Fake heiresses, entrepreneurs and daters, oh my! Meet Ali Ayad, the latest subject of TV's recent scam obsession.
Ayad, the brains behind Madbird design agency, attempted to swindle his workers out of their rightful compensation, which is the focus of Jobfished. Told through the eyes of an investigative journalist, the new BBC Three documentary attempts to uncover Ayad's web of lies—and it's far from the only project to investigate fraud.
Streaming services and networks have been preoccupied with all-things deceitful: The BBC's new release comes on the heels of Inventing Anna and The Tinder Swindler, Netflix originals about a fake heiress and dater, respectively.
Lately, it's all about the lies. So while we're on the subject of fraud, let's dive into everything we know about the latest hoaxer causing a buzz.
- The Tinder Swindler memes: swipe right on these LOL moments
- Who is Inventing Anna about? Meet Anna Sorokin
- Watch The Dropout trailer and relive the Elizabeth Holmes scandal
Who is Ali Ayad?
Ali Ayad is a co-founder of a creative agency, Madbird & Co Limited—only said agency does not actually exist.
With the help of fake aliases, business profiles and even a fake partner, “Dave Stanfield," Ayad tricked his employees into believing that he was building a reputable company. Sources insist that Ayad was a confident and charming leader, but he ultimately left his team high and dry once he was exposed.
All about Madbird
The company hired new employees on a commission-only basis for a six-month trial and promised its talent security during the chaotic 2020 job market.
As if furloughs and layoffs weren't enough, Madbird workers had another issue entirely to deal with: fraud. An email from "Jane Smith" exposed what was really going on at the company, which revealed its notable clients did not exist and work was being stolen from other reputable outlets.
A super sleuth among the new hires, who was supposedly curious about her office life when quarantine rules were lifted, realized that the UK office address was actually a residential address. Another realized some of the international employees were not real and Zoom sessions were staged.
After the exposure, Ayad allegedly apologized and claimed that he, too, was a victim of the fraud. That's when he took part in one of the most irritating trends of all: ghosting. It's rough when people ghost and leave victims with a broken heart, but imagine leaving people in debt to boot!
As a result, former Madbird employees were left searching for their compensation during 2020, one of the most turbulent times in recent history. One employee, Chris Doocey, revealed to The Sun (opens in new tab)that he was in the red because of working with Ayad.
“Ali kept promising that he would take me on ‘no matter what happened’ as he ‘really liked me’. It was the definition of emotional manipulation and I was left in £10,000 of debt," the Madbird employee told the outlet.
How to watch 'Jobfished'
Those in the UK can catch Jobfished on BBC Three, but even those across the pond (and elsewhere) can learn more about the fake businessman with the help of a VPN.
VPNs allow you to change your IP address, so no matter where you are located, you can access the same streaming services that you've already paid for and watch your favorite TV shows. We highly recommend ExpressVPN (opens in new tab).
What are the perks? Check them out below.
- It's fast and easy to use
- It helps you stay secure and anonymous online
- The connection is reliable
- You can try it for free for a month
- If you sign up for an annual plan, you get three months absolutely free
- It comes with a no-risk 30-day money-back guarantee (opens in new tab)
While, yes, Hollywood's new fraud obsession can seem unsettling, it proves one thing to be true: whether you're going out on a date or applying for a job, always do your homework. Things are not always what they appear!
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)
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