Young’s Newsroom Panama runs plagiarized content by con man

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David Young

DAVID Young's Newsroom Panama published a story on October 31st titled "Reporting of wire transfers from US leading to spike in bulk cash smuggling". The story is bylined to Monte Friesner. Initially the byline included that Friesner was a "Crime Consultant for Wanted SA", but after your Bananama Republic pointed out that Wanted SA does in reality not exist, Young first took the article down and then put it up again with a different byline.

However, it turns out that the article was not written by Friesner at all, but plagiarized from a story by Kenneth Rijock on the World Check website and then backdated.

In other words, Newsroom Panama is publishing stolen content.

That of course shouldn't come as a surprise given the fact that the "author", Monte Friesner, is a fraud artist with a criminal record from here to Toronto, or, as the Ontario Securities Commission once put it (PDF OSC):

[64] Friesner has a criminal record. In 1966 he received a suspended sentence and nine months probation for possession of property obtained by crime. He failed to comply with probation. In 1969 he was sentenced to two years less a day for uttering a forged document in attempted fraud. He was convicted of other offences, namely common assault, arson, assault causing bodily harm, theft over $200, on various occasions up to 1986.

[65] In 1993 he was indicted in the United States District Court for the District of Oklahoma on 21 counts relating to advising a scheme and artifice to defraud, and to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretences, representations and promises, from various individuals and businesses who were seeking multi-million dollar commercial loans.

[66] It was part of the scheme and artifice to defraud that Friesner would represent that he could obtain for the individuals and businesses sufficient collateral for them to obtain multi-million dollar loans sought by them. Friesner would represent to clients that for performing his services he would not require an advance fee but instead would obtain his commission when the loan was closed by charging a fee of 1/8 of one per cent of the completed loan amount. Furthermore, Friesner would falsely represent to clients that some international bank or financial institution (which varied from victim to victim) had been contacted and was ready to provide the letter of credit or other collateral necessary for clients’ multi-million dollar loans, but that the bank or financial institution required a fee – usually US$250,000 – before the confirmation of the letter of credit or other collateral could be provided by the bank.

[67] In 1994, based on the convictions, Friesner was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to pay a restitution sum based on his ability to pay but not in the full amount of the loss of clients, estimated to be approximately US$1,250,000.

David Young is a British journalist old enough to be a board member on one of Friesner's outfits. Checking facts and vetting contributions to his online rag is apparently not his strongest point. Furthermore, Young refused to disclose on his website who Friesner is - basically allowing a convicted con man to be a financial columnist on Newsroom Panama.

Worse, even: Friesner's Pronto Cash debit card scheme is a prominent advertiser on the Newsroom Panama front page; which adds yet another undisclosed conflict of interest to Young's already shady mix.

Now that it has become clear that the article was in fact plagiarized from another source, we wonder how long this charade is going to continue?

16 thoughts on “Young’s Newsroom Panama runs plagiarized content by con man

  1. I think the article should have been about Monte providing plagiarized content to Dave Young. In all fairness you cannot expect a publisher to run each article against all the articles that exist. Once he was aware of it, give him credit for taking it down at least. I do not believe he KNOWINGLY ran plagiarized content.

  2. So why would wild monte claim to write these articles, so obviously plagerized, and not claim to have written all the Okke articles…or did someone else write those? Either way…he’s all eff’d up!!!

  3. The point is that the person without the ethics here (as if we did not already know) is Friesner, who passes himself off as the author. Friesner has no sense of right or wrong. He probably thought, as usual, that no one would be the wiser – another fraudulent act undetected, except he gets caught. I suspect Young will not post anything “authored” by Friesner any time soon. Slowly but surely, Friesner is alienating everyone in Panama. It takes some a bit more time to realize who they are dealing with.

  4. @FromBocas: He didn’t take it down, it’s still up there. Young has various ethics issues here:

    1. Publishing an article about finance, initially without any disclaimer, that is apparently authored by someone who has been convicted and slapped with regulatory measures for financial fraud, without disclosing that fact;

    2. Not explaining why Friesner is initially a “crime consultant for Wanted SA” and then he isn’t;

    3. Even though he could have known who Friesner is (he’s hardly just any contributor), he didn’t check anything about the content of the article which, a quick search reveals, is plagiarized;

    4. Running that story without disclosing that Friesner, on top of everything else, is also an advertiser with a financial services company on his website.

    And I bet you he’ll now take it down without so much as an explanation or an apology for misleading his readers and facilitating copyright piracy. It’s all just right out of the Don Winner school of “journalism”.

  5. @FROMBOCAS: You are absolutely right (once again): The plagiarist is not David Young, who is just a naive old fart who didn’t check who actually was the author of the article submitted by the serial scammer Monty Freezner as his own. I am sure that from now on David Young will never again publish anything from this s.o.a.b.

