Note: The accuracy of this article has been disputed.
After learning about the world of OTCBB scams and issuing our first piece of research on Quest Water Global (QWTR) we thought we had experienced one of the nastiest manifestations of micro-cap fraud. Here we had a company that was clearly setup to sell shares to US investors at inflated prices by undisclosed persons residing offshore. Worst, the story being sold to naïve investors was one of a humanitarian mission that would help produce water from air to the impoverished in Angola.
Then we encountered Chimera Energy Corp. (CHMR.OB) and Nova Mining Corp. (NVMN.OB) two interrelated scams that combined have less than $130,000 in cash, no physical office space, and negative shareholder equity that have been manipulated to a combined market valuation nearing $200,000,000 by an unnamed Houston based stock promoter.
Unfortunately the facilitator of these stock scams and many others like it is one of our country's most innovative and respected companies: Google (GOOG) - through their online advertising system AdWords. Without Google, scams like CHMR and NVMN would never find their way to the portfolios of naive investors. Google is the trusted bridge investors cross when searching for keywords that are relevant to their investment goals. Keywords such as: "Safe investments", "Online Trading", and "Fixed Investments". Only on the other side of this bridge are stock promoters who pay more than TD Ameritrade or E*TRADE for the right to place their ads on top of Google's search results. Inexperienced investors click these ads and eventually a few take the bait purchasing shares directly from promoters for $1, $2, and even $3 a share having no idea that the shares being sold to them were purchased for less than half a penny and that the company underlying these shares has no inherent value.
We sincerely believe that Google executives are completely in the dark and don't fully comprehend the destruction in wealth being facilitated by these ads. We remind Google to refer to its Prospectus from 2004 where it stated "DON'T BE EVIL"
In our view Google should not allow non-registered firms to advertise any securities period. Just as Google does not allow offshore gambling sites from advertising to U.S. persons it should regulate the entities bidding on financial related keywords. A copy of this report was forwarded to Google's Chief of Compliance. We recommend that readers who share this view do the same.
In Part 1 of this report we will cover CHMR - a Company with one employee and tangible equity of just $4,549 (not even enough to buy a 2003 Ford Focus) that is valued at $120,000,000 with nearly $40,000,000 in free trading float shares being liquidated into unsophisticated retail investors. Part 2 will cover NVMN and more details on the identity of the man from Houston orchestrating these frauds through offshore companies in the Marshall Islands.
Chimera Energy (CHMR) Fundamentals
Current Share Price (8/9/2012)
Cash as of March 30,2012
$97,708 (likely much lower now)
Debts & Liabilities as of March 30, 2012
$-111,929 (likely higher now)
Shareholder Equity as of March 30, 2012
Revenues For the 90 Days Ended March 30, 2012
Undisclosed Shares in Float (Believed to be Promoter Shares)
Price paid for Undisclosed Free Trading Shares in Float
Full Time Employees
1 - Charles Earl Grob, Jr. AKA Chuck Grob, Age: 31
Chimera Energy doesn't have a physical corporate office. Instead they lease a virtual office from ServCorp for $200 a month electing to use their address forwarding and virtual phone number plan. We are puzzled as to why the perpetrators of this scam didn't elect to choose the $305 a month plan which included access to a conference room. Surely even promoters could make use of a physical conference room.
The most effective exercise in demonstrating to readers that CHMR is a scam is to review its chronology from inception to now through the perspective of Charles E. Grob Jr. the 31 year old who is the only named employee in the company, as well as through the role of the unnamed Houston promoter that owns the 20,000,000 free trading shares purchased for $.0038.
Charles Earl Grob Jr.
August 5, 2011
Incorporates a company in Nevada named Chimera Energy by issuing to himself 10,000,000 shares @ $.0001 per share for a total investment of just $10,000.
August 22, 2011
Borrows $100,000 @ 15% interest from Kylemore, Corp. an offshore company incorporated in the Marshall Islands.
September 1, 2011
Rents a Virtual Office in Houston for $200 a month
October 10, 2011
Pays a total of $10,950 to become publicly traded ($1,500 transfer agent, $4,000 auditor, $5,000 legal) through form S-1
December 21, 2011
Receives approval for his S1 from the SEC
January 6, 2012
Sells 5,000,000 free trading shares relying on the S-1 filed with the SEC to "third parties" @ $.015 per share.
Here the roles split…
Charles Earl Grob Jr.
Unnamed Houston Promoter
March 1, 2012 - As the sole CEO/COO/CFO and Director, awards himself a salary of $2,500 a month.
April 2012 - Sets up a cloud server hosting account with Rackspace in San Antonio Texas. This account will be used to host the websites and promotional referral sites used in the scams CHMR and NVMN.
June 26, 2012 - Effectuates a 4:1 Forward Split lowering his average cost to $.00025 and that of the 20,000,000 free trading float shares owned by the unnamed Houston promoter to $.0038.
July 26, 2012 - Licenses a technology from a Chinese company nobody has ever heard of for $5,000 a month in a 4 page contract with no mention of any patent numbers or description of the technology.
June 2012 - Produces a 2:29 minute long promotional video full of sound bites and generalities relating hydraulic fracturing. Aside from conjecture relating to the conceptualization of the licensed technology no tangible evidence is provided to as to the history, effectiveness or existence of this potentially world-changing service.
July 30, 2012 - Puts out a sensational press release touting a technology licensed less than 90 hours prior as a "breakthrough" that will replace an industry standard drilling technique employed by multi-billion dollar energy companies for nearly a decade.
