Wannabe elite hacker-turned-convicted fraudster Kim 'Kimble' Schmitz has reinvented himself as the next Bernie Ecclestone.
His front company, Kimvestor, is planning to organise the "Ultimate Rally". The seven day race over 3,000 miles (route unspecified) is scheduled to take place sometime in 2006 and offer a prize of $2m. It promises participants "one of your top ten lifetime experiences". But before would-be Petter Solbergs (reigning World Rally Champion) sign up it's worth reviewing Kimble's colourful history of business ventures.
Kimble/Schmitz shot to prominence in Germany in the late 1990s by presenting himself as an elite hacker. He spun a myth of his supposed pre-eminence in the computer underworld, using a little fact interlaced with a lot of juicy bits taken from media accounts and movies.
An article mirrored by Attrition article exposes Kimble's self aggrandising personal mythology, recycled through numerous media interviews, of breaking into the systems of CitiBank, NASA and the Pentagon as a sham.
After being convicted of relatively minor telecoms fraud offences in 1998 - and sentenced to two years on probation - Schmitz re-emerged as a security advisor and venture capitalist. His near brush with prison had given him an unquenchable thirst for publicity.
Readers may recall Schmitz offered a $10m reward for information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden. Keeping his hand in and demonstrating the hacking skill with which he'd become legendary, Kimble founded hacker crew called YIHAT (Young Intelligent Hackers Against Terrorism), which claimed to have penetrated Osama bin Laden's bank accounts and to be close to tracking him down.
These claims were never substantiated, but YIHAT's website was hacked by UK hacker Fluffi Bunny, to the amusement of much of the security community.
Around this time, Schmitz claimed his net worth was over $200m. Whatever the truth of these claims, he pursued a lifestyle of decadence and indulgence featuring fast cars, yachts, exotic trips and Playboy models until his dealings caught up with him.
In 2001 Schmitz offered to rescue online retailer Letsbuyit.com from collapse. This rescue mission was subsequently exposed as a sham. In May 2002, after being extradited from Thailand to Germany, he was convicted of stock price manipulation designed to net him €1.2m ($1.5m) and given a 20-month suspended prison sentence.
Schmitz was also fined €100,000 by a Munich court after pleading guilty to insider trading of Letsbuyit.com shares.
He then moved to Hong Kong, where he set-up a hedge fund -cum -"Money Making Machine" called Trendax. Trendax says it uses artificial intelligence technology which automatically "selects the optimal combination of trading strategies for current market conditions".
The bankruptcy last year of parent company Kimvestor left Trendax in limbo and must surely raise questions about the viability of the "Ultimate Rally". And that's just the beginning of Schmitz's problems. He faces charges of embezzlement over a "loan" of €280,000, paid by his company Monkey to his venture fund Kimvestor. ®
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Kimble/Schmitz gets 20 months suspended sentence
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Bin Laden hackers denounce founder
Bin Laden hack-meister in defacement, financial debacles
Kimble.org offers $10m reward for arrest of bin Laden
Letsbuyit awakes from coma