Thought to bring this great story up again. How many ppl bought into VOSS story? Most importantly, how much money did he get out of AH community?
This is from a close associate who was part of the Voss scam called 'TAS' .. and aye, Maverick .. he probably took the name of the squadron, but the scam was not done by the squad ...it was perpetrated by Voss.
> How much money did he get from who?
Before I answer your question, I'll put my cards face up on the table, just so you know where I'm coming from.
Back when Paul "Voss" Hinds began his Scam I had already been playing AW for several years. Voss was a member of an Air Warrior Squadron called the 13th TAS, a Squad that has since had links with other online flight sim's and is also currently running in Aces High.
I only mention that because TAS was the name of the new online game at the centre of the scam, and it is important to point out that they were in no way connected with it, as far as I know the other members of the Squad are all honourable men.
Also, I've never written any of this down before, so by way of disclaimer, I will say that I'm working entirely from memory, but this is in any case how I remember those events as they occurred.
I was one of the beta testers for TAS and although I was one of the lucky ones, the scam cost me money, and wasted a great deal of my time. Also, let's not forget that at the time this was the biggest, longest and most outrageous scam ever to hit the flight sim' community! Now you know where I'm coming from, I'll answer your question.
The person who lost the most was the main investor, Michael "Amok" Hobuss, who I believe was one of Voss's AW Squad mates. From my perspective as one of the beta testers, the deal appeared to be that Voss did all the programming and design while Amok covered the expenses and development
costs, including having a new powerful development machine delivered to Voss, setting up and maintaining the beta team, bulletin board, and all advertising and promotional costs.
Now before we go any farther, let's just look at that set-up. Voss had built credibility by claiming to have two doctorates, and vast relevant experience, he was not just exaggerating, he was deliberately giving false information to a squad mate, in order to
encourage him into parting with money and equipment for services he knew that he could not deliver.
He was never in the CIA, was never an F-16 pilot and he did not shoot down two enemy aircraft has he claimed, he did not own
a P-51, and has probably never even flown one, and he did not have two PhDs.
He fabricated that entire web of lies with the obvious motivation of securing investment for his own personal gain.
This scam lasted a long time, and was fed with screen shots that looked magnificent, but which were in fact only artwork, and the delays were blamed on all manner of incredible circumstances, a scorpion bite, brain tumour, even some mention of special missions with the CIA.
During that time a large number of people were involved on the beta site, and I was one of them. I've heard that some of the beta testers were also asked for front money, but I can't recall being asked, but I do remember that I didn't send money. So I can't confirm that.
The scam dragged on so long that someone eventually checked into his background, and his military service was the first thing to come under scrutiny.
When it transpired that he had not been an F-16 pilot in the
USAF, he invented the CIA story to explain why his name didn't appear in military records, but the wall was beginning to crumble.
As more of his lies were exposed, Michael Hobuss became suspicious, but no doubt found it very hard to believe that a squad mate would lie and steal from him, so at that point he was actually covering for him.
Then things began to move quickly, because his stories were stretching credibility to the limit. I know how long you need to remain in education to get a PhD, not to mention two! Computer skills that exceeded those of the best programmers of the day, USAF training, a flying career, converting to F-16s, recruitment by the CIA, a privately owned P-51, and this man appeared to have achieved more than most could manage in two life times.
Everyone was suspicious and people were asking awkward questions. Michael Hobuss was also getting nervous and began asking awkward questions too, and that's when Voss disappeared. The Scorpion bite! It was reported that Folk
even visited Voss in hospital, so perhaps that part was true, but it just went down hill from there.
Time dragged on, and after more revelations, and no further evidence that the game even existed, Voss was supposed to have a brain tumour resulting in the end of the game's development, but then Michael Hobuss blew the whistle!
He admitted he had been conned, and lost his hardware, the
expenses and development costs, and that there never was any game. Any beta testers who had fronted money to the project had lost it. I had spent a lot of time logging onto the beta test site and incurred telephone costs and wasted many hours of my own time, but I was one of the lucky ones!
How much did Michael Hobuss eventually lose, I can't say, but I'd guess the figure must have been at least several thousand, and to be fair I heard that he was able to recover some of it. I'm not even sure how much I lost, I certainly wasn't bothered about it because it would have only been a fraction of what I was spending on AW at that time
This was a classic con! He fooled an investor, into parting with money and goods, by pretending to be something he wasn't.
The scam involved a large number of people, and left the community shaken, not because they had been taken in by a conman, but because they had been taken by one of their own,
some one many believed to be a squad mate and a friend.
For many it wasn't so much the money as the betrayal, that hurt that most.
Now I guess that all this could be forgotten if Voss had gone away, but he is still here, and he is attempting to rebuild his stock in the community.
Only recently he put out a call to the Aces High community to become involved in another project, that appeared to have all the hallmarks of another scam.
I was amazed when I saw it, and I thought to myself, "Here we
go again". Make no mistake, given the opportunity I believe he would do it again, it even looks very much as though he has actually tried already.
But fortunately, nobody took the bait. They never took the bait thanks to the efforts of those who remember, nobody has been allowed to forget.
The community has successfully protected itself by not allowing others to be taken in. That in my humble opinion is the morally correct, right and proper, thing to do.
When I see folk rehash the Voss stuff (as you call it) I'm always pleased to see it, because everytime it comes out I think that perhaps another few individuals have been made wise to him.
It also saddens me to see others defend him, because they are only helping him build a platform from which to strike again.
I haven't been able to give you exact figures, but does that answer your question?