Kiwi scams touch all classes of immigrants

The latest New Zealand Herald article on Blue Chip by Maria Slade [Immigrant banker put $1.7m in Blue Chip] is interesting for at least three reasons.

One, it points to a specific truth about fraud: all levels of class, education, access to financial counselling and sophistication are vulnerable:

  • 2,000 mostly seniors living on a fixed income and a millionaire British investment banker (Blue Chip) or
  • dozens of barely literate Indian and Chinese arrivals with Green Acres and Green Power franchises.


A British investment banker who came to New Zealand for a better lifestyle invested $1.7 million in 19 apartments through Blue Chip. Now Neil and Michelle Hickman are pinning their hopes on court action to recover some of their losses.

Mr Hickman gave up his career as a successful investment banker and moved his family to New Zealand two years ago, intending to live off his wealth.

Two, immigrants are considered prime protein by some franchise systems. New arrivals who invest large sums are often given special treatment [some expected; some not].

  • Several franchisors aggressively market their systems overseas to potential new immigrants using their government’s investor programs as a proven successful fraud technique: a badge of authority.

And three, for perhaps the most understated comment to date from a deeply betrayed person whose wife and three children are living in rented quarters while he goes back to work in Britain to make ends meet:

“Talk about a bad year,” Mr Hickman said.

One Response to Kiwi scams touch all classes of immigrants

  1. Carol Cross says:

    The targets of the franchisors depend on who is available and who can get loans, etc.., or who has the cash savings to offer themselves up to be a resource for the franchisor. Franchisees believe the franchisor can’t profit unless they do and they learn a hard lesson when their “dream” falls apart.

    In the United States, the veterans and their families are now the target of the franchisors because of the Patriot Express Loan Initiative, a pilot loan program, passed into law in mid 2007, to “honor” the troops? And, also, the corporate types forced into early retirement or without jobs because of reduction in force are also targets because of their 401’s that, apparently, can be used to buy a franchise.

    This predatory and ugly business model protected by governments is at work all over the world. How can we spread the word? Franchising, as Les Stewart says, is “dangerous at any brand” and LET THE BUYER BEWARE of the Potemkin Franchise and the tyranny of the majority that is condoned by government because it serves the “public good.”


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