Back in January of this year, I wrote a post about a trader calling himself “Adrian Shiroma.” If you missed it, check out the post and why I believe that Adrian Shiroma does not exist and is a Forex scam. I wrote that post a little tongue-in-cheek because I didn't expect much to come of it. But I was very wrong…this scam keeps getting bigger and bigger. Here is the latest…
About about a month ago, a Trading Heroes reader alerted me to the fact that Mr. Shiroma is now promoting a broker called MitsuiFX and believed that the broker is also fake. Here is the actual comment:
Now, in all fairness, this comment is anonymous, so I dug a little deeper. If you go to the GoDaddy whois webpage and look up mitsuifx.com, this is what you currently see:
Notice that they look like a legit Japanese company. Also note that they created the domain name in 2010, but their website says that they have been in business since 1998. Why so long to get a website?
There is also something interesting when you Google: “whois mitsuifx.com”. This page shows that the website server is located in Australia. Why would a Spanish-speaking, Japanese guy with a “Japan-based” company choose to host in Australia? Here is a screenshot:
What I did next
I checked out the Adrian Shiroma blog and saw the Mitsui FX badge. This is a current screenshot and as you can see, Mitsui FX is listed among some legitimate brokers.
I'm kicking myself for not getting a screenshot of the blog at that time because Mr. Shiroma had Mitsui FX slapped all over the place and there was a custom banner. But that is not all, it gets much better.
After that, I naturally checked out the mitsuifx.com website and it was (and still is) ugly. As you probably know, that is one of my criteria for spotting a forex scam. But I could have been wrong, so I looked for more clues.
The thing that stuck out on the website was that they said that they were NFA regulated. I mentioned that in my reply to dragonportis.
Here is what the website looked like with the NFA number. Notice the “NFA Regulated” link at the top and the NFA number in the footer.
From there, I went to the NFA website. They allow you to check on any regulated broker on their broker information page. I entered the NFA number shown above and found that NFA number to belong to MITSUI BUSSAN COMMODITIES USA INC.
This confused me for a minute. Could this really be legit?
I did a name search for “Mitsui” on the broker information page and discovered that MITSUI BUSSAN is owned by MITSUI & CO. Ltd. Interesting…so I surfed on over to the Mitsui & Co., Ltd. website. As you can see, they are a huge legitimate multinational company based in Japan.
Maybe I was wrong about MitsuiFX. But wait a minute…
MITSUI BUSSAN is not listed as an approved Forex broker. Here is the screenshot from the NFA website.
They are listed in commodities and futures, which makes sense because they deal a lot in raw materials like iron and steel. So what the hell are they doing operating an FX brokerage when the are not registered with the NFA?
It was not adding up.
“We don't have a FX division”
At that point, I was stuck.
This was probably a scam, but I couldn't tell where the snake oil was spewing from. Was Mitsui & Co., Ltd not following the rules? Or (the more likely scenario) was MitsuiFX illegally using a legitimate NFA number?
Then I saw a phone number.
Listed on the NFA website was an address (New York) and phone number for MITSUI BUSSAN COMMODITIES USA INC. So I figured, what the hell? I called the number and the conversation went a little something like this…
Mitsui guy: Hello, Mitsui
Hugh: Hi, can I speak to someone in your FX division?
Mitsui guy: We don't have a FX division
Hugh: Well, I'm on a website called mitsuifx.com that shows your NFA number.
Mitsui guy: What's the number?
Mitsui guy: Yup that's our number, but that isn't our website. What's the domain again?
Mitsui guy: OK thanks, I'll get this checked out.
I'm just paraphrasing but you get the picture.
My hopes were sky high
I got off the phone that day thinking that Mitsui & Co. Ltd. would use their vast resources and legal eagles to squash and scamsters at mitsuifx.com. When I checked the site a few days later imagine how disappointed I was when I saw this:
As you can see, all my phone call did was get the “NFA” removed from the menu and the NFA number taken out of the footer.
The only good thing that came out of this was that this was proof that mitsuifx.com was not a part of the legit Mitsui & Co. Ltd. Any company that has to illegally use a NFA number is probalby a scam. As dragonportis also astutely pointed out, Mitsui FX also made their logo look like the Mitsui & Co. Ltd. logo.
But the scam must go on…
Unfortunately, Mr. Shiroma is not your average shyster. He is a stubborn fucker. Here is how he gets around not being “NFA regulated” anymore.
He now offers two different accounts on his blog. I have used Google Translate on the page so we can all understand. The banner is a picture, so cannot be translated, but reading the text at the bottom will give you the information you need. The first and more highly visible banner is for his “Dukascopy account.”
Obviously Dukascopy is a legit broker, so this makes Adrian look like the real deal. But 30% commission for only a 10% return and a 50,000EUR minimum?!
You will understand why when you see this…
Just below the Dukascopy banner is this banner. Ahhh…there is good ol' MitsuiFX. This account has a much lower minimum deposit, promises 25% per month and only charges 15% commission!
It's a no-brainer, right? I have a feeling that if you try to get into the Dukascopy account, they will tell you it is full and will try to get you into the MitsuiFX account.
You are probably wondering what is up with LibertyReserve. I haven't looked into that because this post is getting pretty long as it is, but I have a feeling that it equally shady as MitsuiFX. If you have any information on LibertyReserve, let me know in the comments below.
But here's the kicker…
Adrian's “trading results” are supposedly posted on MyFxBook, a trade reporting system that I also use. However, there is one difference. When you click over to his trading report from his blog, this is what you see:
Notice in the upper right corner that the Track Record is not verified and neither are the Trading Privileges. Why is this important? Because false trading reports can easily be uploaded without these safeguards. Here is the official statement from the MyFxBook blog.
Whew…that is all of the information I was able to dig up on Adrian Shiroma and MitsuiFX since my post in January. I know that you will never fall for this, but I hope that by putting this information out on the internet, it will save some people from losing their hard earned money.
A special thanks goes out to dragonportis for the heads up and help with providing details!
What do you think?
Is this a scam or not? Do you have any personal experience with Adrian Shiroma? Speak out and leave a comment below.
If you believe as strongly as I do that this is a scam, be sure to share this with as many people in the FX community as possible! It will be tough to get any US agency to do anything because they are operating outside of the US, but if this information makes its way to the right people, it could bring down Adrian Shiroma and MitsuiFX.
UPDATE (10/12/2012): The scammers have now resorted to writing totally false articles about me online, saying that I have been convicted of unspeakable acts. I'm working on getting them removed, but I have struck a nerve and these guys mean business!