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1/ Wirecard's WireFraud The fall of payments darling Wirecard ($WDI) due to allegations of financial fraud has been swift. I love a funny fraud, and this one is very funny, so I'd like to try to break down a simple version of what seems to have happened. Who's up for a story?
2/ You are the CEO of an Icelandic ice company - FreezeCard. Your business is pretty simple - you manufacture and sell bags of ice to retailers within Iceland. Business is good, not great - the market for ice in Iceland is ironically small. But then, you have an idea!
3/ You'll take FreezeCard global! Ice demand in Iceland is pretty weak. The world is a big place, and ice demand in hotter regions must be better. But it's hard to take a business global. How would you set up manufacturing, supply chain, and distribution? Why not fake it?
4/ You open a subsidiary in Dubai. No employees, no office, but FreezeCard Dubai is now official! You find retailers in hot locations, claim them as customers (they don't know you), and book revenues. FreezeCard Dubai suddenly has $100M revenue (not really, but who cares!).
5/ So now FreezeCard is global (kind of?) and you'd like to profit from that. You're a global ice kingpin, after all! You sell stock to the public, raise debt from institutions, and become rich. "I'll use my money to do some good," you say, as you slip into your new McLaren.
6/ Sadly, your wealth and fame is short lived. Those pesky short sellers and journalists, who you managed to keep at bay for years, catch on to your scheme and out you. You are ruined. "I guess this was all a melting ice cube," you say to your lawyer through the glass divide.
7/ While I'm certainly simplifying some parts of the Wirecard story, the funniest part is, according to the allegations, it was almost that simple. Fake customers, fake profits. A short seller's dream. My first "Friday Funny Fraud" story - I might have to make it a tradition.

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