An Interview with Legolas (12/29/11)

StewieDuring my time at Dinar Vets I was fortunate to come across some posts by a member named Legolas, a former detective who has a unique perspective on the dinar because of his experience in investigating crimes like fraud. (Legolas is known for his cool avatar, which is an animated gif of Stewie from The Family Guy.)  Although our backgrounds are completely different, his experiences and observations are remarkably similar to mine.

Sam I Am: Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the dinar.  Could you tell us a little about your background?

Legolas: I suppose that the background which fellow Dinar investors would be interested in would be the 15 years I spent in law enforcement – eight of those years as a Detective, and 6 as a Detective Lieutenant. Extensive training and experience in all types of criminal investigation taught me to base my opinions on tangible evidence gleaned from thorough investigation, and the evidence available in the Dinar situation is overwhelming, to put it mildly.

Sam I Am:  I understand you investigated fraud.  How does that impact your views on the dinar?

Legolas: I did investigate quite a bit of fraud.  Obviously, with the Dinar situation, until something finally occurs to resolve the RD/RV debate, it’s virtually impossible to label it as fraud, but the indicators are certainly there to make an investigator extremely suspicious.  All one has to do is review the tens of thousands of readily available posts from the various pumpers and gurus over the past 5 years to make a reasonable determination that these people have been either: 1) Lying; or 2) deceived to the extent where it would be virtually impossible to believe that they could be “quite so naive.”  Clearly the more likely scenario is that they have created an extremely well-orchestrated program to disseminate false information which is specifically designed to encourage people to buy the Iraqi Dinar – billions, if not trillions of them after the 6-7 years this has been going on.  Personally, given the overwhelming evidence available, I believe it’s blatantly evident that these people have been fabricating this information for years, and buyers of the IQD have been eating it up out of desperation and greed.  To believe otherwise is simply incredibly naive at this point in the game.  A person can be wrong once or twice and it be considered a coincidence, but after hundreds, or in some cases “thousands” of times, coincidence is easily ruled out, and frankly, that’s a really nice way of putting it.

Absent an extensive investigation, it’s difficult to “prove” motive, but the most obvious would be financial gain.  There are two major beneficiaries of the ongoing IQD disinformation campaign – #1) The dealers, and #2) The G.O.I.  Clearly, and by their own admission, the dealers have been selling literally billions of Dinars each month for several years now, and the number of dealers has grown substantially over time.  Initially, they were making a gross profit margin of roughly 20% above the IQD exchange rate.  That number has now grown to more than 40% in 2011 as their prices have increased – an amazing profit for a relatively low overhead, single product business.

Obviously the dealers are therefore the main beneficiary of the undeniably fraudulent efforts of the pumpers and gurus which have been ongoing for many years, but to be fair, there is another – the Iraqi Government and its banks.  Clearly, through the “investment” in the IQD, they have been the recipient of what amounts to extremely long term, interest-free “loans” of millions of Dollars each month.  In theory, all they have to do is keep printing additional Dinars month after month, and exporting them in exchange for U.S. Dollars, or other foreign currencies.  CBI and IMF records demonstrate that the number of Dinars in circulation have in fact grown by “trillions” for the past several years. As long as there is a continued belief that the IQD will “someday” increase in value, purchasers will be reluctant to exchange their Dinars back to U.S. Dollars, and the G.O.I.can continue to exchange what amounts to worthless paper for much more valuable Dollars.  As long as those IQD’s remain out of circulation, they cost Iraq virtually nothing aside from the cost of paper and ink..

Therefore, we have two potential perpetrators of fraud, if a person is inclined to believe that this is quite possibly one of the largest ever conceived, and it will continue to grow until or unless the RD/RV debate is finally resolved one way or another.  Hence the obvious dilemma, which only an extensive investigation would resolve.

Sam I Am: How did you learn about the dinar?

