hopes and dreams of individuals, and prey upon the fact that most people do not know what questions to ask and insist upon having answered.
Credibile ventures are transparent. They want investors – and that is what the “donation” effectively makes you – to know who is involved, where they are, and what is going on. They provide explicit details on repayment, reviewed and approved by appropriate Government and private agencies, all of which can be proven true. Most of all they want to ensure that any investment is made by people who understand the risk being taken and have the financial presence to do so, as is legally required (see the SEC definition of an accredited investor).
Scam artists, on the internet or otherwise, don’t care if they are taking money from widows and orphans or the last funds of a family that is looking for salvation from the current economic downturn. Scam artists use the ease and relatively nominal cost of the internet to cast a wide email net and sieze upon anyone that shows a glimmer of interest. They also pass on information of all the details they get to other shady individuals and organizations, so that they too can profit on the ill-informed.
We suggest that before you ever act on any such email (which we do not recommend) you first contact the Better Business Bureau, speak with a legal and/or investment professional you know and trust, and check out the internet for articles like this one highlighting the scam if known. Any legitimate company will be happy to be verified, anyone else will likely scurry to the shadows for an easier mark.
In the 3rd letter from Alastair Steadman, we recieved several confirmations. As we had determined from research, it was confirmed that this is the same Steadman that owns Aruffens Foundation and Life Code Company. The address of the companies was also confirmed. Further Steadman confirmed he is a UK citizen.
In terms of transparency, Steadman stated in response to us
“M V Consulting: Further, why do you not list, on any site, ownership of the above companies?
Alastair Steadman: I did not consider this important, but maybe I should – I don’t know!”
Response to our letter for clarification on Jan 16, 2012
You own a company for 17 years, have a site that actively asks for monetary donations, and send out international emails randomly but don’t think that revealing your full name, address, foreign citizenship, or corporate ownership is important?
Which brings us to a clarification. Alastair Steadman noted that he has never once asked for monetary funds. This is true. His email asks for an investment in time to market and promote his undisclosed and unclear financial product. He requested helping gaining access to brokers and corporations to sell his product and gain credibility and support:
Alastair Steadman: “Firstly, I am not asking for funds from you. I don’t want any money from you at all – or anyone else for that matter. I thought I had made that clear in my email to you. All I want you to do is to find a company which can give licences (they are free) to all the brokers and financial advisers in the USA; if you think you can do this yourself then that would be fine – mark you, that won’t be simple.” – January 16, 2012
Yes not simple at all. Though he is directly asking for donations via his internet presence, his email is asking for the random recipient to spend their reputations, time (which is money), and credibility (also a form of money), to advance his mysterious product and imbue him with sales (possibly also sponsorship) for no stated return. While this is not a direct solicitation of funds, it is an indirect one in our opinon. A minor point that works in avoiding some legal issues, but ultimately is the same thing in our opinion.
Alastair Duncan Steadman also stated that he left the RAF (Royal Air Force) in 1974 – he retired, though under what conditions was not revealed. We were also told that he is currently a Systems Analyst, for whom is unknown. A position that does not lend itself readily to financial services products. We also were told that:
M V Consulting: Also, what industry papers have you written that can cite your expertise in financial services.
Alastair Steadman: I have not written any papers. I developed the FAB Product [the new name for the abovementioned LMP] entirely from my life experience.
Thus we determine that Steadman has no expertise, and even less credibility. He does allude to a GP medical product, created by his own “software house”, which is never named – impying success and credibilty without giving any information to verify that credibility. In a similar manner he states that he lectured, on Computer Science apparently, but declines to divulge any specific place or time that he did so.
Steadman also declined to disclose who his team of contributors, noted on the Aruffens Foundation site, were but did state that none of the “endorsements” were from those contributors.
At this point we hope that we have clearly provided the example of why you the reader should avoid shams promising riches on the internet. Our evaluation of Alastiar Duncan Steadman concludes with the same belief we had at the start – this is a scam.
At no point has there been a shred of proof of concept, or even a concept. There has been no transparency. There has been multiple attempts to sidestep and avoid declarations of fact. There is no credibility.
This, we believe, illustrates what is involved with an internet scam. Promises of granduer and requirements of time, money (directly and indirectly), and reputation. A lack of transparency, an absence of credibility, a reliance on lack of knowledge on the part of anyone that responds.
Avoid the Aruffens Foundation’s, the Life Code Company’s of the internet. Delete without response the Alastair Duncan Steadman’s of the spam mail. Disbelieve the vague promises and highly conditional assurances. We feel that these kinds of organizations, emails, and interactions have one ultimate purpose – to seperate people from their money by feeding them hope and dreams of future wealth that will never happen.