Monthly Archives :

January 2020

Scam Alert

Craven Capital Follow-on-Fraud

Craven Capital Follow-on-Fraud 300 233 Dorset Tech

Craven Capital is carrying out a follow-on-fraud targeting investors in Win River Developments. On 15th January 2020 we reported the winding up of Win River Developments Ltd in this blog article.

Less than two weeks later a bogus organisation calling itself Craven Capital has launched the first follow-on-fraud. No doubt more will follow because when investors buy products through unregulated sales agents their personal details are never protected. The personal details are either stolen by a salesperson who is moving on to another firm or who is setting up on their own, or they are sold on to other firms for some quick cash, or they are used by the back-office company which provided the admin support for the scam and which has its own set of follow-on-fraud scammers ready and waiting, generally located in a dubious offshore location.

Follow-on-frauds generally follow a similar method. Scammers clone the identity of an existing company and, using that fake identity, try to deceive scam victims into sending them more money. They normally claim they are working with the liquidator or administrator, or that they have found a buyer for the investment, or that they already have money in the bank ready to pay out to the victim. Unfortunately many investors/creditors are taken in by the approach and end up losing a lot more money.

The organisation making contact with investors is not the genuine company, Craven Capital Ltd. It is a fake organisation which has cloned the details of the genuine company. The genuine company was established in March 2010. The Craven Capital follow-on-fraud company doesn’t exist, but someone bought a .co.uk web address only 8 weeks ago and hasn’t even got around to building a website to support the fraud. This Craven Capital approach is a very new and very fresh follow-on-fraud. It’s also, thankfully, not a very good one.

Investors in Win River Developments are being approached by a man calling himself Jeremy Hunter using telephone number 01476 589332.  “Jeremy” (he won’t be using his real name) is advising investors that Craven Capital (the fake one) is working with the company administrator to sell the assets on behalf of creditors. The recovery method ‘Jeremy’ is proposing is called “The Capital Exchange Program”. Ooooh – that sounds rather professional Jeremy.

Below is a typical email sent out by ‘Lydia Josephs’ (most likely Jeremy in a dress). Some details redacted to protect the source.

From: Craven Capital <admin@cravencapital.co.uk>
Date: XXXXXXXX 
Subject: Craven Capital Portfolio – Acquisitions & Sales Reservation
To: XXXXXXXX

 Please find relevant correspondence attached below. Please feel free to contact your portfolio advisor on the telephone number stated below with your reference no. If you cannot remember your reference, that is not an issue, but you may have to pass security before being allowed to discuss your portfolio with your advisor.

Kind Regards,

Lydia Josephs | Administration Manager

T: +44(0)1476 589332
E: admin@cravencapital.co.uk

 

I just love it when they make up nonsense like “you may have to pass security before being allowed to discuss your portfolio with your advisor“.  One word of advice Jeremy – it’s very difficult to believe that your Craven Capital scam has a professional client protection structure behind it when you haven’t even got a logo ! Get yourself a logo man. It’s bad enough that you’re a thief, but do you have to be such an amateur and cheapskate thief ?

Jeremy’s favoured approach is that once he has made contact with the unfortunate scam victim, ‘Jeremy/Lydia’ sends out the explanatory letter below (no logo, but they’ve written Craven Capital REALLY BIG to make up for it). “Hey guys, we don’t have a logo. Let’s make the company name ridiculously large and they might not notice”. Then some idiot came up with the idea that if they’ve written the company name REALLY BIG they can compensate for that by making the fake address at the bottom as teeny weeny tiny as possible. “Hey guys, what’s the smallest font size anyone’s ever used ? Let’s use that for the bottom of the letter”. What’s the matter with you Jeremy ?

The Craven Capital Follow-on-Fraud Document

If you read the total garbage they’ve written you might wonder where the scam actually is. Well, the key phrase is right at the very end….

“For this reason, we are unable to offer positions within asset-specific programs prior to there being an order to fill and positions cannot be held open without contractual commitment due to time constraints put in place by the end buyer”.

We can’t be sure what Jeremy’s intention is because this is a very new follow-on-fraud, but from our experience a phrase like this normally means “We are going to pretend that there is someone who wants to buy your investment, but first you must sign a contract saying that you want us to sell your worthless investment for you. Once you have done that we will claim that the buyer is ready to complete giving you a huge profit, but he wants you to put $XXX into escrow with us first to show that you are genuinely serious about completing the deal.” 

