A play-by-play look at how one $300,000 ponzi scheme worked.
BlackHatWorld is one of the most popular “internet marketing” forums online. Over 300,000 member accounts and over 1 million visitors in the last month have made over 4 million total posts. The forum is best known for subjects such as the SEO trade, how to defraud search engines, trick advertising services, spam forums and exploit social networks in order to make money.
To begin to get an idea of what sort of place BlackHatWorld is, it’s important to start with the name. In the context of SEO, a “black hat” attempts to improve search engine rankings “in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception.” In contrast, a white hat operates within the law and with “good intentions” as opposed to a black hat operating for personal gain or maliciousness. “White Hats follow rules, Grey Hats bend rules, Black Hats break rules.” The colored hats are names generally assigned to hackers. BHW does have a smaller white hat subforum.
When YouTube launched a major campaign against artificial view inflation — i.e. scamming YouTube — BlackHatWorld is where you found anger about the decision. YouTube’s acts threw a temporary wrench in the operations of several BHW users. When Lance Armstrong publicly admitted to doping and making millions, BlackHatWorld users asked what the difference is between his scam and their own except, of course, for scale.
Showcasing your internet marketing products on BHW can be quite lucrative. An automated blog writer starts a $37 per month to scam your way to the top of Google. A link builder will create thousands of fake forum accounts to build a mountain of valuable links to fool Google at $100. A $57 bot is designed to spam Yahoo! Answers with links to your site and a $40 bot may help you “dominate” Pinterest. Wiki-bombing software will head into highly regarded wikis and add thousands of links to your site.
If you want to run an internet marketing scam, Black Hat World is a good place to start.
BHW bills itself as “THE forum for Internet Marketers and webmasters.”
Most webmasters and internet marketing experts know and follow all the latest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques on the internet at BHW. In fact, Blackhat World is not only the #1 website on the Internet for cutting edge Search Engine Optimization methods it is the No 1 “authority” site. Some of the topics discussed on BHW include but are not restricted to: Outsourcing, Blogging, email marketing, Social Networking, Google Adsense and Google Ad words, hiring freelancers, webmaster tools and many more categories and subjects of interest. In addition, BHW is a great resource for beginners (newbies) and seasoned veterans.
In The Verge, reporter Joseph Flatley called internet marketers the snake oil salesmen of the 21st century at best.
But no matter what sort of salesman they are, BlackHatWorld’s membership boasts thousands of tech literate people making a living online. One would expect that sort of population to have some resistance against internet con artists if for no other reason than sheer familiarity. In fact, this is a forum full of self-professed scammers. Most threads are discussions about how to cheat a variety of systems for personal gain. It ought to be no surprise that, given the right opportunity, many of these people would scam fellow black hatters. This should surprise BHW forum regulars least of all.
Right now, there’s a group of black hatters who have lost $300,000 to a scammer. The victims are wondering how they managed to get so thoroughly blindsided. Was it the illusion of honor among thieves? Was it plain naivete, greed, stupidity, delusion, desperation or a costly combination of all of the above?
Chailak, a Turkish man living in Ukraine, has been a BHW user since 2010 and is a self-proclaimed 7-year veteran of internet marketing. He was looking for long term business partners and investors, he explained, to expand his business in a joint venture that would reward partners with generous cash returns and gifts of 20,000 to 40,000 “monthly quality traffic” to help their own ventures.
In distinctive broken English, chailak explained the substance of the deal. The post has since been removed but an archived copy remains:
I’m looking for long term business partners/investors, and the whole thing would go like this:
Option 1.) If You invest 250$, you will get 75$ back each month, for 6 months (450$ back) —> 4 Spots Left
Option 2.) If You invest 500$, you will get 150$ back each month, for 6 months. (900$ back) –> 5 Spots Left
All potential investors on BlackHatWorld are encouraged to “do your due diligence” by forum administrators but it is only a suggestion — BHW administrators are notoriously hands-off. For many investors, all “due diligence” seems to entail is to quickly reading the original post, skimming positive comments, investing money and hoping for the best.
For investors with questions, chailak had three answers ready to satisfy curiosity.
What will I do with the money?
