back to article German old timers torture financial adviser

A gang of very disgruntled German pensioners who lost $4m in savings in a Florida property investment scheme allegedly decided the best way to get their cash back was to kidnap and torture the financial adviser responsible. German-American James Amburn, 56, was subjected to a harrowing ordeal which began last Tuesday when two …


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  1. Lionel Baden 1


    no smoking inside please could all prisoners go outside for a cigarette break

  2. Martin Lyne

    Title removed

    "Thanks to Eugene Meany for the tip-off."

    Meany in torture claim shock!


    "Is it secret? Is it safe?"

    You'd have thought the guys woudl have had enough left over cash to hire someone to do this for them, or at least to have the financial nous to know that, unless he was defrauding them, the money was just as gone for him as them.

  3. Greg J Preece

    Kidnapper Fail!

    "Amburn made a break for it on Friday when he was allowed out of the cellar for a cigarette break."

  4. GrahamT
    Thumb Up

    Maybe it's not legal...

    ...but what a great idea.

    I admire the spirit of these people. You have worked all your life to build up your savings, and some twonk of a financial adviser loses it all for you without batting an eyelid.

    I have every symapthy for the old timers, and none at all for the FA (f***ing arsehole - Financial adviser: same thing.)

  5. Tom 94
    Thumb Up

    I thought it said

    "Amburn claims he was "chained like an animal", burned with cigarettes, beaten, hit with a chair leg..."

    I thought it was about to say "hit with a false leg"...! :D

  6. King Edward I

    Is it just me...

    Or does "Digitalglobalnet" sound a little like Homer Simpsosn's "CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet"?

    Maybe that's why there money disappeared!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Thats made my day

    I am going to be laughing about this for days. Greedy idiots punishing each other for being Greedy idiots. Now if only there where some way to make users punish each other for being stupid....

    Mines a pint of Nelson's revenge by the way. best server warm and flat.

  8. Squits

    German Law

    Illegal Hostage Taking 0_0

    Which form of hostage taking is legal, can we find out and then go to Germany and track down some porn stars?

  9. Dave in the States
    Paris Hilton


    "As I went into my home I was jumped from the rear"

    Paris, as she can give him tips on what to do in these situations.

  10. Richard 102

    I've said it before ...

    ... and I'll say it again: they're not making old people like they used to. And if they're using an Audi A8, apparently they're not THAT broke.

    Personally, I find this story appealing on so many levels. For one thing, it's nice to know that foreigners are getting scammed on American housing, not just American homeowners. For another, could we do this to government bigwigs when social security goes tits-up in two years?

  11. Steve Swann

    wait, wait.... when I stop laughing....

    they 'burned him with cigarettes', but made him go outside to actually smoke one?!

    Ok, back to laughing.....

  12. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!


    This is making my brain hurt.

    Anyone investing in a company called "DigitalGlobalNet" deserve everything they get.

    But kudos for them taking revenge on the "Advisor", when, let's face it, financiers' reactions to people losing their life savings is to light another fat cigar with a £50 note and award themselves another bonus.

    Can't.... compute... need beer to hold mutually exclusive opinions at once...

  13. Andy Barber

    Secret message

    "It was disguised as a policy. I wrote 'call. po-lice', & it wasn't spotted by the kidnappers?

  14. Efros
    Paris Hilton

    Ye shall

    reap what ye have sown.

    Hmm, perhaps a bible icon, no Jobs Messiah icon so we'll have to make do with Paris who I'm sure doesn't indulge in bondage...DAMN!

  15. Alan 40


    Really , they thought this was all right?

    Germans using brutality , well we've never heard that before have we , maybe someone wanted to re-live his war glory days ...

    No matter if he was a greedy fat cat ( though more likely he was just doing his job , and the world economy just did or it) , he didn't deserve that sort of treatment , and anyone who thinks he did is just a nob. Sorry.


  16. ppnl

    Old blood.

    Since when is Geritol an arthritis medicine? Its an iron supplement that was marketed to old people as a treatment for "tired blood". Turns out most old people don't need an iron supplement and they got sued.

  17. TeeCee Gold badge
    IT Angle

    Where's the bloody Playmobil?

    I'd have thought this one was gagging for it.

    Come to think of it, where's the bloody where's the bloody Playmobil icon?

    Damn. Now I need a where's the bloody where's the bloody where's the bloody Playmobil icon icon and there isn't one.

  18. Alistair Wall

    @Andy Barber

    In German, these are very different: Rufen Sie Polizei/Rufen Sie Grundsatz, so the advisor must have been writing in French, Italian or English, where the captors might have missed a message that was subtle enough for the Swiss bank to miss it.

    We need a zimmer frame icon.

  19. Andy ORourke

    @ is it just me

    Or does "Digitalglobalnet" sound a little like Homer Simpsosn's "CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet"?

    Exactly my thoughts, I mean come on, would you invest in a company with a name like that?

    Just put 3 words together for a new company name

  20. Fractured Cell

    To Quote GTA:IV

    I thought you would say: "Sick Bondage Club"!

  21. Spleen


    These are not little old men being tricked out of their 50 grand life savings in the Wisbech & Haddenham Building Society here. These people had $4m to invest in a single property investment. And they drive Audi A8s. And the public prosecutor thought it worth mentioning that the money hadn't been declared to the taxman. And there were four of them who colluded in torturing a fellow human being.

