Monthly Archives :

July 2019

Scam Alert

St John’s Asset Management

St John’s Asset Management 300 233 Adam Reeves

St John’s Asset Management (“SJAM”) is selling scam investments to the general public.  This is not to be confused with St John’s Asset Management Ltd which is a genuine firm authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  The SJAM we are talking about has stolen the identity of the real company and is using it to give the appearance of being a trustworthy company.

Safe Or Scam is instructed by investors in SJAM to trace the people behind the scam and recover their money.

One of the products that the fake SJAM offers to investors is the Saint John’s Multi-Currency Alpha Fund of Funds.  This promises investors a minimum return of 0.75% per month and is allegedly endorsed by the Financial Times, Robert Peston and Karen Brady.  Another product is the purchase of shares in companies such as Uber on behalf of investors.

So who are the people behind the scam ?  Well, they only do it for one reason – money.  We have traced three of the people who received client money into bank accounts they control.  Those three people are:

Soren Andreasen, a Danish citizen living in the UK.  He took money into the bank accounts of his company ‘Crest Security Contracts Ltd’;  and

Aren Pedersen, another Danish citizen living in the UK.  He took money into the bank accounts of his company ‘Clearline Contracts Ltd’;  and

Thomas Bishop, aka Tommy Bishop, a UK citizen who took money into his bank account in the name of ‘Parkwood Financial Ltd’.  His mum’s home address was the registered office.  Coincidentally, his mum, Julie Barclay, left the UK a few weeks after the money was deposited in the bank account and is now living in Tenerife.  She has been contacted and so far has not replied.

All three culprits have been contacted.  They are not very good at covering their tracks.  We are currently pursuing enquiries into other organisations which were involved in the fraud.

If you have invested in the fake St John’s Asset Management Ltd investment products or have recently purchased shares in UBER via an unlicensed party claiming to be “a broker” please CONTACT US

To view the next article on this scam please click here.

 

Carlauren Group

Carlauren Group 2000 1333 Adam Reeves

Carlauren Group sells bedrooms to investors in what it primarily describes as “care facilities” e.g care homes.  An associated Carlauren company then rents those rooms back from investors paying an annual rent e.g 10%.  So…. an investor buys a room for £100,000 and receives £10,000 per year in rental income.  It sounds a pretty good deal to most investors.

Following our letter to investors in which we made a number of negative statements about the investment, Sean Murray and Andrew Jamieson, the key men in the company, have responded.  In the interests of fairness we are publishing below some of our statements and the Carlauren response.  We made a lot of statements so we will publish more in later blogs.

Statement 1:  “The majority of the Carlauren Group companies are heavily in debt. Many of those debts have been secured against the communal areas which investors do not own””.

Carlauren Response:  “Carlauren uses Together Commercial Finance Ltd to initially purchase its properties and immediately settles its lending within weeks of completion by our clients. We can tell you that no Carlauren properties held under Carlauren Group Ltd have any lending whatsoever from Together Commercial Finance Ltd (“TCF”)”.

Our Reply:  We think you are being clever with your wording Mr Murray.  Carlauren Group Ltd does not own the freeholds to any properties so we agree it has not incurred any debts.  However, each property is owned by a separate SPV company and there are more than 20 of them.  Those companies have the debts.  The records of charges filed at Companies House show that in the main the purchase of the properties is financed by TCF exactly as Mr Murray describes.  The records also show that in the main the debt is paid off with money raised from investors, exactly as Mr Murray describes.  There is a good reason for that.  The original debt is against the entire property and some bedrooms have now been sold therefore the debt must be cleared.  However, once the debt is cleared the Carlauren SPV then takes out further debts from TCF.  Each time the security is the property’s communal areas which the Carlauren SPV owns.  Many of these debts have been taken out in 2019.

Statement 2:  “We can prove the investments were mis-sold to investors at inflated prices”..To support this statement we provided details of three randomly selected Carlauren properties.  Let us look at one of them – Rosewell Country Home.  This property was closed when CHF 2 Ltd bought it in March 2017.  It is still closed.  CHF 2 Ltd paid £1.3m.  It sold the bedrooms off to 51 investors for £5.4m.  In January 2019 CHF 2 took out a debt against the communal areas.  The lender was TCF.  Companies House records and Land Registry records show that debt is still outstanding.