1.) Invest in to upgrades (Multiplier of Traffic Sources, Membership Types)
2.) Invest in to domain, hosting, graphic works…
Why are you not using your own money?
The more I invest in to my sources, the more I get. I already invested all that I can.
Why should I trust you?
We all know it is not important to have a high virtual status or degree, It is not matter what degree you have in the forum you can still be a scam person in you.
A.) 90% of my living profit comes from this business so i will never give up
B.) JV payments will be done via Paypal which you will have a chance to dispute in 45 days if i do not pay you the first month and that Paypal includes all my personal information which you will be able to catch me with
C.) More details about business plan, Personal Information will be shared with my JV partners so you can feel 100% safe.
PM If you interested or Just Skype me…. Skype ID : seomasterr
It took just over two hours for user Virus1 to say he was investing. “If you want money from me… i have to know what exactly we are doing. That is just the reality of it,” wrote Virus1. “Have seen this method here on BHW…and heard many people have make money from it. Very workable method.”
Virus1’s post was spaced out perfectly for catching the eye of potential investors skimming the normally short reviews.
Within three hours of posting, chailak wrote that he’d already collected $1500 in three $500 investments on Paypal. It took him another half hour to hit $2000. Within six hours, over a dozen interested parties were speaking to chailak over private messages and Skype. Dozens followed.
The investment process was simple. Once you contacted chailak on Skype, he’d refer you to his websites such as the one at dienal.com (now suspended). He’d explain his marketing business centered around a pay-to-click operation designed to make money from big advertisers such as Google and Yahoo. Pay-to-click businesses are closely linked to fraud.
“[chailak] had a lot of confirmed payments and and positive feedback from reputable BHW members, so I trusted him and his JV,” wrote investor Liaata. “I contacted him via Skype, asked what the JV is about and he told me that he is running PTC websites. The investment was meant to be put into this business and grow his revenue. When I contacted him, I already was 90% sure that I want to invest into this, so he had very little work with me.”
Whenever potential investors did express doubt, chailak worked to bring them on board. He shook off the rare suggestions about contracts and legal documents through sheer charm to come away with no-legal-strings-attached investments to start his venture.
Chailak promised large cash returns and big traffic boosts — tens of thousands of new visitors — for an investor’s site. For many early investors, chailak provided quick bonuses in return for positive feedback in the BHW forum.
User subster invested and promised to leave his feedback “constantly” on the thread. “First [chailak] gave me parts of the bonus instantly,” wrote subster, “which looks very nice for the first view.”
Eight hours after the venture began, a BHW user named “easycash27” posted that he was “finally” invested. It was a strange choice of words that would stoke suspicions that many of the positive reviews were false in one way or another — either from faked accounts or, at least, from users given preferential treatment to post positive reviews.
All the available investment slots were sold just 31 hours after the original posting. Slots were closed until the next month (mid-April) according to chailak. In fact, if you were paying close attention as the thread grew, you might have noticed that chailak quickly and quietly allowed at least one extra investor in at the $250 level. This was an early sign of a trend that would continue throughout the venture’s existence: chailak would publicly list a limited number of available slots in systems that left many people scratching their heads (many wondered why, if two $250 slots are open, why chailak wouldn’t accept a $500 investment). However, largely in private, he was accepting more money and investors than advertised.
Within a few more hours, investors reported that their websites were beginning to receive traffic from chailak as advertised. On March 25, chailak began paying the first investors back three weeks early. “With the support of my current JV partners i made a super jump on business,” wrote chailak, “and i decided to make first month payments earlier than the regular payment day and today i started to pay out First Month Profits.”
Although chailak had originally said that slots would be closed for a month, it took only a few days for him to open up more. When he announced that payments were being made early, he encouraged potential new investors to subscribe to the thread and invest soon.
Once again, chailak encouraged his “partners” to post positive feedback. Investor subster was the first to do so.
This is an outstanding JV. I am so glad that I joined it.
Today I received my first payment – after 10 Days instead of 1 month!
I am really astonished from the work of this guy – he knows to duplicate capital.
