Masterminds – Fools Gold (Bre-X Crime Documentary)

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“Everybody so this week. I want to take some time to really delve into three three of the concepts that are core to this week s chapter. Which is about the immigration story. These are really important concepts for you to understand because we will be coming back to them again and again as we move through the course and they re pretty easy concepts to grasp.

But they do tend to overlap a bit and i want you to understand clearly what they are what they are not and how they interact with one another so let s dive in so let s see slide. So here we go so our three concepts. This week are agenda setting priming and framing now in the readings. They use the immigration story in america as the example.

I m not going to in this video. Because i want to give you a more straightforward understanding of the concepts before we apply it to the immigration story. So let s start off with agenda setting. So if you have watched fox news or msnbc or cnn.

You already understand pretty at a pretty fundamental level. What agenda setting is now what is important what i want to really drill into your brains. When it comes to agenda setting. Is that the media does not have the power to tell you how to think right the media cannot jump into your brain.

And say your community is very dangerous. And you should be afraid of violence right they cannot do that what they can do is cover story. After story after story about examples of violence. Which cumulatively collectively can create the impression that you live in a violent neighborhood right so agenda setting is is an actual theory of communications.

That argues that the issues that the media covers will determine what it is that you think about what you think is important and and it legitimizes certain stories. Well. It has a power to also marginalize or d legitimize. Other stories or aspects of stories.

So let s take a look at the actual theory itself. So there s the reality. What is happening right. Within a newsroom journalists have the option to either share that reality with their audience or not right they could cover the story or they cannot and if they decide and they re out there implications.

One way or the other and then the way in which they go about telling. The story that s the media agenda. Once the media agenda is set that then shapes. The public perception of the world that they live in which has an impact on a person s reality.

So let s use a hypothetical example to talk about this and i m going to come back to the same example for each of these three concepts. So in this made up situation. A person walked into a fresno liquor store with a gun and held up the liquor store at gunpoint took all the money out of the cash register and sped off in their car. The person behind the counter called the police police show up they say is there any surveillance video.

The person behind the camera. Says absolutely so they take a look at the surveillance video. They re able to get a very clear picture of the person who held up the store and as they left the camera outside from that they were able to get that person s license plate so from that information. They were able to find out where that person lives they went to their house.

They found that individual sitting on their couch. Counting their money that they had just stolen and they arrest person on the spot right so that s the reality of what happened liquor store held up at gunpoint suspect arrested within our now let s shift to a newsroom. Let s say tv newsroom. First question is do you cover the story do we cover.

The story right so one newsroom. Might say yeah. You know not that big of a deal. I mean.

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Yeah. You know could have been a bad situation. But cops acted fast and no real consequences. We re gonna pass.

There are more important things happening in the city today another newsroom might say whoa this is a big deal right we want to cover this story definitely and and and not just their decision to cover it. But again how they cover it do they put it at the top of the newscast do they put it in the middle. Do they assign a reporter to it and do a really long package and interview. The person who was held up and talked to neighbors or or do they just mention that it happened and move on to the next story.

All of those things are examples of media agenda setting. Okay now those decisions by the newsroom shape. Public perception. If you re watching a station that didn t cover the story.

Then you re not going to have any reason to believe that you re there was any violent crime in your neighborhood. Because they didn t cover any crime and so you just go about your day. And feel great. If they do cover the story.

Maybe you think twice before going to your neighborhood liquor store right maybe you decide to order that 6 pack of beer online or you know through some delivery app. Because you re nervous about going to the liquor store and in that decision your perception of reality becomes a reality okay so i m going to give you another example of this actually i m not we re gonna move on to priming. So priming is a related. But some but different concept so priming is really the context that the media provides that sets the stage for how the audience is going to understand what happened right so getting back to agenda setting.

It also involves the amount of time and space that the media devote to that issue is it on the front page of the paper or is it buried in the back. Those are signals to the audience that something is either very important or maybe not so important after all right and these things shape audience perceptions. So i want to point out this is similar to agenda setting. But it s slightly different right so in the example of the liquor store priming might be a newsrooms decision to set up the story by talking about crime rates and fresno right they might start out by saying crime and fresh vine lick crime in fresno is up compared to last year.

For example. Just today bla bla bla happened did this liquor store right so they are priming the audience to be concerned about their safety right another way that a station might prime that story would be to say while violent crime in fresno is up compared to last year. Law enforcement agencies say that it s actually at nearly historic lows. Which makes the following story all the more surprising right so that s gonna prime the audience to think ok something bad happened.