Carlauren Response:  “Property hotel value is based on the trading of it, along with the land value.  The valuation consists of a land value and a trading value”.

Our Reply:  Yes, but this property was closed when Carlauren bought it and has remained closed.  There is no trading value.  However, the good news is that until recently 51 investors have been receiving their 10% rentals on the closed property.  That means they have received more than £1m in rentals from a closed, non-trading hotel.  This brings us to Statement 3.

Statement 3:  Investors were paid rentals from their own money and from the money of new investors.  We have seen this many times and on each occasion the investment turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme.

Carlauren Response:  NO COMMENT.

Finally we would like to draw attention to the Carlauren letter of 10th July 2019 in which they state:

“In other news, the company has now started its retail international holiday sales programme beginning with China.  Our loyal partner, Paul Murphy is in transit today to meet with China’s most prestigious holiday outlet supplier…..”

Aaaah…… Paul Murphy the loyal partner.  Some of the people who have been lucky enough to meet Paul Murphy have confirmed that he is the Paul Daniel Murphy in this newspaper report (2nd row on the left).  He was sentenced to 6 years in prison for investment fraud. 

He seems to have the perfect credentials to be a “loyal partner” of Mr Murray and Carlauren Group.

The letter of 15th July 2019 from Sean Murray and Andrew Jamieson is an attempt to scare investors into thinking that an independent administrator is going to charge £350,000 per month for their work. That is just ridiculous. Yet in the same letter after stating “administrators do not work for free” he says that he is considering potentially appointing administrators !

Investors need to be very wary of supporting an administrator appointed by company directors. A Carlauren administrator would be tasked with protecting the company directors and not in finding out where investors’ money has gone.

To view our previous post on Carlauren Group please click HERE

OurSpace Partners LP

OurSpace Partners LP 2000 1333 Adam Reeves

OurSpace Partners LP is a Scottish Limited Partnership which raised funds for the OurSpace workspace Ponzi Scheme.

A Scottish Limited Partnership (“SLP”) is a structure which contains two types of partner. They are called Limited Partners and General Partners. Limited Partners take no part in the running of the company – these are the investors. General Partners are the management team. They are not investors.

According to filings at Companies House this SLP had registered Limited Partners who had invested approximately $4m into the partnership.

There was only one General Partner running the partnership. That was a company incorporated in the UK called OurSpace Holdings Ltd.

On 19th June 2019, a Safe Or Scam client, who we had guided through the entire process, successfully petitioned the High Court in London to obtain a winding up order against OurSpace Holdings Ltd. The basis for the petition was that the contract between the Limited Partner (our client) and the SLP required the SLP to make quarterly interest payments to the Limited Partner. It had failed to make those payments for nine months.

OurSpace Holdings Ltd was controlled by Malcolm Douglass during the fundraising period. Malcolm Douglass was a key figure in the OurSpace empire. He was replaced in the SLP in 2018 by Kevan Halliwell, the co-founder of the collapsed OurSpace Ponzi Scheme. Halliwell, through his solicitor, argued that the debt was owed by the SLP and not by OurSpace Holdings Ltd which was only the General Partner i.e the Manager of the SLP. However, the court accepted our client’s argument that the contract contained a clause which stated that in the event of the SLP failing to make a payment the liability to pay falls upon the General Partner. Our client had followed the correct debt recovery process in the UK, OurSpace Holdings Ltd had refused to pay, and our client was therefore entitled to petition the court to wind up OurSpace Holdings Ltd.

Now that OurSpace Holdings Ltd has been wound up the matter has been passed to the Official Receiver. An application has been made by the client’s preferred liquidation firm to take over the case. OurSpace Partners LP (the Scottish Limited Partnership) is still technically in existence. It has not been dissolved. It just does not have a functioning General Partner at present. The liquidator will now take control of the General Partner and will be able to keep the SLP running until such time as the investigation is complete.