Not recommended to you, as I want the upcoming spots for myself
And I forgot to mention: He takes the bonus thing very serious and overdelivers MASSIVE ( he takes also care to bring you max. benefit with geotargeting options)
Chailak’s first customers were happy with his services and, at his explicit encouragement, they shared their happiness. Every positive public review in the forum stating that the investor had been paid early or had received bonuses resulted in more investors coming on. It was a deliberate and successful gambit on chailak’s part: the money to pay early bonuses was paid back several times over by the excited investors who joined in as a direct result.
To encourage potential investors who contacted him seeking further details, chailak gave out an address in Ukraine to prove his legitimacy. At least one investor, EvilEmperor, happily visited chailak and his family (a wife and one child) in Ukraine while the venture was going well.
The venture had gone from zero to sixty in no time flat. Investments were over-performing and the business seemed like it’d be a cash machine for those lucky enough to get in while the getting was good. This carefully crafted impression created excitement among new investors. They lined up for the chance to get involved.
Just two weeks after starting his venture (and two weeks before he’d originally said he’d offer more opportunities), chailak opened the “second session” of investments. For this, he publicly solicited investments of over $7,250 and promised returns of over $13,050 in six months plus web traffic of over 580,000 hits for investors.
Many investors were pleased with the level of service and personality chailak offered, referring to him happily by his first name (Salih) and calling him a brother and an honest man. Chailak was nearly always available on Skype, said investors (many of whom were encouraged to say so in public), and could be reached by email or telephone as well. Several investors believed he was a true friend.
User Scraper1 was skeptical. He was tempted to invest $1,000 because of the positive feedback chailak had received already but he had key reservation.
“This offer seems too good to be true,” wrote scraper1. “Did anyone had any business with Chailak before this JV? Will there be a third wave of investors? By the looks of it, this seems to be a Ponzi scheme.”
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. Perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to keep the scheme going.
“I might as well, be very wrong and this is not a Ponzi scheme, time will tell I guess,” wrote scraper1. “Even if this is such a scheme, the first investors have chances to get their money+profit with the condition that new investors will keep on coming. There has been so much sugar in this thread that someone has to put things in a new light.”
There was an awful lot of sugar. Positive reviews piled on top of positive reviews, creating the perception that chailak was a man who did nothing but please everyone he came into contact with. However, if one followed the thread closely enough, it became apparent that a number of negative posts were being deleted. Users critical of chailak, people who wrote that what he was offering was nothing more than snake oil, were kicked out of the thread, ostensibly the keep it clean of non-investors.
It would take months for it to become publicly clear that forum moderators were deleting negative posts. They would later wonder how, if non-investors weren’t allowed to weigh in, could anyone possibly be fair and critical of the venture? And was BigBuddy, a powerful administrator of BHW and the man constantly cleansing the thread of negativity, getting a cut from the venture in return for keeping the thread clean?
The venture was growing. More and more investors were coming on at the advertised rates — up to $1,000 — while still others were convinced to invest even greater amounts in private.
On umman.com, a major Muslim forum, user Rhed wondered if investing in the venture was haraam (sinful). “Is investing money like this haram? I’m pretty desperate brothers and sisters because well I’m broke (can’t find a job atm).” His fellow-Muslims advised him against the deal on the grounds that it was both a clear sin and scam.
Several negative criticisms did remain in the BHW thread. After the second session of investments began, Xoskillet, a veteran of BHW, chimed in:
This absolutely reeks of scam. Does anyone remember what “Con Man” is short for? …. It’s short for “Confidence Man” … A guy you can talk to and he seems like your best pal and has an unbeatable offer.
When i read his initial post, it screamed SCAM all over it… why? Because his “big” spots were filled, but the little spots were not. – Now, some of you guys have been around the block a few times… when is the last time your premium product sold out before your sub product?
Don’t get me wrong, this guy probably has great and honorable intentions… the greatest scams on earth are pulled off by believing what you are telling other people in order to get their money.
My guess is how long is it before the excuses start… first on “paying returns” because traffic is cheap to send to you… but after the money is all gone, the traffic dries up and there isnt enough for everyone, so the excuses start about why traffic is slow… and likely very good and reasonable excuses.
Now that I have said all of this – I will hope with all of my heart that i am just a jaded old bastard who thought a real opportunity was just another slick scam.