Legolas: I heard about the Dinar about three years ago from a respected friend who had been convinced that the Dinar was within days, if not hours of revaluing, and that it was a unique opportunity which very few people were aware of. He had invested close to $10,000, so I assumed that there must be something to it. At the time, the risk vs. reward ratio and the apparent likelihood that I might miss out on a “once in a lifetime” opportunity if I didn’t act quickly convinced me to invest without looking into it as carefully as I would have under ordinary circumstances. I knew that it sounded way too good to be true, but at the same time, didn’t want to wait until it was too late to make a decision, and then have to deal with a lifetime of regret if I failed to act quickly. Needless to say, three years later, it’s painfully obvious that there was no need to hurry, and that the implied “imminent RV” is a huge part of the Dinar investment hook. 

Sam I Am: What do you think about the information you get on the forums?

Legolas: I guess it depends on what you look at on the forums. Unfortunately, most people are drawn to the Rumors and Opinions contained on the various sites instead of the real news, and due to issues with translation, many of the news stories, already questionable in terms of reliability, are easily misinterpreted or twisted to say what most of us want to hear. That being the case, most of the forums have little actual value, aside from making a great deal of money for the site owners and Dinar dealers. It is human nature to want to believe information which appears to support hopes and dreams, and ignore what would otherwise be easily recognized as common sense. There is a great deal of valuable information presented by some members of the forums, but it rarely receives the attention it deserves for a variety of reasons.

Sam I Am:
How did you get started on dinar forums?

Legolas: My invested friend eventually heard about a forum called “Dinar Rumors” where “sfmedic” apparently got his start. Gradually I became more involved in following and participating in that forum. Within a few weeks, I learned that Med had a second, private group consisting of what he considered to be a “think tank” consisting of a much smaller group of about 110 investors who appeared to have access to information and analysis that we didn’t have at D.R., and which several thousand members anxiously waited for almost daily as Med would pop in to give his Dinar chats. That site was known as “Dinar Veterans” (not the current large D.V. site run by Adam Montana). I was asked to join Med’s private site, and that began my real Dinar education.

Having access to the elite “D.V. site,” I stopped going to D.R. The Dinar Rumors site eventually seemed to dwindle in size, and appeared to be replaced by a new site run by Med known as “D.S. – Dinar Speculators.” Like the smaller D.V. site, admission to the much larger D.S. site was by invitation, and it gradually grew in size to thousands of members.

Initially, I was unaware that in addition to D.R., D.V., and D.S., there was also a rather lengthy, and growing list of similar Dinar forums on the net, all of which appeared to be disseminating the “imminent RV” information, albeit from many different and equally inaccurate sources. After a few months, my “Spidey Senses” kicked in, and it became obvious that virtually all of the so-called “intel” we had been receiving was 100% fabricated BS, and although our small site seemed to have access to the best of it, this didn’t alter the fact that everything date and rate related was absolutely useless. Gradually, after nearly a year of following it all very closely, still believing that there was at least a “remote chance” that something positive might occur with the Dinar, I began doing my own intensive research instead of reading only what was being bounced around the various Dinar forums.

Sam I Am: How have your views on this investment changed since you first invested?

Legolas: Initially I believed it to be an extreme longshot, but not absolutely impossible. The likelihood of a one thousand Dollar investment turning into one to three (or more) MILLION Dollars overnight seemed remote, but there appeared to be a fair number of rational people who believed that it was at least “possible” when I first jumped in more than three years ago. Following the so-called forum facts very closely, it became easy to believe that we might see an impressive r.o.i. I never believed the $3 plus nonsense that was being thrown around, but initially, at least, I thought something close to a 1:1 RV might be possible. BUT, and this was a very important but, that was before I began doing my own research into the financial realities in Iraq. I knew that they were a war-torn, essentially third-world country with rampant poverty, decimated infrastructure, and limited education, in addition to being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. That being said, it also appeared to me that their currency was artificially undervalued based on their potential resources.

Unfortunately that was before I began studying the readily available financial reports from the CBI and the IMF which indicated that Iraq has an M2 of close to 60 TRILLION Dinars, and approximately 27 TRILLION Dinars in circulation, with the number increasing each of the past 5 years.