At this point the victim normally has second thoughts because the contract they signed never said anything about having to make an upfront payment. That’s when Jeremy and the Craven Capital Follow-on-Fraud moves into the ‘Mr Nasty’ phase. They start telling the victim that Craven Capital has incurred a lot of costs in setting up this sale and the victim has already signed a contract to go through with it. If they don’t pay Craven Capital and/or the buyer will take legal action to recover their costs. They make it sound like the poor victim will face a very large extra bill for costs. This would never stand up in court because it is just a scam, but the victim does not know that and it creates a massive amount of stress and worry. These scammers are horrible people. Truly awful people.

Of course Craven Capital doesn’t have an escrow account. The investor’s money will disappear as soon they pay it over.

We’ll probably get told off for this because it might sound like legal advice, but it isn’t. It’s just our experience. If the investor pays the scammers there’s a very real danger they will come back for more money. They will view the investor as a soft touch and they will try to squeeze more out of them. That’s how these evil people work. If you ever find yourself in this position TELL SOMEONE YOU TRUST. DO NOT PAY THE SCAMMERS. GO AND SEE A SOLICITOR. THEY WILL OFTEN GIVE YOU A FREE CONSULTATION AND IT SHOULDN’T TAKE THEM FIFTEEN MINUTES TO TELL YOU IT’S A FOLLOW-ON-FRAUD AND YOU DON’T OWE THE SCAMMERS ANYTHING.

Or just tell us and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

To view a more recent article on this scam please click here.

 

Scam Alert

Brookfield Investment Funds PLC

Brookfield Investment Funds PLC 300 233 Dorset Tech

Brookfield Investment Funds PLC is a new investment scam established by the same people behind the St Johns Asset Management scam AND the Van Gossum Consult scam, both of which have been covered by us in the articles below.

St Johns Asset Management scam

Van Gossum Consult scam

As usual, members of their scam team are offering fake shares to investors prior to flotation. In this case they have been offering ‘Virgin Hyperloop One’ shares. No doubt they have a professional-looking, fake share certificate to send out to investors when money is paid over. If the share issue isn’t to the investor’s liking, these scammers also offer a “RISK-FREE” investment in ‘China Housing and Land Development Inc’ which allegedly plans to sell its assets in the next three months which they claim will result in a much higher guaranteed fixed price for investors. It’s all rubbish. None of it is real.

We are grateful to all the people who have contacted us providing information on the St Johns Asset Management, Van Gossum Consult and Brookfield Investment Funds PLC scams.

This group of scammers will continue establishing scam after scam until they are arrested. For the Brookfield Investment Funds PLC scam they are sticking with using Vipco Holdings PTE Ltd, a favourite money mule company of theirs incorporated in Singapore. That company has also been covered in previous articles. VipCo Holdings PTE Ltd is still allowing its bank account to be used by scammers to take in money from investors.

Last year we raised concerns with the United Overseas Bank of Singapore and DBS bank of Singapore. The scammers were routing investor money through Vipco Holdings accounts at both banks. This time the scammers are using a new Vipco bank account at OCBC Bank in Singapore, details below:

Bank Name: OCBC Bank, Singapore  –  Account Name: Vipco Holdings PTE Ltd  –  Account Number: 503 534 950 301

We assume the UOB and DBS bank accounts were shut down following us highlighting the accounts. We certainly hope they were.

Investigations are continuing on behalf of clients who have lost money in these scams and we are making good progress.  We have some leads and will update our blog page when we feel it is appropriate to publish some of the sensitive information we have obtained.

As in previous cases these scammers have a very good command of English. Some of the names used by people at Brookfield Investment Funds PLC are:

Damian Williams – Director of Mergers & Acquisitions; and Jason Taylor – Investment Advisor; and David Billington – Accounts Department; and Keith Armitage – President.

These will obviously be false names. The Brookfield Investment Funds PLC scam telephone numbers are located in several countries including the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Thailand etc. The numbers they have been using in the UK and Ireland are:

In the UK – +442076601459

In Ireland – +35314126374 and +35314124549

The .com and .net domain names for Brookfield Investment Funds PLC were registered in April 2019 and July 2019.  The website is operated out of Bucharest, Romania. That is always a worrying indicator.