When accused of scamming, chailak would point to his already happy investors, claim that he was supremely experienced and tell his detractors to get a life. This would turn out to be another weapon in chailak’s capable arsenal: when criticized, play wounded.
On April 19, a month after the original post, chailak stated that he had over 30 investors in the venture. He launched what he said would be the final “season” of investments and encouraged those interested to get involved before it was too late. It was a by-the-book act of good salesmanship that would net him many more investors. He’d add only 25 new investors — no, wait, 30. No, 40. The number kept rising but the artificial shortage created further excitement around the product. Publicly, he said his goal was to take on 70 new investors to reach 100. In the end, the total number of investors would reach over 150.
On July 27, more than four months after the venture began, the public became aware that money was missing for the first time.
“Hi Salih,” wrote sullahmulla. “Have you forgotten my payment? It was due on the 28th July… … Just a reminder mate..”
On August 5, Chailak wrote that his Paypal account was “limited because of some abnormal payment descriptions that several JV partners wrote.” He would have to delay payment a week and then things would be back to normal. A number of users chimed in that their payments happened to be due on that day but they deferred to Chailak.
A delay of one week soon became 14 days. Chailak handled it deftly and allayed most every public fear. He was so good at convincing the forum that nothing was wrong that new investors asked to put $1,000 into the venture even as chailak was incapable of paying out his old investors.
As the Paypal issues were supposedly being sorted out, some investors wondered why they hadn’t received nearly as much web traffic as chailak promised. Other investors continued to receive at least some traffic and said so in the thread, convincing at least some of the complainants to continue to place their trust in chailak. The 14 day delay stretched into an indefinite delay as chailak said Paypal asked “new questions” about the account. Still, several investors made public statements of support.
“We all know that the people running paypal are complete idiots and most of us have had our own problems with them so we understand,” wrote user Briansstocks. “Thanks for keeping us informed of what was going on and up to date. It really means alot to the investors. Problems happen thats life but knowing what is being done about it is all most people ned to hear to still feel good about a partnership.”
As the delays on payments stretched into September, more and more investors questioned chailak. When several investors did complain anyway, chailak played the victim.
“trying to making people worry is B.S….,” wrote chailak. “I can not understand some people really..”
Chailak continued to pay some dividends to smaller investors on the condition that they write something positive in the thread. Bigger investors were generally another story. Chailak had been able to placate many of them in private, either by promising payment at a future date and then usually delaying further or, in the case of some of his biggest investors, by threatening to withhold payment if they made any public complaints. He was paying out less and less to his investors.
“Chailak did a very good job in threatening the investors,” said investor Liaata. “If you published that your payments are slow, he contacted you and said that you will need to wait another month for your payment. If you were nice to him, he gave you better payment dates.”
On September 22, user 22kathikreddy revealed that he had more than $10,000 invested into the venture. This made him the most heavily involved investor to go public with complaints of late payments up to that point. Despite the late payments and increasing heat being put on chailak to pay as promised, 22kathikreddy stressed that chailak was a great guy. They would do business again.
In October, chailak kept the goose chase going. He moved away from Paypal to other services and directed investors to move with him so they could receive the cash that was surely coming to them soon. Further delays of weeks were soon announced. As of late October, he publicly stopped taking new investors and defending himself against accusations of wrong doing.
i am facing is some of the investors are Threating me to post to thread because of the delays.. I am saying one thing very clear.. I will not EAT your THREATS… So please go on and write what you want.. DO NOT think you will Threaten me and i will get scared and make you special payments.. No way…
I am not accepting any more investor from BHW so as i said you can post whatever you want about me.. I dont scare from the threats. I tried to be polite and Flexible as much as possible but that kind of stupids started to make me angry. So as i said. DO NOT come to my Skype and THREATEN me.. Just do it… Because your THREAT will not change my payment Schedule.. Its money.. And i need to think my all partners..
On November 1, investors began to organize. BigBuddy, the owner of BHW and moderator in the thread, had finally begun to take an active role when it became clear that BHW’s usual laissez faire policies had failed. He spoke with chailak as well as a number of his investors. Just a few days in, he had already found that over $25,000 had been lost to the venture by BHW members. BigBuddy requested that other big investors come forward. Many declined to do so as chailak threatened to withhold payment permanently for those who publicly complained.