But in the grand scheme of things i m probably not in any danger. So that s an example of sort of priming. Another example of that is this is a graph that takes a look at news reports leading up to the 2016 presidential election. By cbs and nbc s evening newscast so you can see that the negative reporting on the issues of immigration muslims health policy in the economy far outweighed.

The positive news reports right so a couple things are happening first of all the decision of the newsroom s to cover those topics shaped. What people were talking about right. Which is an example of agenda setting and then the way that they talked about it that negative focus was really priming the audience to feel as if these are issues of concern and then of course. We saw that play out on the campaign trail with both candidates really talking about these issues quite a bit as part of their presidential campaigns.

So framing is our third concept and it s a little bit different so media provide in environment and a focus that shapes our understanding of the events and and they do this in several different ways they do this by the words that they use the kind of spin that they put on a story. The storytelling devices that they use any kind of narrative element can help contribute to how a story is framed. So let s go back to our liquor store example. So there s a number of ways in which you could frame this story.

You could frame it from the public safety perspective right so i don t know are you are you at risk or you at risk the next time you go to a liquor store. Today in blah blah. This part of town and this liquor store owner nearly lost his life with an encounter with a robbery attempt right or a successf review all de guzman s records. The auditor demands to see to guzman s core samples.

But de guzman hasn t saved half the sanders. They did split their core. Oh right. But they only kept at ten centimetres out of every meter.

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That s very unusual to prevent the auditor from becoming suspicious de guzman is ready with an explanation. He cites a phenomenon called the nugget effect in which the gold is distributed unevenly de guzman insists he must crush all of the sample in order to get an accurate reading the key was crushing a polar. Call. Nobody could check right having pressed up over the call basically they destroyed the evidence.

But when the auditor takes a closer look at the samples. He s suspicious about the river gold purchased by de guzman. The gold gypped get from panning in a river looks quite different from the gold that you find at the bottom of the goldman river gold gets rounded around the edges the flakes of gold are shaped by the forces of the water and the weather did guzman uses his theory of volcanic pools to explain why this kind of gold is precisely what you would expect at boo sank within hours the bre x website announces. The successful audit and the stock rises dramatically you could watch this stock will go from 20 to 30 in the space of three weeks building on his success with the auditor do guzman now moves to drive the stock price even higher.

They looked at their maps. And they said okay well if there s gold here. Maybe they ll be gold over here as well and that s when they got into boozang to do guzman finds enough surface gold to convince david walsh to finance drilling for what he claims is a second massive gold deposit once again the guzman has felder off fire off a message to david walsh. We ve got a monster by the tail walsh pounces on it he applies for bree x to be listed on the nasdaq and the toronto stock exchange wall street and investors out swear an analyst elsewhere.

We re totally onside were totally enthusiastic were totally hypnotized by the rising stock price by the rising claims of bri x. Now. De guzman makes his boldest claim based on drilling. Results from boo sang to he declares that bre x.

Has the largest gold deposit in the world. The investors just looked at the rising stock price. And said. This must be real.

Having built bre x. Into a company. Worth six billion dollars. And with its stock price that nearly three hundred dollars a share.

It s time for de guzman to start cashing in he and his team sell enough shares to be rewarded with over 100 million dollars. When felder hoff and wynn walsh and wendy guzman. Started selling a part of their holdings. But not all of it people just figured well that s just guys who ve had a tough run all their lives and they re just taking else insurance de guzman is now worth millions.

But what he doesn t know is the indonesian government is about to make a move that threatens to reveal his scam. Michael de guzman has pulled off the biggest fraud in mining history. He s fooled the world s leading investors turned a penny stock into a billion dollar venture and lined his pockets with millions. But he s now facing a real crisis.

The beginning of the end for bre x. Was problem in indonesia. The indonesian government. Which is hideously corrupt decides to challenge free x.

s claim to this fabulous deposit in august of 1996. The indonesian government revoked spree x s exploration permit and opens the property to other mining companies. The government itself was going to get very much involved in the ownership of the deposit and they were going to invite who they wanted to see to develop a deposit. So what you saw unfold in a rather ugly fashion between the summer of 1996.

And the spring of 1997 was this fight. Amongst. Major companies for a piece of the action. Michael de guzman.

Knows his drilling records will soon come under scrutiny from the other mining companies. A move that s sure to reveal the bre x. Fraud. Desperate.