  6. @ editor, I think Young is in his own little world. What he is guilty of is not doing due diligence and taking Friesner’s word that he authored the article. Short of publishing something, getting a Pulitzer for it and THEN finding out the work was made up or plagiarized, I could see taking it down without much fanfare. The fact that Friesner was convicted of fraud 20 years ago per se does not mean he is incapable of writing something of value – of course WE known he is a dimwit and is indeed incapable of doing anything right but as I say that is OUR opinion, based on on reading the links posted here. Young is learning the hard way.
    As far as disclosing he is an advertiser, I dont know. I look at the Bocas Breeze here in Bocas, and every time there is a new business opening, they will write an article about themselves, and they also advertise in the same issue. It does not give a disclaimer that they are advertising. I dont think anyone could accuse the publisher and editor, Allene Blaker, of being deceitful. She is one of the most straightforward and honest person around.
    The nature of the web is that if there is something off, you can quickly correct it. In the old print ways, you need to retract and everything, but on the web I have never seen it done. Unless you had maligned someone wrongly, in which case I definitely think you owe a public apology, I dont see it a crucial point. So again, I think your ire is misplaced. The newsworthy thing here, is that Friesner fucks up again in a deceitful way, actually taking advantage of an old gullible man to sell himself off as some financial consultant (I mean can we still keep a straight face here?). You have been here long enough, I know you know Young is not in that league….
    Now if Young publishes another plagiarized article by Friesner, there is definitely an issue.

  7. David has health issues and may not have even been the one who decided to run this thing.
    But David is also well connected in the Canadian community and if this was his decision he should have known with what and whom he was dealing.
    My instinct is that David is desperate for content and advertising, and let this get the better of him.

  8. @FromBocas: Friesner was sanctioned by the Ontario securities commission just over five years ago for illegally promoting fake high yield investment schemes, so-called “insider banking deals” and similar stuff. It’s not just something dating back 20 years. Here’s some of his promotional copy for these ultra-secret zero risk high yield investment nonsense:

    A secure portfolio, with compounding of investment funds, can make the investor profits of between 50% and 70% or MORE, with ZERO RISK!
    After talking to a number of bankers and brokers about these portfolios, it is clear that the rich and powerful would be pleased if this information were kept secret.
    This is a very private business; not advertised anywhere, nor covered by the press. Generally, these portfolios are only open to the most
    connected, wealthy entities with substantial cash to put up for investment. The privacy of this business is maintained from the original issuing bank all the way down to the retail buyer. As such it is evident, one of the keys to the profitability of these Asset Securitization Management Portfolios is having the resources and the contacts to be able to purchase these bank debenture instruments at a level as close to the issuing bank as possible (at the highest discount), and having the resources and contacts to sell the investments to the retail buyer at the highest price level.

    For more of this pseudo-haute finance babble see the OSC document linked to in the article – which is public record, by the way.

    It wouldn’t be such an issue if Friesner had written about sailing yacht maintenance or something like that, but a financial fraud artist writing about finance while advertising his services – without any kind of disclosure? Give me a break.

    Also, Young took the story down after we pointed some of this stuff out here and in his comments, then he put it up again minus the comments and still without any explanation or disclosure or due diligence done. It just sucks. Young pretends to run a news publication, not just a blog (in fact he wrote rather condescending about blogging in his Panama Star days). Well, he about violated every journalistic code of ethics – notably the British ones – in this case (the separation of advertising and editorial content just being the least serious one).

    I’m sure what Eric says is true – about the health issues – although I did see him at opening night recently at the Ancon Theatre. Also, the “about us” page on the Newsroom Panama site doesn’t seem to work. None of which is any excuse.

  9. I know David well and it has to be a great oversight that he will correct soon. I will speak to him personally to see what his side is. It is highly doubtful that Friesner and his circus of scams will be around in the next 6 months. I am sure David does not want to be holding the bag when the music stops and Morris Monte Friesner moves to the next location to fleece the weak minded.

  10. Did you know that Kenneth Rijock – the actual author of the piece plagiarized by Monty Freezner – was himself an ex-convict? After completing his prison term he wrote a book called Confessions of a Money Launderer and subsequently became a police informant?
    Could it be that Monty Freezner actually met Kenneth Rijock in prison? Full Monty Freezner being a big time money lauderer himself with his ProntoCash debit card scheme is actually an expert in transforming bulk cash into “legit” bankable money.

  11. Have you noticed…wild monte is actually crediting Kenneth Rijock for the articles on wanted now….and he’s now crediting himself for the Okke articles! C’mon monte…you trip every time you walk…just take those old wooden teeth and go away…you have no family…no friends…no employees…no sailboat…do yourself the favor!

    • There were some interesting comments posted on the website by someone who’s obviously in the know about Friesner’s history in Toronto:

      Look at the officers for Pronto Cash:

      1. Leslie Morrison Senior VP Canada
      Daughter in-law of Lawrence Heath

      2. Janet Heath
      Daughter of Lawrence Heath


      Leslie Morrison Senior VP Canada was married to the only son of Lawrence Heath.

      The son Philip Heath was a lawyer (partner Osler Hoskin) who died of cancer in 2005 and would have been approximately 47 years of age.

      Wonder if Ms. Morrison really works for the company. She had been working at Bank of Montreal.


      Yes, Larry Heath is a lawyer and that alleged picture with Tatianna is him.
      Doug Crashley was a partner with Larry and Friesner did their dirty work.

  12. Well, for all the talk about “error” and a “great oversight” and “health issues” and whatever other excuses: That story is still up there on the Newsroom Panama website, and no explanations have been forthcoming. After almost a week, I can only conclude that this is deliberate.

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