July 2012 - Sets up and funds a Google AdWords account as well as accounts with other online PPC (pay per click) companies. Sets up and funds an account with the Wall Street Journal online network for display ads that will run on: WSJ.com, Barrons.com, and MarketWatch.com. Initiates the distribution of the ads coinciding with the first press release issued by Charles Earl Gorb Jr. on July 30, 2012.
From August 1, 2012 - August 10, 2012 puts out 6 press releases in 8 trading days discussing everything from how the recent drought makes his technology even more attractive to how he plans on attending a conference anybody with $475 can attend while making sure to cram as many multi-national stock symbols into the press releases like (HAL) (SLB) (ECA) and (CLR) so that naïve investors browsing those company's financial news feeds might accidentally see these releases and be duped into investing their hard-earned savings.
July 30-Present - A blitzkrieg of display and text ads is ultimately successful in duping retail investors into purchasing CHMR shares directly from the promoter. During this period the promoter liquidates some of the 20,000,000 shares that were purchased for $.0038 at a minimum price of $1.00 and as high as $2.00. From July 30th until August 10th over 5,288,000 shares of CHMR trade hands at an average price of $1.55 for $8,218,000 worth of dollar volume.
Unfortunately the perpetrators of this scam have thus far rung the register to the tune of over $8,000,000. That money has come from the brokerage accounts of hard-working U.S. investors that were most probably new to the world of investing or were gullible enough to believe that CHMR was a legitimate enterprise. As we explained in the opening section of the report it is not entirely their fault as the path which led them to CHMR was one they instinctively trust.
Wall Street Journal Advertisement for Chimera Energy:
Even the most astute investors could fall for such an ad believing that the Wall Street Journal with its impeccable reputation would at minimum scrub their advertising clients before allowing an ad on their website. There is no doubt in our minds that Rupert Murdoch would have put an end to this immediately had he known his most prized possession is being used as a tool to dupe investors. Investors that are outraged should email their complaints to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Google Adwords Promotion
The WSJ network display ads were only a small component of the CHMR promotion. The real heavy lifting was done through the Google Adwords platform. Here the unnamed Houston promoter was able to leverage Google's search engine to target keywords that would deliver the most relevant investors to his doorstep. Using SEO profiler we were able to identify 7 different text ads used by the promoter:
These ads were displayed whenever a variety of keywords were typed by unsuspecting googlers. While it is nearly impossible to know exactly what keywords were used with SEO profiler we found at least 7:
The keyword selection should make any reader feel sick to their stomach. Picture a retiree searching for "fixed interest savings" in this low yield environment only to be matched with an advertisement for Chimera Energy. The retiree then proceeds to invest his/her savings by purchasing shares of CHMR at $1.55 only to find the shares worthless several months later. As we mentioned in the opener this is simply wrong and Google has to put an end to it. They can no longer sit by while investors are being delivered to promoters like sheep's to the slaughterhouse. Quality control must be employed before allowing anyone to target investment related traffic. We recommend a simple rule requiring a firm to be registered with the SEC as an investment advisory in order to recommend a security for purchase.
While the majority of the PPC campaign was carried out via Google Adwords other websites like Yahoo (YHOO) and Ask.com were also used by the promoters. These companies need to beef up their quality control as well and refuse this type of business. In this screenshot we see text ads that were displayed on other leading websites. These ads are still being displayed as of 8/13/2012.
The Smoking Gun
The smoking gun was discovered when we traced the IP Address of the server used to host the website for Chimera Energy. Basically all web servers (which are nothing but computers running software to serve web pages) are assigned unique IP addresses on the Internet. If a web server is hosting a website, the IP address of that site will be the same as that of the server. And if multiple domains are hosted on that web server they will all have the same IP address which will again be the same as that of the web server.
Using CMD, we pinged the chimeraenergyusa.com website and found that the IP Address of the web server was: 18.104.22.168
Next we used Bing to do an IP Search. The results are the websites being hosted on the same web server as the IP address being entered:
A Coincidence? We think not. There are only 5 websites being hosted on this web server which indicate that it's an exclusive server as opposed to a shared server with many independent sites. But this one server hosts the sites of two publicly traded OTCBB companies: NVMN and CHMR, which are both run out of virtual offices in Texas, started trading at or around the same time, and have had the same type of display and keyword ads being plastered all over the internet.
As far as we are concerned the nail in the coffin in terms of connecting the promoters to the companies is the fact that foxmarketreport.com and zerowaterfracking.com are both hosted on the same servers as nova-mining.com and chimeraenergyusa.com. Fox Market Report is a fake investment report website meant to appear as though it's related to the Fox News Network. ZeroWaterFracking is a site used to refer investors to Chimera Energy's main site. These sites act as conduits and refer even more traffic to each respective company leading to more conversions (investors being duped into buying shares). The promoters use these sites to monopolize the available space on the Google Adwords system as one site can only take one spot. Two sites bidding the highest price will take the top two spots. Two simultaneous scams with two referral sites will take up 4 spots meaning that every conversion results in a sale of worthless shares at artificial prices.
We urge investors to stay away from both CHMR and NVMN as they both have no tangible value and are simply publicly traded tools being employed by unscrupulous promoters to sell shares to the unsuspecting investor. In the first part of this report we covered CHMR. In part 2 we will cover NVMN as well as unveil more data relating to the man behind these two scams. In full disclosure we are short shares of CHMR and NVMN but stress that the amount of shares is insignificant as a percentage of our assets. We write these exhaustive reports in an effort to educate investors and prevent them from falling into these traps. With this report we also hope to see policy changes implemented at Google, News Corp, Yahoo, and AOL, companies we greatly admire that simply do not understand the extent they are being used as pawns in these schemes.
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one. - Charles Mackay, 1841"
Disclosure: We are short shares of CHMR and NVMN