Later that day, chailak wrote a farewell letter to BHW in which he claimed he would not stand for bullying from BigBuddy and angry investors.
From there, more unpaid investors came forward. User Allnightlong invested $4,900 but wasn’t paid a dime. In explaining his problem, Allnightlong took pains to be polite and accommodating to a chailak, further illustrating the power chailak still retained over those whose money he had taken.
Three days later on November 6, BigBuddy released a private message from an anonymous poster who said that his unpaid balance amounted to $73,000.
Just to put things in perspective for other investors waiting on payments, my unpaid balance is ~$73,000. I have been patient, though very stressed out at times, about these investments. Losing this money would devastate me. Engin [chailk’s surname] and I have had trouble getting a bank wire to go through from his local bank in Turkey and from his sister’s HSBC account in Turkey. I’m located in the US. He has told me that he has opened an account with Bank of America in the US and is currently waiting on funds to arrive to that account.
chailak (who stayed at BHW despite his farewell) did not dispute the account but continued to defend himself, claiming that he was still fixing payment issues and on track to pay everyone. He was, at this point, months behind.
If chailak was scamming everyone, wrote investor fletcher6490, wouldn’t he have already fled? Why would he stick around if not to pay his debts? Why would he occasionally pay smaller investors? Others agreed. “Salih, I back you up and I trust you,” wrote user earnmoremoney. “Do your job and forget about the useless posts around.”
While several investors had outstanding payments of tens of thousands of dollars, chailak was making much smaller payments (such as $78) in exchange for public posts of support.
More investors were coming forward to report their losses. One had put $63,980 but was being stonewalled by chailak on payments. Several smaller investors were being paid as much as several thousand dollars in dividends and then posting messages in support in chailak as he requested. The larger investors were being left out to dry and the $63,980 investor was specifically targeted after going public with his grievances. Many larger investors continued to stay silent under the threat of losing every penny they’d put in.
Chailak used to opportunity to continue to play the victim. “why you are doing panic from little things i cant understand.”
By November, the thread had spread beyond Black Hat World to sites such as Wicked Fire that watched the scam progress as if it was a movie.
“I don’t usually appreciate scams, but when I do it’s those which happen on BHW,” wrote Zsaleem. “Everyone in this world who puts their money with someone who promises them to double their money in few days deserve to get scammed. I really feel bad for people who fell for such scams, but can’t help, they asked for it.”
Over on Sherdog, a major MMA forum, a thread titled “Watch a $150,000 ponzi scheme unfold right in front of you” remains active to this day. As it turns out, they severely underestimated the amount of money involved. To help the growing audience catch up, user gingersnaps summarized the scheme:
1. Have incredible offer.
2. Pay back a few people.
3. They post good reviews.
4. More people invest money.
5. Pay the small people their money.
6. Don’t pay the big investors and threaten them to keep their money if they post a bad review.
7. Steal over $150,000+
8. Everyone in denial and believe its still real.
Posters at WickedFire dug up a number of ventures from around the net that mimicked chailak’s original post:
No Work For You.. Invest in already running business + Bonus « Blackhat Leaks – Blackhat Forum SEO
He tried scamming this website and he was banned: No Work For You.. Invest in already running business + Bonus
He tried scamming this website under a different username and everyone makes fun of him. Notice the same grammar issues. No Work For You !.. Invest in already running business !!
He tried it here at digitalpoint.com [JV] Invest in Already Running Business
then he tried it again at digitalpoint.com [WTT] [JV] Invest in Already Running Business
Chailak denied that he attempted to run the venture anywhere but on BHW. Dozens of posters streaming in from outside forums to criticize chailak were banned.
When chailak’s promises continued to fall through, user khurramasgher posted a message he’d received from MoneyBookers security claiming that the account chailak was using was “connected to Internet gambling.”
And I am located in the US which explains why he won’t pay US customers with MB anymore and needs to rely on money exchanges like virox and other exchanges that gamblers use to withdraw payments. Seems like he has betting away all our money. Explains the delays, non payments, short payments, excuses, and the reason he is still around.
Chailak denied the claims, saying he was a victim of Moneybookers overzealous security procedures.