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He destroys all his records at boo sang claiming. It was an accidental fire. What went up in smoke. That day would ultimately help cover the trail of the conspirators that did this from the indonesian government forces bre x.

To accept. A new mining partner freeport mcmoran from now on bre x. Owns only 45 of hussein when news gets out bre x stock drops 1 billion dollars. But de guzman counters he releases new drilling results that dramatically increased the estimated gold reserves underground.

They had previously said that they had 57 million reserves and they increased that to slightly over 70 million reserves given that the ownership that they had a percentage went down to make the value be the same they had to increase the reserves bre. X. Stock rises. Again.

Shareholders are thrilled. In the spring of 1997. De guzman. And his team are invited to be guests of honor.

At bre x. s annual shareholder meeting in toronto. Canada. Michael.

De. Guzman. Made a presentation. As part of the pre x.

Annual meeting to talk about what he found there talking about what the different girl results and proven that was underneath the ground. He was able to stand before shareholders with this fabulously expensive stock. A company is worth five million dollars. They said look we did the best deal we could under the circumstances.

We re all rich isn t this great he s wildly applauded considered a hero his theories of mining even though they were slightly unusual seemed to be validated by the results. But on the other side of the world bree x. s new partner is anxiously drilling for gold only yards away from where de guzman had drilled and their samples came up empty. They weren t finding the gold that.

Michael de guzman. Had said was their de guzman. Got the phone call. We don t seem to find any of the gold you say is there get your story behind back to indonesia pronto.

Pal. And explain this to us after three years and billions of dollars time is running out for the mastermind behind the world s largest fraud. When three x s powerful new partner. Doesn t find.

Gold at boo. Sang. Michael de guzman. Is forced back to indonesia.

The next. Morning. He climbs into the back of a helicopter driven by a indonesian air force officer takes off over the jungle. He s about 400 or 500 feet in the air over some of the deepest rainforest in all of indonesia and the pilot looked into the backseat and de guzman was gone.

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Guzman had jumped out of the helicopter apparently three days later. The indonesian army claims to find the guzman s body. It s badly decomposed and partially eaten by animals. It s so gruesome.

The authorities won t let his family view. The remains. It was very difficult to believe that they took two or three days. I recall to find the body when in fact the pilot that said he did set the gps recorder.

So they should have been able to find the spot rumors swirl about do guzman s death was it suicide murder or yet another perfectly planned deception he wanted to disappear anywhere on this planet. Indonesia would be one of the easier places to do it. That you could for a few hundred dollars purchase. A recently deceased body independent drilling takes place directly beside.

Where did guzman took thousands of samples. And not a single ounce of gold is found they go and they drill their own core samples. And the security. They have around that is unmatched.

They are drilling 2 or 3 feet away from where reiax assets have tons of gold. All they find is rock flake. There is no gold there it looks so good it wouldn t be real i mean. It s too good to be real.

It s an unbelievable revelation. They just can t believe that this fabulous deposit in fact never existed investors around the world. Suddenly. Realize.

They d been had walsh is just flabbergasted cannot believe that this is happening. And it s at that point that the bre x team in toronto. Realizes that they ve got nothing to go on that they re that their stock is going to zero because this was a massive fraud shares themselves are only useful as wallpaper david walsh. Adamantly denies any knowledge of the fraud.

He moves to the bahamas with his wife two years later he dies of a massive heart attack. John felder. Hof continues to live in a gorgeous home right next to the yacht club and the cayman islands where there s no tax and there s also no extradition treaty with canada for white collar crimes michael do guzman the mastermind behind the greatest mining scam of all time is supposedly laid to rest i compare him to rumplestiltskin. He was able to turn a very small amount of gold into a huge amount he s spun a story into a huge amount of gold no criminal charges have arisen out of the bre x scandal.

No one has ever spent a day in jail as a result of it the fraud itself has changed the way. The canadian regulator s look at the mining industry. It would be somewhat more difficult to pull off a similar type of scam. But it isn t impossible.

It s probably still could be done again the adage. Caveat emptor is indeed true buyer beware in spite of class action lawsuits. Not one investor has ever been compensated a harsh reality for thousands of ordinary people who invested their life savings and bre x. And were left penniless.

I actually believe that michael de guzman is alive. I don t think that he did follow to that helicopter. I believe that he faked his own death and that he s enjoying the money that he scammed bre x. ” .

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