SIX month working for an exciting new innovative company, Madbird & Co Limited employees received a disturbing email that shocked them to the bone.
The message from ‘Jane Smith’ claims they are all victims of a massive scam – their previous high profile clients are bogus, jobs stolen from other companies and members. group member does not exist.
The workers were devastated. Some have given up full-time jobs for their roles at Madbird, while others found hope in “deep despair” after was laid off for a period of time first of the pandemic in 2020.
They are all hired on a commission-only basis during a six-month probationary period and are promised the world, with six-figure packages and UK work visa funding between the tomatoes. dangle dangled in front of them.
Strange story unfolds tonight BBC Three Jobfished documentaries.
Madbird founder, “influencer” Ali Ayad, insists it is “not a fake company” and that the version of events told by former employees is “their story” – but His claims are difficult to prove.
Ali repeatedly promised that he would stay with me ‘no matter what’ because he ‘really likes me’. That’s the definition of emotional manipulation
Chris Doocey, victim
Chris Doocey, 28, of Manchester, claims he was given £10,000 back after working for the company for four months and fears it could “ruin” his career.
The salesman told The Sun: “When I learned the truth, my heart sank. It’s really gut-wrenching to know it’s not real. We were betrayed and deceived.
“I was laid off during the pandemic and the job market was dire – companies were defending themselves at the time and so I was desperate to find a new role.
“I was offered 10% of the turnover on any trade I made and a salary of £60,000, or £100,000 with compensation and benefits.
“I have calculated my debt so it will be minimized and believe I can repay what I owe by working on commission. That seemed like a really good opportunity.
“Ali kept promising that he would carry on with me ‘no matter what’ because he ‘really likes me’. That was the definition of emotional manipulation and I was left out £10,000 debt. “
After the truth emerged in February 2021, Chris and two other former employees took Madbird to employment court and were awarded nearly £19,000.
Ayad appealed the decision unsuccessfully. According to his former employees, they have yet to receive a dime from him.
For Chris, it wasn’t just financial harm; he claims it’s also “potentially career-destroying” because he’s selling bogus services and making him appear untrustworthy.
“In sales, it’s all about building your CV and showing what you’ve achieved, so this also harms,” he says.
I wasted six months. Working for minimum wage gets me £8,000 – I get nothing instead
“Listing a company that doesn’t seem to exist doesn’t sound good to you, and it can also seem like the movie is spying on you, so you’re less likely to get hired.”
Jordan Carter, 26, from Suffolk, gave up his full-time job and was “in contact with over 10,000 people” while at Madbird.
“It was difficult,” he said. “I want to apologize to the people I contacted on LinkedIn about something that wasn’t real and for trying to get money from them.
“I wasted six months. Working for the minimum wage would net me £8,000 – instead, I’d have nothing. ”
Prison of fear
Elvis John, who was born in India but lives in Dubai, was promised by Madbird to assist with his UK visa application.
Later, he feared that he was “in danger of going to jail” after it was reported that the company was not real.
The sales representative said: “An opportunity like this is unbelievable, being an Indian whose native language is not English and working for a company in the UK is real. wonderful.
If we change money in Dubai, I will be behind bars and be deported back to my country
Former Elvis employee
“It was a devastating experience, my dreams were shattered, and if we changed money in Dubai, I would be behind bars and then deported back home.
“It was very, very scary. The law is very strict if you change money and you have not delivered what you promised.”
Madbird has at least 52 employees, who work from a few weeks to six months.
They are close to closing up to 10 contracts, in talks with Comic Relief and a company promoting the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai – a deal that could be worth up to £30,000.
To the outside world, the company looks legit. It claims to have worked with the likes of Facebook, Samsung and Nike, and Ayad appears to have appeared in GQ magazine.
But in the documentary, investigative journalist Catrin Nye discovered that, not only had the companies never heard of Madbird, but Ayad had photographed herself in GQ in lieu of an advertisement.
Ayad has been described as a “handsome Lebanese” businessman and appears to be a successful social media influencer with lofty ambitions to “build the next Apple”.
The facade was toppled after a BBC investigation.
It is claimed that Madbird used the work of a “dead” person, stole designs from other companies, and that his team members are also bogus.
Even Ayad’s qualifications are not listed by the academies he claims to have attended.
From the top creative team, the documentary found six identities as fictitious, using images from the internet – including a stock photo from Getty Images titled “ginger man” and photo of a health and safety consultant who “couldn’t understand” why her face was chosen.
The photos by co-founder Dave Stanfield are actually of Slovakian Michal Kalis, who built beekeeping enclosures with his siblings in Prague.
He didn’t know they were being used, and Madbird generated fake emails from him, one of which read: “Can’t wait to meet all of you dog devils in person.”
Staff turned their backs
The mysterious Jane Smith who took down Madbird turns out to be two former employees, Gemma and Antonia.
Gemma became suspicious after realizing the company’s listed address was a “luxury apartment complex”.
She resolutely pursued her investigation, to the point that her partner advised her to “slow down”, but she couldn’t.
“All the things I was starting to think were going on obviously sounded ridiculous, but it was hard to ignore,” she said.
It led to her and Antonia visiting the company with her employees via email.
He seems apologetic for being caught, almost like being unfaithful in a relationship
When confronted in the documentary, Ayad asserted: “It’s not a fake company… This is what you do in the news, you point something out and point your finger at people.
“If I hurt someone, I’m sorry of course but there’s another version of the story… It’s a real company with people to work with and everything a company needs.”
According to the BBC, Ayad did not respond when chased after his side in the story.
Chris doesn’t believe Ayad is remorseful, and suspects he realizes the damage he’s done to people’s lives.
He said: “He seemed apologetic for being caught, almost like being unfaithful in a relationship, and said ‘Sorry that didn’t happen’.”
The Sun has reached out to Ali Ayad for comment, but has yet to receive a response.
Jobfished airs at 9pm tonight on BBC Three and is available to listen on BBC Radio 4.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tv/17720120/jobfished-documentary-madbird-con-ali-ayad/ I was left with £10k debt after being ‘scammed’ by scammer who scammed 50 people working for fake company