To think that I've been fooled by a pair of sociopaths?(37 Posts)
I know it seems extreme, but I can't think of any other way to describe them.
So two years ago now I decided it was time for me to get myself a new hobby, I'd been suffering from mental health problems for a while and really needed to find something to get me out of the house. I saw a sports team advertised in the local paper and went along on a whim one night.
I immeditely felt like I'd found somewhere I belonged at last. The club was run by a husband and wife, the wife was the main driving force but the husband was heavily involved as well. Ive made lots of really good friends, but especially this couple. They seemed lovely, warm friendly and welcoming from the off. They would do whatever they could to help team members who were having problems etc and I got to know them and their family really well. They weren't local and were originally from a town about an hour a way from here so didn't know many people and I assumed had founded the team to make friends.
So I became quite heavily involved and enjoyed it a lot, but looking back both always displayed questionable behaviour. They ran a business when I met them, then suddenly got bored of it and closed it down leaving people out of work. The wife in particular had a lot of personality clashes and fell out with so many people I'd be here all day if I listed in them all. Both were incrediably vinditive and would sit and tell you how various people had wronged them, and most disturbingly of all would talk about ways they could ruin their lives (get them sacked etc). To my shame I took the view that they'd always been nice to me and turned a blind eye. Their lives seemed to be full of fall outs, house moves to get away from people and hare brained money making scams and businesses that never came to anything.
So fast forward to now, about three months ago they suddenly decided they didn't want to be involved in the club anymore. They wanted to close it down but the rest of us enjoy it so much and have invested a lot of time in it and wanted to carry on. A group of decided to take over the running, well basically they have left us in a shit load of debt that we are unlikely to ever repay because money from clubs accounts has vanished. All Facebook messages and texts are being ignored, but I can see from FB that they have now set up a new venture in a town 20 miles away with the same kind of fanfare they launched our team with.
It's like they go from place to place, causing chaos and trouble and using people then buggering off. We are probably going to have to close our club, something we enjoy because of this mess. I'm angry and also aghast that I didn't see through them, I pride myself on being a good judge of character and I was so wrong on this one.
How can I have been so easily bloody shafted?
I don't think you have anything to reproach yourself for: they are clearly experienced con artists. I'd get the evidence together and go to the police/Action Fraud.
It's really easy to get taken in especially in the aftermath of a spot of MH trouble. Really easy. Please don't blame yourself for that - rather blame them for spotting that you might be easily influenced. They sound like a pair of shits. I definitely agree that a visit to the Police would be in order. You can't fight people like this with reason and sense - and I'll bet nobody has ever bothered to report them before. Please do it - I think it'll help you in getting to grips with what happened and it might just prevent anyone else being in this situation.
Sadly there are many like then,
most have a higher IQ not all move town and are so obvious.
Ahh yes fraud, well I can't prove where the money has gone from the bank. But they were dab hands at forging certificates and things like that, something I only found out about in the last six months or so.
I'm angry a lot of us had mental health problems. A couple of people with biploar, BPD, Post natal depression and a teenager who self harmed amongst other things. All of us used to make them look good!
By obvious, I mean afterwards. Some are so good you don't even know they scammed you.
I didn't work it out for ages, but others seemed to quite quickly. I remember one girl had quite a serious falling out with the wife and lambasted her on Facebook, the girl was a nurse and the wife said she was going to try and get her struck off because of it.
Is it a club which you could wind up / shut down and then open your own one - new name, new people in charge (ie you)?
I'd definitely all get together, see what paperwork/evidence/fb posts you can gather and go to the police. They may see fit, if nothing else, to issue a warning notice about scams, frauds and shady deals and who knows, these people may already be known to them. You and your fellow victims will have nothing more to lose.
We have so much debt im not sure. We'd have to pay that off first, surely?
I think you should take it to the police. It is the police's job to investigate.
Citizens' Advice Bureau should help you too.
