So it has been some time since I have written on the OPCA movement. Real legal work has taken up a lot of my time. But a new development has caught my eye which is worthy of attention.
Peter of England (aka Alan Peter Michael Smith and variants thereof) is a fairly long-standing OPCA guru. Unusually he [claims] to be legally qualified (LLB) and has a slightly vague background including military service and running an investment software company.
Peter has launched various endeavours and his Freeman Legal Services is probably deserving of a post on its own but today I’m going to touch on his “Bank” Were Bank.
Apparently going for some time as part of Peter’s Re Movement the Were Bank has recently hit its stride and now claims hundreds of members.
Joining is simple. Pay £10 per month via Paypal (selecting the family and friends option so there are no charges for the seller and no refunds) and pay £25 for your very own RE cheque book complete with Allonges. You also have to lodge a £150,000 promissory note as some sort of collateral. Although Peter also has other “assets” in the form of bonds and his own 1% transaction tax.
The cheque books are fairly convincing and obviously professional printed but appear to be identical, lacking an account holders name, unique account number or valid sort code. Indeed the sort code appears to be Smith’s date of birth in reverse.
The allonge is a curious idea borrowed misleadingly from Section 32(1) Bills of Exchange Act 1882. From the French allonger (to lengthen) an allonge is a slip of paper annexed to a negotiable bill of exchange if there is not room on the back to write all the indorsements and are then deemed to be written on the bill itself. Peter’s use of the allonge seems to be to add a layer of confusion as to why the cheque should be accepted.
The Bank has been heavily promoted by Ceylon, Get out of debt free and Peter of England’s site and Facebook page and he has had numerous sign ups from the credulous and desperate.
Peter’s motto of “Don’t fight it, just pay it!” is obviously appealing to OPCA followers who have failed to discharge various debts using the myriad of other process on goodf and elsewhere.
Facebook and Goodf shows that various people have signed up and jumped in at the deep end “paying off” mortgages, council tax bill, credit cards, legal aid bills and utilities. Some have written cheques for £120,000 to clear a mortgage whereas others have started small with buying a TV Licence.
Peter’s bank and his cheques are, in my view, fundamentally flawed on a number of levels. Aside from the technical difficulties which mean they will be unable to clear in the standard electronic clearing system. Peter’s bank has a number of legal issues.
- Peter’s institution is not a bank in that it is not regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. If Peter is carrying on business without regulation could constitute criminal offence under Section 23 carrying a 2 year prison sentence as well as possible civil remedies for those affected.
- The printing, possession and use of the cheques is, in my view, likely to constitute both Criminal and Civil fraud if my understanding of how the cheques work is correct. The Fraud Act 2006 contains various criminal offences including Section 6 Possession etc. of articles for use in frauds, Section 7 Making or supplying articles for use in frauds and of course Section 2 Fraud by false representation. In cheque type cases the false representation is that the cheque is genuine and would be honoured by being paid by the bank. Some of Peter’s customers might be able to escape fraud charges if they can show that they didn’t knows that the representation (eg paying with a Were Cheque) is, or might be, untrue or misleading. Actual knowledge that the representation might be untrue is required not awareness of a risk that it might be untrue. Incidentally Peter mentions the cheques were printed by Communisis. Especially interesting as Communisis are an accredited printer.
- It appears the cheques will not be cleared. Even on Peter’s own case it is unclear if he intends or has the means of paying the cheques if and when payment is demanded. It is equally unclear if he intends to pay in pounds or in his own Re Unit currency.
- Payment by cheque could easily reset any possible statute barred debts as they would likely constitute acknowledging the existence of a debt in writing.
- Paying for something by cheque engages the “cheque rule” which means writing a cheque is an unconditional promise to pay irrespective of the underlying contract. If a cheque bounces the aggrieved party has two options, to sue under the contract for non-payment or to sue on the cheque for failing to pay on demand, often a swifter process and affording no real defence.
Unsurprisingly Peter’s scheme has already started to go awry.
Initial excitement developed when balances were zeroed on some accounts, although any user of cheques will know that until the 6 day clearing period is up it is common for cheques to be credited only for the balance to be reversed later down the line.
Soon the negative reports started coming in:
“Emily Love-Light D
30 April 13:05
Hi Peter, Barclaycard have called again and said I’ve been issues with fraudulent cheques from their intelligence. He won’t say what it is. And he said he’s called were bank. I asked what makes him think it’s fraudulent and does her know where Barclays funds originate from! He early doesn’t know it’s the federal reserve. But they’re saying they will dishonour the cheque”
1 May 09:30
Morning again. It looks like natwest are not accepting them. Had a look this morning at my credit card online and the payment is showing but the balance has changed back to what it was, unlike yesterday when it was showing a zero balance. What do u think is happening?”