Iraq currently has reserve currency of approximately $59 BILLION Dollars. Keep in mind that it takes 1,000 Billion to make 1 Trillion, and one can quickly see the significance of the numbers involved – yet most people refuse to understand or accept that significance.

I could go on for many pages explaining the significance of those and many other important facts, but the simple truth is that in the event of even a $1 revaluation, each one of those Dinars becomes a Dollar – meaning that they would then have 27 TRILLION DOLLARS in circulation – or 81 Trillion if you subscribe to the $3 RV theory. The simple truth is that this is more money than exists in the entire world. Most people seem to have no concept of what this means, but to keep it simple, it just isn’t even the slightest bit possible under ANY circumstances. There is no scenario under which a $1 RV can be rationalized – EXCEPT after a re-denomination, or lop – and this is exactly what Shabibi has been describing in literally hundreds of articles over the past eight months or so, but very few Dinarians are willing to accept this extremely plausible, and very common scenario as reality. By removing the three zeros from the Dinar, they immediately reduce the M2 from 59 Trillion to 59 Billion, and can THEN justify a 1:1 RV, making the Dinar equivalent to a Dollar. There are many valid reasons for doing this, and a good explanation would consume several pages here. The truth is, it’s been explained many times, and done successfully in several countries, but most people don’t want to hear it.

Sam I Am:  Could you share a bit about your experience with Breitling?

Legolas:  He was a fellow member of Medic’s original DV site 3 years ago, and often brought information to the site from his “supposedly reliable” sources in Dubai regarding the Dinar, and often spoke about the VND.  At one point approximately 2 years ago, he brought information stating that he had information indicating he was certain that the Dong was going to RV to 5-6 cents by the following weekend, and many people therefore rushed out and purchased the VND.  Obviously that RV has never occurred, and in fact the Dong has DE-valued since that time.

Since then, in more recent times, he has started his own radio show, and I’ve been told that he has been encouraging people to purchase smaller denominations of the IQD which are being sold at hugely inflated prices.  Supposedly, this is to negate the risk of the larger denominations being called in quickly, when the smaller could be held and exchanged later at a higher rate.  I personally believe that to be absolute nonsense.  I have no knowledge of his motivations, but common sense would indicate that he is not doing two radio shows daily out of the goodness of his heart.  I suspect that there has to be profit involved.  I personally have no interest in anything he has to say, so I can’t comment further than that.

(NOTE: In April of 2010 Breitling discussed the impending dong RV here, and then held a chat session in June of 2010 where he referred to the dong buying frenzy which he claims that he and Roger “Dinar Daddy” Dorman caused.)

Sam I Am: What do you think motivates these people to post what they do?

Legolas: Two words….Money and/or Ego. Anyone who believes they do it out of the goodness of their hearts is completely delusional. Some of these people have been doing it for years. Others may frequently return with new names after wearing out another one. A person could reasonably believe that these people could be wrong once or twice, and that it might be coincidence. But after 5, 10 or in many cases, hundreds of times, it simply has to be intentional. The list is long, and NONE of them have ever been right.

The dealers and site owners have made a great deal of money selling and promoting Dinars, with no apparent end in sight. Several of them have admitted to selling billions each month, and the prices have increased rather dramatically over the past year or so. The price spread has increased from roughly 20% to 40% or more, with no concurrent increase in the value of the Dinar.

Sam I Am: Why do you think these gurus have been able to get away with what they’re doing up until now?

Legolas: Probably because they’re telling people exactly what they desperately want to hear, and because they’ve been so successful in creating new demand for their services. There appears to be a huge turnover in people on the forums, with new ones entering the scene every day.

Some of the pumpers come across as very knowledgeable and believable if the reader isn’t aware of the fact that they’ve been saying the same things for years. I suspect that as they discover that the gurus/pumpers have been lying, a majority of the site members leave, returning only occasionally, if at all to see if anything has changed. From the questions and comments seen most often, it’s apparent that most of the posters are new and inexperienced.