I'm sorry this has happened to you all. I do not know the law, but I would sincerely hope that the fact that there are a number of vulnerable people in your group would be a strongly aggravating factor in the eyes of any court.
No, you don't have to pay the debt if you report it to the police as fraud then approach companies with a crime ref number explaining.
From personal experience of helping a friend with a £1m fraud, they managed to get banks, utility companies, the council etc to put the debt on hold.
There was lots of very obvious evidence, including the perpetrator having around 50 bank accounts and credit cards, fake signatures, fake mortgage applications etc. Yet 2 years after it being reported to the police (and the CPS taking over) the person still has not been charged!!
^ forgot to mention, the whole case in my friends situation is likely to take 4-5 years until the criminal is convicted!!
I think it's really honest and interesting that you wrote "To my shame I took the view that they'd always been nice to me and turned a blind eye". This is exactly how these people continue to get away with awful, shitty behaviour time and time again.
I have been on the receiving end of this kind of shite and felt very alone and abandoned by alleged friends who took the "well, they've always been ok to me" response when I told them just how egregious and obnoxious these people had been to me and others.
In time, they all got a taste of it and I didn't feel vindicated or any kind of schadenfraude, I just felt let down and disappointed that they didn't support me and others when we needed it.
It's a hard lesson OP but you'll know better next time.
I have always been very wary making new friends (I don't have many and it suits me that way). I always observe how much people talk about other people and whether it is positive or negative.
If I make new friends and they start talking vindictively about other people or start gossiping heavily about others - I have always taken the view that eventually they will do the same to me.
If people are nasty to other people but nice to you... it is only a matter of time before they turn nasty to you.
The clues were already there...you were blinded by the fake feeling of being at home with them (socio-paths are excellent at that).
Whatever you do, do not get involved in the club anymore, its bank accounts or anything. When debtors start chasing... it will all hit the fan.
Definitely go to the Police. These are scam artists - they set up their marks over a few months and then up and leave.
If it's the clubs money surely this is a police matter?.
I don't understand how it's now "your" debt? Can you explain in a bit more detail? And how much are we talking here?
My DH and his friends have a sport's club (incorporated, bank accounts, a credit card, etc). If they were to want to quit it & another member wanted to take it over, there would be paperwork to be done and all accounts would have to be transferred to the 'new' management's name with the companies. Technically, all debt would have to be disclosed in a financial accounting & signed off on before the transfer. If there were debt not disclosed to the new 'owners', it would be grounds for legal action.
I think you (or another member) should seek legal advice. Is there a reason you believe that you are legally liable for this debt? Did the group of you 'buy' the club and/or facilities? Is there paperwork showing you assumed all debt? Is your (or another's) name on bank accounts or legal documents?
Well they don't sound all that nice, but then putting a simple spin on it, who gets on with everyone?
As for the money side of things, I don't think that you could have had any way of knowing about that.
I hope that it can be looked into so that the team/club they have set up can be forewarned if necessary.
Best of luck with keeping things going!
But it sounds like you still have the club and a good bunch of people left so not all is lost.
It's the club who is in debt, not the members of it. These two con artists will be listed as founders/trustees whatever.
start a new club with a new name, new committee. no need for them to ruin everything
Would also suggest you start your club from new, get together with some of the others and choose a new name etc.
They should be reported to police for fraud. They sound a dangerous pair of individuals who should be stopped from causing any more chaos and misery. I agree with getting legal advice. Has anything been signed saying you or anybody else have taken over management of the club.
Oh, one thing to remember. Debt collectors don't care who is actually liable for the debt. They just want the debt paid and don't really care who pays it. So just because a collector is telling you that you are liable, don't just assume they're telling you the truth.
I know of a case where a debt collector told an adult child they were personally liable for a rather large credit card debt incurred by their late parent. They weren't, but the company chased them for the debt until they got a lawyer involved.
Just to say, that I am about to write a thread asking where to do a write up of a hypnotherapist who I think is a salesman, waiting for people with MH to happily take there money - so don't worry, you are definitely not the only one
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