    Now, it's plausible that one normally decent person might go loopy and decide to torture someone they were angry with. Two men falling into a moral black hole is still plausible. But four ordinary, upstanding pensioners thinking up an elaborate plan to kidnap and torture someone in a remote cabin, without any of them saying "Hang on guys, maybe we should think this over" or phoning the police?

    Legally I probably shouldn't state the bleeding obvious about what kind of people these guys are, but if you think that these people got their $4m of black money from the occasional flutter on the dogs with their state pension, then your brain should be removed for Alzheimer's research as it obviously isn't doing you any good.

    The adviser probably isn't any angel either if he's chosen to advise such people and directly look after their money in his private company, but at least he's not a man of violence so far as we know.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Quite interesting

    I've forwarded the story to my local bank. Anonymously, of course, they can be quite prickly.

    Escape, because he did. They won't. Fnar, fnar.

  23. Yorkshirepudding

    3 months i ze cooler

    Germans bless em

    i concur with TeeCee too we now need a playmobil icon post haste

  24. The Original Ash

    Business name?


  25. Anonymous Coward

    @Alistair Wall

    "Grundsatz" is a rather odd translation for "policy". Among other possibilities, "policy" as in "insurance policy" is "Police" is German.

    Quote from "[...] wies mit einem Fax an eine Schweizer Bank den Verkauf von fiktiven Wertpapieren, sogenannten Call-Optionen, an. "Sell Call Pol.Ice" schrieb er auf das Fax."

    So the fax was "meant" to advice the bank to sell call options.

  26. Big Al

    No school...

    ... like the old school!

    Good to see the old folks finally setting an example the young can follow. Can we expect Geritol Youth organisations to be established across Europe in the near future?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wisbech & Haddenham Building Society

    Hey Spleen - you must live near me!

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Raiding pensions funds?

    SO how long until the old folks in the UK get so thoroughly pissed off with Our Glorious Leader's continual raids on our pensions schemes and take him on a midnight ride to somewhere nasty?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the skills forming the heart of a national stereotype never truly fade

    Old dog, old tricks and all that. Did they break the trilbys and leather overcoats out of storage as well?

    In this particular case, shouldn't the grenade icon have a long stick attached?

    I'm not giving them my name Captain Mainwaring.

  30. qwertyuiop
    Thumb Down

    @Alan 40

    " maybe someone wanted to re-live his war glory days ..."

    Would that be the one who was only 2 years old when the war ended? Or the one who was 10? Or maybe it was one of the two who weren't even born?

    FFS - what they did was wrong, but so was your cheap war jibe just because they happened to be German.

  31. Rob 114

    Mmmmmmmmm, money.........

    Simpson scammed them good, using the Carnie code!

  32. Andy Bright
    Thumb Down


    These hypocrite anti-smoker whingers get all upset about second hand smoke - and yet you'll notice they never take you outside when it's time to torture you with their burning cigarettes.

    Always the same with these people. In my day a proper torturer would give you the cigarette while you were comfortably taped to the chair. They would never be so barbaric as to force you go outside to enjoy what might be your last drag on your favourite brand of coughin' nails. Obviously these people don't have the class of a good old fashioned SS torturer. Where is their national pride for god's sake?

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Geriatric Power !

    Hahaaa. Good one.

  34. Richard 102

    Dear AC

    "I'm not giving them my name Captain Mainwaring."

    You owe me a new Macbook and a can of Dr. Pepper.


    One of the few "Dad's Army" fans in the states

  35. Anonymous Coward

    @Alan 40

    You're right of course. A few years in buttsex prison would be more appropriate.

  36. Alan 40


    @qwertyuiop noted, I got my dates wrong and also it was a general racist comment, which said in anger was still wrong, I retract that part of it.

  37. John Savard Silver badge


    Geritol isn't an arthritis drug. It's an American vitamin supplement designed for the elderly.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "A gang of very disgruntled German pensioners "

    Fortunate to still have a pension I reckon.

    "The victim was found in his underwear."

    Naked short selling probably.

    If there's any justice the perps will end up in an institution where their needs will be provided by the state (TBH I think they were heading there anyway) and the victim should be an Unemployed Financial Adviser. Actually all financial advisers should be, with only a few exceptions.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have my doubts... to the degree this story is based on reality. E.g., Geritol is not marketed in Germany (at least not under that brand), so how would German police come up with the name for the gang? A few other hiccoughs in there, too.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No frail old codgers

    The initial impression given by this story is of 4 little old coots bumbling around on zimmer frames and somehow managing to bundle a younger chap into the back of a car. Thinking about it now, two of the guys were just in their early sixties. My dad is in his early sixties and I, for one, would not like to meet him when extremely disgruntled. The man single-handedly lugged half the engine block out of my car recently, so it's not unsurprising that men of a similar age can so readily invite a stripped and bound financeer to mess his drawers by employing a little violence. These oldies just won't conform to the correct stereotypes these days.

  41. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Frail old codgers

    I agree with AC - they're in the prime of life. If retired then just retired from wage-slavery. Obviously rolling in it otherwise. Probably the house with the cellar was as big as Fritz's palace, too.

    (Paris, cos she could think of fun things to do with her wrinkly bits and a Zimmer frame...)

  42. Jez Burns
    Thumb Up

    Film rights?

    I'd pitch it as "Cocoon meets Reservoir Dogs"

  43. Nick Pettefar


    Watched the Madhoff programme on telly last night and so feel a little sympathy for these marks. Financial Advisers really should have insurance for their investment advice so that they can be sued successfully.

    If you have an amount of money burning a hole in your pocket and want to invest it then please exercise caution!

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