Why I got BANNED from BMV Facebook group, and it was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me :-)
This is something I would never get involved with now as I’m no longer a “keyboard warrior”, it’s not good for business. But back when I was starting out I was shocked at the way some obvious crooks operated with apparent impunity.
There is quite a backstory to this so please bear with me.
Phil Martin is now in jail, but he and I have ‘form’. When his Rapid House Buyers empire went down in 2010 he took a lot of people’s money with him, a figure of £2.4M was quoted.
This was mostly in deposits for portfolio-building services. He got 18 months jail for earlier frauds and stealing from the receivers after he’d gone bankrupt. No sooner was he out than he was on trial again for the more serious charges, and this time he got 7 years and 4 months for fraud and insolvent trading. He’d taken the deposits knowing that he was going to go bankrupt. Many, including myself, were shocked at the scale of the losses but at the time he appeared unrepentant. However, later he said he was sorry and that he would attempt to repay the losses. I and many others wished him well with this. To date he claims to have repaid £28,000, but has provided no evidence for this.
An undischarged bankrupt cannot be a company director, but a short time after the company was liquidated another company, in the same name, was started up in his wife’s name and using the same discredited formula of taking advance payments for ‘BMV deals’ before the deals were actually sourced. The reality is nobody can generate that many deals that quickly in a small and very competitive area (Milton Keynes). It looked as if history would repeat itself. And it did.
While many lost their savings and their homes, Phil Martin continued to live in a £1M mansion, drive an Aston (Martin!) and send his kids to private school. Many, including myself, wondered how this was possible. The answer soon became apparent. He set up a company claiming to provide cavity wall insulation, took thousands of £ in deposits, then folded the company.
During all this time Phil Martin continued to tout his wares as a property guru on the internet. I’d been particularly vocal in trying to warn off newbies who were unaware of his past. It got me few thanks and a lot of hassle, and I’ve been accused of ‘bullying’ Phil Martin by people unaware of the truth. This is why Phil Martin tried to gain ‘revenge’ – more on this later.
So many of us who knew the history were shocked when Phil Martin suddenly popped up on the BMV Facebook group a few months before I originally wrote this blog, offering Millionaire Mentoring services to newbies, and more shocked when the management of BMV appeared to condone this. A possible explanation became apparent when it was learned that Shimon Rudich, who administers BMV, was Phil Martin’s solicitor for many years and possibly still has a number of tie-ins with him.
Shimon Rudich worked hard to protect Phil from the inevitable approbation of those of us who have ‘been around the block a few times’, threatening to ban anyone who criticised him, and instigating a strict ‘no-name-and-shame’ policy which co-incidentally worked very well to protect Phil Martin. Phil Martin is able to present himself as very knowledgeable and helpful which made people like and trust him because they didn’t realise what he’s really like. Worryingly he still has many followers on BMV and elsewhere.
A few days later one of his creditors appeared expressing dismay that he was back selling again, so as a FYI post I posted a link back to the Property Tribes discussion above. The discussion was soon deleted.
Phil Martin’s revenge. This is when things started to get surreal.
On the 20th October 2014 a rash of links appeared on at least 13 different property groups including BMV to a website alleging that I am a crook who has taken investor’s funds and committed mortgage fraud, amongst other things. Ironically all the same things Phil Martin has been found guilty of himself. The links were posted by Nav Tohan, an employee of Phil Martin. The website was also created on 20th October, the same day Nav Tohan claimed to have accidentally stumbled upon it. Here is a discussion with a lot of useful information from Adam Hosker who has been a true friend throughout this awful episode. Click the SEE MORE button at the top to see the whole discussion.
And here is the website created by Phil Martin to discredit me.
At first I laughed when I saw it, but then I realised it could have very serious implications for my business which relies heavily on the internet.
Then things got even more surreal. The response from Shimon Rudich was to ban me from the BMV group for being nasty to Phil (posting that link) while allowing Phil Martin to stay. He also banned any mention of Phil Martin’s name in critical posts about him, and continues to protect and promote the fraudster on his forum.
I have since been introduced to a much better-run forum by Sue Maxwell Smith
and I want to help promote and grow it.
On 06/11/2014 together with Ken Edmondson I also started my own new rapidly-growing group, it had over 1,000 members within a fortnight and was running itself, no longer reliant on me feeding it! It was my intention to grow it into the liveliest, best and biggest UK property forum within the year, and I’m delighted to say it achieved that within about 6 weeks. That amazed me, but they do say that the time to start a new business is when the competition is doing it badly, and the management of the biggest group, BMV, was not good. They also banned Duncan Belton for exposing Mark I’Anson, another fraudster, who, incredibly, was one of their mods at the time. So people came over very readily. Please come and join us!!!
I hope this message will reach as many of my friends on BMV group as possible, I was worried that they would think I’d just ‘disappeared’. And even more worried about Phil Martin continuing to scam more unsuspecting people on the BMV group.