The liquidator will be looking into the affairs of all parties involved, including the directors, and we look forward to updating investors in the near future.

To view the previous blog entry on OurSpace please click HERE

Carlauren Group

Carlauren Group 2000 1333 Adam Reeves

Safe Or Scam, in collaboration with a business recovery and insolvency practitioner firm, and a respected UK law firm, has informed investors in Carlauren Group properties of an action designed to protect, preserve and potentially recover their investments.

Carlauren Group has sold individual rooms which it describes as “care studios” in more than 20 properties. The company has raised more than £80 million from ordinary investors with the promise of guaranteed rental levels. Three months ago the rental payments stopped.

Carlauren Group is controlled by one man – Sean Murray.

Even if all the properties were sold investors would not recover their money. The typical Carlauren model was to buy a property for 1X and then sell individual bedrooms to investors for a total of 4X. So a property which cost £1m would have the bedrooms sold off for £4m. It is a shocking model with only one aim in mind.

To make matters worse, Carlauren would then mortgage the communal areas in which they have retained ownership in order to raise more money.

Lenders are not stupid. They would have secured themselves in first position. In many cases, if not all, the refurbishment of properties was carried out by a building company owned by Sean Murray. We suspect that Sean Murray is now a very rich man.

One might have expected that these mortgages on the communal areas would have resulted in the money being used for the property. One would have been wrong. The charges often show that whilst the mortgages were secured against one property, the “borrower” was another entirely separate Carlauren company. In other words, the value in one property was being mortgaged to purchase another property for which Carlauren could then sell off those rooms at grossly inflated prices. It was a regular conveyor belt of properties each generating 4X the purchase value every time by selling overpriced rooms. This is all very indicative of a Ponzi Scheme.

Interesting that there is one “go-to” lender in all of this.

It is impossible that investors will recover their full investment from the sale of the property portfolio. The best outcome for investors is to place the portfolio into administration so that it can be properly managed by professionals whilst a full investigation is undertaken into Sean Murray, his management team and the sales network.

We expect this to result in legal claims against the parties involved. Any investor who considers buying a room in any large property, whether that be a care home or a hotel, needs to stop and reconsider. These are terrible investments which we can almost guarantee will end in failure.

Safe Or Scam is involved in investigating other hotel and care operators.

To read our previous blog entry on Carlauren Group please click HERE.

To read our later blog on Carlauren Group please click HERE.

 

Phenco Oil Scam

Phenco Oil Scam 400 267 Adam Reeves

Phenco Ltd has lost a case brought by a Safe Or Scam client in the High Court in London and will now be wound up by Order of the Court.

Phenco was one of the five oil scam companies controlled by Martin Finch, Glenn King and David Hyman. The Order was issued on 10th July 2019.

On 11th July 2019 Martin Finch tried to claim he had informed investors in February 2019 of a re-organisation of the oil contracts. Of course, none of the investors received this fictitious notification in February. It is entirely false.

During May and June 2019, Martin Finch stopped communicating with investors. It could be alleged that he was off trying to falsify records to throw everyone off the scent, but we wouldn’t allege that.

Any person involved in a fraud of this kind of size would be in serious trouble. They would be better holding their hands up and owning up to what they’ve done. It is never wise to try to cover up after the event because you will always be found out and then you are as guilty as the people who benefitted the most.

It appears that the people involved in oil scams are so toxic that even their solicitors stop working with them.

We’ve done a good job of bringing the Phenco scam to an end. Phenco Ltd will now be wound up and we expect other associated companies to follow. Tristone Holdings and Venture Equity are other oil scams run by the same people. Now we can move to the next phase which is to gather evidence of fraud and bring in our funders who are keen to support private prosecutions. Phenco may not realise it but it will have left a trail. Scammers always do.

To read more on Phenco, Osage 1, Kansas MB, Kansas B2, Sooner Energy, Tristone Holdings and Venture Equity please visit this website

To view our more recent update on the Phenco oil scam please click on this link.

Please also visit our blog page to catch up with our previous blogs on this company and our other investigations.

 

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