2 May at 00:15
Benjamin this is similar to my experience. I got a message in my account (and a letter) saying the account was now paid in full. Then I noticed another message this morning saying ‘unpaid cheque’. I think the bank accepts the cheque and then it gets stopped at clearing cos of the sort code. They don’t seem to be using the clearing hotline”
Peter has become increasingly angry:
“TROLLS – SHILLS – IDIOTS – THE DOWNRIGHT STUPIDLY MISCHIEVIOUS, ignoramuses AND THOSE NEGATIVELY PRE-DISPOSED TOWARDS THAT WHICH WE ARE DOING, WILL BE BANNED FROM THE PAGE. IF THEY DON’T AGREE THEN THEY STAY AWAY AND SHOULD FIND SOME INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED PAGE COMMENSURATE WITH THEIR PRONOUNCED PREDISPOSITION TOWARDS THEIR MASTERS OF THE NWO WHICH THEY SERVE WITH BLIND BLANKED MIND IGNORANCE”
4 May at 12:59 ·
SEVERAL MEMBERS HAVE “COMPLAINED” saying they have been accused of FRAUD or have been told the cheque is “fraudulent”. This is nonsense and can easily be disproved, but look at it from the bankers POV. This word is inappropriately used.
They [our ReMembers] are NOT helping their own cause or case as they ReFuse to follow the BIBLE = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth and they have & continue to make errors, which aren’t too serious BUT cause confusion in the minds of the bank clerks and clearers.
Upon speaking to them [ReMembers] and asking the following questions they reply often as follows and some have MADE EVERY SINGLE MISTAKE BELOW ON THE SAME PRESENTMENT!!
- Did you sign the cheque on the back = YES = MISTAKE
2.Did you make it payable to the entity asking for the money? NO= MISTAKE
- Did you make it payable to the POST OFFICE? YES= MISTAKE
- Have you tried to pay it into your own account or an account in your name? YES= MISTAKE
5.Did you attach an allonge to your cheque or enclose one? NO = MISTAKE
7 May at 19:19 ·
OH…How they winge!!! FIRST THE WINGE AND THEN MY REPLY BELOW…
I know you’re busy and under pressure and I’m not being rude but I am being asked questions all the time. Get out of Debt Free members are also getting restless too.
Unfortunately a lot of people are concerned as they are not seeing any results at the moment and don’t know if cheques have been honoured, as there is no way of checking what is going on. How long is it going to be before the site has access to internet banking?
If you need help this weekend I can make myself available to you for a few hours to help with the back log. I know you have the meeting on the 23rd but that is a long way off and then there is going to be the period of set up too.
Can you let me know what is going on so I can let the others know?
Much is happening I don’t have time to comment on it all.Several people have confirmed that their accounts have been CONFIRMED TO ZERO.
Others have said accounts were zeroed and then a week later re-adjusted back.You must decide the legality of that – if you acted upon it…they have a fiduciary liability to provide “accurate accounting!”
Others say that their bank has said that they phoned WeRe Bank and “we” refused to clear the cheque. Utter rubbish! And common sense says there could be no truth in this and we would gain nothing!
Others (bank operatives) say it’s FRAUD and there is no money to clear the cheques and they(the DRAWER , er you) have therefore been duped!
Now, Let’s get a few things straight for the ReCord, should we!
I have led you towards the “”Promissory Note Land”” but you too have got to get a grip of yourselves and fight for what YOU CLAIM THE CHEQUES TO BE nothing short of your inheritance:
Post this on GOODF:
1. If you have stapled an Allonge to the cheque…
2. If you have NOT signed it on the back….
3. If you have NOT made it payable to SELF/CASH or your own company or a friend…
4. If they have zeroed your account and then re-adjusted it
5. If they say WeRe Bank refused to clear it or that you have been duped etc….
6. If they claim fraud etc…..
7. And you have made Notarial Protest….
THEN YOU CONTACT THEM BY LETTER, RECORDED DELIVERY, AND STATE THAT YOU NEED THEM TO CONFIRM IN WRITING THE TIME AND DATE AT WHICH THEY CONTACTED US [WeRe Bank] under full commercial liability and penalty of perjury] AND TO STATE IN A FEW LINES WHO MADE THE CALL OR WHO WILL CONFIRM IT IN COURT & WHY THEY CLAIM THERE ARE NO FUNDS AVAILABLE AS YOU ARE CONSIDERING BRING LEGAL ACTION……not against THEM but against:……
WeRe Bank…and you are calling them as a witness for the PROSECUTION….Ok?
So, now off with the wingeing and on with the battle – what did you expect? For the enemy just to roll over and play dead – after thousands of years of domination?
Man up – all of you, get some steel in your spines and on with the task
Paypal and Peter’s personal building society Nationwide have not taken matters lying down either.
Peter Of England
Just to let everyone know that I’m still alive, well and getting on with the decision for change….
1. PayPal have taken down the account and won’t communicate with me.
2. Nationwide B/Soc have disappeared my account and I can’t, as of 10am this morning, tell me why.
3. The website has been taken off line by someone transferring the site to elsewhere it has NOT been hacked
4. Much rumour travels faster than the speed of light – I’m not going anywhere and am pushing ahead with clearing your cheques and helping you towards a more free and equitable existence which all the critics wold with-hold from you. So if you find out who they are, if they ever dare show, then you’ll know what their intentions towards you are. Peter
Like many other OPCA schemes the only person benefiting in the medium to long term is going to be Peter who has no doubt made some serious money from this. As for his customers they are going to put themselves deeper in debt and at risk of criminal prosecution. Time will tell if the justice system will catch up with Mr Smith too, but like most failed schemes I have no doubt this will quietly slip from the radar in the next few weeks as things continue to unravel for Were Bank and its unfortunate victims / customers.
I’m grateful to members of Quatloos anti-fraud forum who drew my attention to Peter’s Bank and have written many wise and interesting things in the increasingly large thread dedicated to Peter here