Those who have been around for a while are either there in an effort to inform the newbies, or they’re so brainwashed that their minds will never be changed. They’ll always believe that the RV is imminent, no matter what the evidence demonstrates.

Sam I Am: Where do you think we’ll be with the dinar a year from now?

Legolas: Unfortunately, I suspect that we’ll be exactly where we are today, just as we have been for the past several years. If I’ve learned anything over the past three years, it’s that Iraq does nothing quickly. Whether the ultimate result is RV, RD, or no change at all, it’s clear that they’re in no hurry to make a decision regarding the Dinar, as well as a multitude of other important matters pertaining to the operation of their country. I could go on for hours regarding the problems of sectarianism, but that’s a topic for another day.

Sam I Am: What advice do you have for people thinking about investing in the dinar?

Legolas: Despite my complete reversal of opinion over the past 12 months or so, I’ve never told people that they shouldn’t buy Dinar, and I’ve never encouraged anyone to sell. For most people, a small Dinar purchase should be relatively painless, provided that they accept and can afford a potential loss of 40-60% or more of their investment without causing great harm to their financial situation. Personally, I’ve now sold more than 50% of my initial Dinar holdings, and expect to sell more in the near future. My own carefully considered opinion is that the CBI will eventually RD, (removing the three zeros) and I’m “hopeful” that at the same time, or shortly thereafter, they increase the value sufficiently that those of us who purchased at a good price might still make a small profit. It’s important that you do the math to determine just how large that increase would have to be in order to cover the exchange spread on both purchase and sale.

Sam I Am: Do you expect any arrests or class action lawsuits?

Legolas: That’s a difficult question to answer. I have little doubt that there “should” be, because I believe that laws have been broken, people have been intentionally injured, some very seriously, and the perpetrators have profited – all of which are requirements for a successful criminal prosecution and/or civil action for recovery of damages.

Unfortunately, there are many complexities involved in this situation. First and foremost is the matter of jurisdiction, and the fact that so many individuals and geographical locations are involved. Without a doubt, the offenders are from many different States, Cities, Counties, and even Countries. Virtually any prosecutor in the country could conceivably conduct an investigation and file charges, just as any attorney could file a lawsuit. But the costs involved in preparing a case, presenting evidence, witnesses, victims, etc. would be huge. Because of the immense scope of this situation, the numbers of defendants and victims could conceivably be larger than any case in the history of this country. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any which might be larger. Transportation costs alone would be phenomenally expensive.

Identifying the defendants would be relatively simple, although time consuming. I suspect that identifying victims would be easy as well, although some might be hesitant to admit that they were deceived, depending on the amount of their losses.

Gathering evidence would be relatively simple, as virtually every post is logged on a server “somewhere,” if not on the individual computers of thousands of the investors. IP addresses, phone records, e-mails, instant messages, chats, bank records, etc. are readily available by subpoena. But it would be a huge and very expensive undertaking, and I have to wonder whether any jurisdiction, or even the Federal Government would make a decision to do it.

On the civil side of it, attorneys are looking for deep pockets from which to recover damages. While some of the dealers and websites have undoubtedly made a great deal of money, it very likely would not be an amount sufficient to cover the Dollar value of the losses, or enough to ensure profit to the attorneys involved.

Finally, there is the sympathy factor. Is any jury likely to feel sorry for greedy investors who were sufficiently gullible to believe that a $1,000 investment could magically turn into a Million Dollars or more overnight, as many undoubtedly believed? Was there sufficient evidence readily available which should have shown an individual of reasonable sensibilities that they should have known better than to believe it?

Personally, I think that many of these individuals should be prosecuted, convicted and put away, never again to see the light of day. But will it happen? We can only hope.

Sam I Am: Agreed.  Thanks so much for giving us your perspective, Legolas.  I think you’ve given the dinar world a lot to think about.


Sam sm