Colourful? Crazy? Criminal? – Carl Freer

You have met – or dealt with – Carl Freer.  What did you think at first – and what do you know now?  

Were you bewitched by him – bamboozled – impressed – flattered – honoured – inspired – awestruck – dumbstruck – incredulous – outraged – amused – bemused – angry – entertained – horrified – . . .? (Link)

You really owe it to yourself to do some proper due diligence on the man – many haven’t – many have lost everything – people and institutions – some are broke – some feel violated.  Very few – if any – feel love. (See what happened to a top UK law firm)

If you do nothing else you should at least read these articles on Carl Freer.  They are brilliantly written by an expert wordsmith.  Compelling – enthralling – fast paced – hilarious – satisfying.

It is in 7 parts.  When you click through on the first link, you can link to each successive story from there.  Or you can come back here and link to the part you want.

I include a short summary of each part.  These are no substitute for the real thing – more like an index really – something you can come back to and ask, “Now where was the bit about him threatening to kill those investors on the boat?”

They were written by Nicholas Stetcher, and featured in “The Drive.”   Read them – great stuff.

Part 1: The weird, wild saga of Gizmondo

The fiery crash of a Ferrari enzo exposes a billion dollar scam

 

One of the most famous crash photos ever

 

Get ready for side splitting laughs.  Somehow this limited edition, 2 seater classic car gets totalled on a Malibu highway. There are two people on the scene – one says he was passenger in the Ferrari and that the driver has run off into the hills.  The second person says he was a passenger in another car that stopped to see if anyone was injured, and which them drove off leaving him there.

One totalled super-car – 2 dazed passengers – no one willing to take any responsibility . . .  Can one draw parallels between car crashes and business ventures?

As Nicolas Stetcher says, The idea that two men would be found at the scene of a two-seat, single vehicle accident, and that both would claim to be passengers, was met with skepticism. Still, officers were dispatched into the hills to search . . .”

The opening paragraph reads

“It was an unprecedented multinational scam that burned investors from London to Los Angeles. How did a Swedish gangster end up overseeing a billion-dollar tech firm? And where did all the money go? Read The Drive’s 7-part series to find out how a late-night car crash in Malibu led to the collapse of a shady Swedish syndicate.”

Remember our story – Cops and Robbers – about how Carl Freer “acquired” a Police Badge and became ‘part of US Law Enforcement?”

Well – – –    “As Officer Huelson was interviewing witnesses, a blacked-out Hummer H2 rolled up. Two men in suits leaped out and started flashing what appeared to be Department of Homeland Security badges. They claimed jurisdiction and insisted on an immediate interview with [one of the “passengers”].

In this first part of the story we are also introduced to Carl Feer’s amazing eloquence.

 “After having been found guilty of fraud, sentenced to 18 months probation and fined 200,000 Euros, the “underworld” decided to pay him a visit.”

As Nicolas Stetcher explains,

“. . . perhaps the most telling aspect of this origin tale is Carl Freer’s masterful skills of oratory persuasion. 

“Somehow, in the face of imminent underworld pressure, he managed to not only avoid punishment [liquidation] completely, but actually twisted the situation to his benefit—inverting possible mob justice into a business opportunity.”

““[Freer] has a tremendous verbal capacity,” Swedish investigator Kjell Soderberg is quoted as saying in a Los Angeles Times feature. “He could sell sand in the Sahara and refrigerators to Eskimos.””

Part 2:  Too much money for normal business

The currency this time is glamour.

This part covers the incredible flop that was Gizmondo, and details how Carl Freer handled his investors’ money.

“In 2004, Gizmondo opened a high-profile flagship store on London’s exclusive Regent Street. They spared no expense. The rent was $300,000 a year and the store was built to entertain: top-to-bottom black marble, $750,000 worth of state-of-the-art 3D TVs, $48,000 of Bang & Olufsen phones and cameras, numerous bars, and a sound system worthy of a mega-club. Even the toilets were lined with Swarovski crystals. The men of Gizmondo were literally taking a shit atop their investors’ contributions.”

Ever wondered why some of these investors have been so gullible – so easily fooled?

One of the ‘Ladies of the Night’ explains the Carl Freer technique of relieving investors of the burden of their money . . .  as she explains how the girls, the celebs, the lifestyle were used to manipulate them.

“This is what their trick was: to have all the girls, have the drinks, have the riches. And these investors are businessmen who don’t get out of the office much, and suddenly they’re surrounded by this amazing sort of movie star lifestyle, with girls who they couldn’t imagine talking to, let alone having drinks with. If men are shown a lifestyle that they can’t achieve by themselves then I think they’re gonna be persuaded, definitely.” 

As Nicolas says, “These investors clearly weren’t just buying into a company’s balance sheet, they were buying into a lifestyle that they’d only ever seen from afar, from across the vast chasm of the velvet rope.”

The article also explains how Carl Freer paid his employees.  Very clever.  They had the illusion of great wealth – the reality being they owned nothing.

Read the article.

Part 3:  Following the Money Off a Cliff

When it comes to chucked money, destroying a $1M Ferrari Enzo is a drop in the bucket

This really is an important segment – and if you read no others you should at least read this.

In the first two parts we have seen where Carl came from and how he suckered investors into parting with their money in the false belief that they were buying into the glamorous lifestyle he was showing them.

Here we are introduced to the inner workings – the actual mechanics of fraud.

“On the outside we looked like a professional company, but on the inside the company was just in shambles; we’d do a deal with anybody, but we wouldn’t follow through with it,” says “Anthony” (not his real name), a marketing executive who worked directly under Eriksson and Freer. “Everything Carl did was about press releases. That’s how we made our money, by pumping and dumping the stock on the exchange. Everybody was ready to do business with us. We paid [Universal] $100,000 initially for content; we did a deal with MTV, then released the press release and wouldn’t follow through with the deal. Simply because we wanted the press release to ten-fold our shares.”

. . .  “A deal soon began brewing with Microsoft, which was in talks to provide games for the Gizmondo device. Anthony claims that before the contracts were even signed Freer had forged the signature of Ed Ventura, head of Microsoft Gaming Studios, and showed it to investors to get them to dump even more money.”

To find out how this escalated into a billion dollar fraud you need to read the article.

Part 4:  Retribution for a Thief

The Torpedo Hits and Gizmondo takes a hit

Meet the enforcement arm – and tactics.

This part introduces you to the violence used to keep people in line – investors who don’t pay – anyone ‘pulling a fast one.’   Who defines what a ‘fast one’ is – they would never do this to you would they?

It also describes how Carl Freer bought up his own failed product to show extraordinary sales figures, while at the same time making sure the device did not get into real consumer hands where it would be exposed.

Part 5:  Coming to America

Violence – both real and threatened – on Santa Monica Bay

With Gizmondo collapsing – fraud becoming very obvious to everyone – Carl decides to go to the USA.

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He buys a $5.9 Million mansion, a Gulf Jet Stream 4 and a 110-foot Palmer Johnson yacht, for $14 Million, named Brigatta.   His business partners spend investor money similarly.

Here the real violence starts – the boat – the guns – the sharks.

This is where you see the real Carl Freer.

Part 6:  In with the New

As the walls close in, cocaine becomes a problem

Forced into resigning from Gizmondo – criminal investigations under way – a new venture – scam – Xero Mobile.

Impersonating law enforcement – living the dream – the start of serious paranoia.

Part 7:  Enzo’s last ride

The party is over – arrests – time to move on – new scams – new places.

The concluding part of the story ties it all together  – more guns – more crimes – it doesn’t seem to stop.