EvilEmperor, the investor who had visited chailak in Ukraine, began messaging other investors photos of chailak and his family in November in an effort to push him toward playing.
“I’m already waiting nearly 1 month for the money and I feel like I’m getting fooled,” wrote Liaata. “Also everytime when I contact Chailak he makes me feel like I need to say sorry, even he is the one who owes me money.”
Day after day, more investors stepped forward to reveal the true breadth of the venture. User khurramasgher said he’d invested $10,000 and was owed twice that. Chailak delayed paying khurramasgher for three months before he went public. Chailak responded by denying that that money had even been invested and then went on to deny that other big investors had ever come on despite having verified their claims previously. He wrote that he fully intended “to pay everyone.”
User barnone100 claimed to be owned $72,939. “He told me if I gave him $2k then he could start paying me back faster what he already owes. I said giving him more money makes no sense and he called me uncooperative.”
It soon became clear that chailak had been using his wife’s financial accounts to accept money from investors, thus implicating her in the scam.
On December 18, chailak was permanently banned from BlackHatWorld and deemed a scammer. The money was considered lost by many including the BHW moderators.
A number of investors attempted to recover money from sites where payments were made such as Paypal and MoneyBookers.
“The paypal and moneybookers accounts aren’t running under chailaks name,” said investor Liaata. “He used drops (people who opened accounts under their names) to move the money. I am in contact with one of these drops and he moved ~115.000$ through his paypal account [to chailak].”
It soon became clear that the drops were yet another dimension in chailak’s scheme. In order to process the hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least one drop registered a company in the United States and opened a Paypal account in his own name. Now, because of chargebacks and disputes, the drop is $20,000 in debt and waiting for chailak to reimburse him.
“There is a debt collector after him and he is slowly paying the debt with money from his poor family in the Philippines,” said Liaata.
Here is a recent conversation between the drop and chailak (S.E DIENAL ™):
[4:55:07 AM] drop: Are u there??
[4:55:22 AM] drop: It’s February now and still no respond from u
[9:24:24 PM] drop: are u there?
[9:25:00 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: Yes I am here you dont need to write everyday
[9:25:06 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: it will not make anything sooner
[9:25:23 PM] drop: so when u going to pay?
[9:25:53 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: this week
[9:26:18 PM] drop: this week? when?
[9:26:24 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: its 4 AM here
[9:26:29 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: cant hear your sarcasm
[9:26:31 PM] drop: u keep giving me false promises
[9:26:42 PM] drop: im just asking my money
[9:26:44 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: Ok deleting you
[9:27:17 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: Once money will be ready i will add you
[9:27:27 PM] S.E DIENAL ™: Before that i dont hear your fucking sarcasm everyday
“When talking to him, he is very aggressive,” said Liaata, “insults his investors and talks like we are the scammers. He calls us liars and acts like it is our fault that he can’t pay anyone.”
Chailak continues to string his investors along.
“There are bankwires he ‘sent’ 3 months ago, but they still didn’t arrive and he keeps telling that his turkish bank needs more time to process them,” Liaata explained. “I am in contact with roughly 30 investors and on average, the investors got ~5% of their money back, so 95% of the money is stilled owed.”
In December, a group of roughly 30 large investors attempted to organize in order to recover their money. Liaata led those efforts. Together, they say they represent $300,000 invested into chailak’s venture. As recently as January, many of these investors held out hope of getting what they were owned and so they declined to speak with me. Chailak continued to string them along.
This month, Liaata changed his mind, saying, “Chailak isn’t paying anyone and it’s kinda official that he scammed us.”
“When I opened the Skype group for investors, he tried to spy on us, insulted me and said that I won’t get any payments. I think some investors were/still are afraid that he won’t pay them, so they better didn’t participate in any action against him. I would like every investor to go to his local police and file a report. Most don’t do this, because they think their investment is too small or that the local police isn’t going to help them.”
Despite the hesitancy from “most” investors, a few large investors have notified the police. Several are skeptical about the speed with which the police will work and they’ve supplemented them by hiring a private investigator. The P.I. is currently working on locating chailak who, consensus says, is most likely in Turkey today.
Correction: A previous version of this article claimed that BigBuddy was the owner of BHW. In fact, he’s an administrator but not the owner.