A new fraudulent scheme by the brother of the Colombian drug lord is to sell expensive phones four times cheaper and send them only to bloggers.
Tech bloggers and journalists got a smartphone with a fading display Escobar Fold 2, which was released by the company of the brother of Pablo Escobar, Roberto Escobar, Escobar Inc. The phone, which was advertised as the “Samsung killer,” turned out to be a Galaxy Fold with a gold sticker and pre-installed wallpaper with a Colombian drug lord.
Escobar Fold 2 costs only 399 dollars, while the original – about two thousand dollars. Journalists suggest that the company sells its devices four times cheaper than the original due to a fraudulent scheme – it delivers phones only to bloggers but ignores ordinary users.
Escobar Inc is also known for other dubious cases – they sued Netflix, started raising funds to impeach Trump and wanted to sue $ 100 million from Elon Musk.
In December 2019, Roberto Escobar released the Fold 1 smartphone with a flexible screen for $ 350 (about 26 thousand rubles). Then the drug lord’s brother said that he would “beat Apple,” and reporters noticed that the device is a complete copy of Royole FlexPai, which costs about 1320 dollars (about one hundred thousand rubles). The smartphone was banned from showing at CES 2020, because it was considered “inappropriate” for the exhibition, and none of those who ordered Fold 1 received the device.
In February 2020, Escobar Inc introduced the second version of the smartphone – Escobar Fold 2 worth $ 399 (about 30 thousand rubles). The smartphone has the same characteristics as the Galaxy Fold: 7.3 and 4.6 inches displays, Snapdragon 855 processor, battery capacity – 4380 mAh, operating system – Android 10.
Media attention was drawn to the strange advertising campaign Escobar Fold 2. If at first Escobar Inc challenged Apple, now it has decided to unleash a conflict with Samsung. Escobar launched ripsamsung.com (RIP Samsung) and released a commercial where half-naked girls smashed the Galaxy Fold with a sledgehammer.
Escobar Inc also bought smartphone ads from U.S. presenter Chris Hansen and model Anna Anka. They are both registered on the Cameo website, where you can purchase short personalized videos from celebrities. Hansen’s video will cost 46 pounds (about 4 thousand rubles), and Anki – 27 pounds (about 2.5 thousand rubles).
The official website says that the Escobar Fold 2 is “the world’s best flexing smartphone” and “Samsung killer.” Korean companies are offered to “rest in peace” because “Pablo always wins.”
Sell to everyone, but send only to bloggers
After the announcement, journalists assumed that the Escobar Fold 2 is either a Chinese copy of the Galaxy Fold or the same fraudulent scheme as with Fold 1. In early March, the phones still reached customers. Technology Marques Brownlee released a video with the smartphone unpacking, in which he tore off the golden stickers from Escobar Fold 2 – under them was the Samsung logo. The interface of the device is also exactly the same as the original – except for the wallpaper with the image of Pablo Escobar.
Brownley bought both models, but did not receive one and joked about it on his twitter. Soon, company representatives proposed to send him a model for review, but subject to the publication of the video. The blogger refused, and soon his first order was “improved”, replacing Escobar Fold 2.
The blogger suggested that the scammers worked like this: the company sent out smartphones only to reporters and observers, but ignored ordinary users. So they manage to beat off the cost of the original smartphone and receive references in the media. Brownley thought so because the device was sent only after he talked about the situation on Twitter.
Olof Gustafsson, CEO of Escobar Inc, confirmed to The Next Web that Escobar Fold 2 is Samsung Galaxy Fold. He stated that Samsung “closed the factory in China” – this allegedly allowed the company to “transfer production to third parties” and purchase devices from these factories.
In addition to Brownley and The Next Web, Unbox Therapy, Trakin Tech, and SuperSaf bloggers also received the smartphone. Reddit and YouTube users complained that their orders had not been delivered and that the money had not been returned. Judging by their publications, Escobar Inc often reschedules delivery dates and gives incorrect track numbers.
What else does Escobar Inc do
Escobar Inc was registered by Pablo Escobar in 1984 for money laundering outside of Colombia. His brother Roberto served as an accountant in the Medellin cartel. In 2014, he re-registered the legal entity in order to maintain control over the Escobar brand. At that time, Olof Gustafsson, a 21-year-old Swedish entrepreneur who by then had run several comic book companies, was appointed CEO.
In 2016, Escobar Inc demanded from Netflix a billion dollars for using the name Escobar in the series “Narcos”, the main character of which was Pablo. Roberto stated that he registered as trademarks the rights to the names of all members of the Medellin cartel associated with his family, and patented the word “Narcos”. In 2017, a participant in the crew of the series was shot dead in Mexico, but Escobar’s brother denied involvement in the murder and even offered Netflix to hire hired killers as a guard. Soon Escobar Inc and Netflix agreed but did not disclose the amount of the transaction.
In 2016, before the U.S. presidential election, The Washington Post stated that Gustafsson helped Donald Trump promote his campaign through social networks. In 2019, Gustafsson launched a fundraiser on GoFundMe on behalf of Escobar Inc to impeach Trump – after the campaign gained $ 10 million, it was closed.
In 2019, Escobar Inc accused Ilon Mask of stealing intellectual property – allegedly the head of The Boring Company stole the design of their propane burner and created the Not-a-Flamethrower flamethrower. Roberto said that he was discussing the prototype with the engineer Mask back in 2017. He offered to either pay him $ 100 million, or to give up the post of head of Tesla, but he had not filed a lawsuit at the time of writing.
“Elon Musk betrays people. Pablo never betrayed anyone, ” said Escobar’s brother when he charged. Musk joked on his Twitter, but Gustafsson emphasized that in this way the head of Tesla “confessed to the theft.”