We have attached some of the typical documents being used by Brookfield Investment Funds PLC below. Please note that we have redacted any dates, investment amounts and reference numbers which might enable Brookfield Investment Funds PLC to identify the source of the documents.

Brookfield Investment Funds_Scam Documents

The Van Gossum Consult and St Johns Asset Management scams are multi-jurisdictional and have been reported to Police authorities in more than one country. We are happy to provide information to any investigating authority in any jurisdiction which may be pursuing enquiries against the parties involved in this series of scams.

Safe Or Scam has recently established an Investor Support Group for people who have lost money in the Brookfield Investment Funds PLC scam. To see details of our announcement please visit this article.

 

Fraud In The UK

Fraud In The UK 300 300 Dorset Tech

On 25th January 2020, The Times newspaper carried a headline story about fraud in the UK. The article is titled “Police can’t cope with avalanche of fraud cases”.

This was the finding of a report by Sir Craig Mackey, former deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London. He also made the following points:

Action Fraud is failing to answer a third of calls;

The Police are not adequately equipped to investigate fraud in the UK;

There are almost 4 million cases of fraud in the UK reported each year which makes up one third of all reported crimes;

There have been unacceptable delays because Police forces are making excuses to avoid taking on investigations. Police staff say they can no longer work effectively to identify criminals and help bring them to justice;

The growth in fraud means that it should be seen as a national threat to the UK;

This is not a surprise to anyone who has been the victim of a scam and who has reported it to Action Fraud. The chances of the report being taken seriously are slim. The chances of the report being passed to a genuine Police officer are even slimmer, and the chances of the report actually resulting in an investigation are ridiculously low. If the scam involved the investor paying into an offshore bank account, or the scam involves companies based outside the UK, then the chance of the UK Police investigating the crime is virtually ZERO.

If the victim can provide a full evidence package which absolutely nails the scammer they have a chance of the Police taking an interest. The problem is that very few people have that level of evidence to begin with. That’s why they are relying on the Police to investigate.

The blame should not all be levelled at the UK Police. It is very difficult to prove fraud in court. The scammer knows it was a fraud, the victim knows it was a fraud and the Police know it was a fraud, but unless clear evidence is put before a Judge he/she will not convict. The Police are measured on their conviction rates and they won’t prosecute cases where they don’t have clear evidence and the likelihood of obtaining a conviction is not strong. Fraud investigations can take up a lot of time and be very expensive at a time when Police budgets are stretched. It is no surprise that fraud investigation is given such a low priority.

Also, the Police are interested in securing a conviction i.e putting the scammer in jail. Recovering the money is not their top priority, whereas for most investors the recovery of their money is the most important factor. Putting the scammer behind bars would be a bonus. Our priority is always the recovery of money and that generally means investors have to be prepared to file civil claims in court.

Quite often there are other parties involved in the scam. They were not part of the criminal plan and will not face any criminal charges from the Police, but they may have some liability to compensate investors through a civil claim. The Police are not interested in those parties because the Police investigate criminal offences, not civil matters. This is where investors need help in identifying and taking action against those potential third parties.

However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel in tackling fraud in the UK. Sir Craig Mackey’s report recommends the recruitment of hundreds of new Police officers with a focus on fraud. It also recommends the recruitment of financial experts from the banking sector. That seems a very sensible suggestion because the scammers cannot operate without a bank account. The downside is that the money for these measures won’t be made available for at least two years, if at all.

One of the most frustrating aspects of investigating scams, especially follow-on-frauds, is when we know the bank accounts the scammers are using and we approach the banks to warn them that the accounts are being used in a scam.  Firstly, it’s very difficult to report a scam to a bank. More often than not the “reporting fraud” section is hidden away in an obscure part of the bank’s website and there is no phone number or email address.

Secondly, when you finally find a phone number that might help and you get through to someone at the bank they ask you “are you a customer of the bank and have you been defrauded”? When you tell them that you are not a customer of the bank, but you want to report an account that is being used in a scam, they say that they can only accept a fraud report from one of their customers who has paid into the account. No matter what you say they won’t report the account as a potential scam. The scammer is free to steal more money from ordinary people, when the account should really have been temporarily frozen whilst they looked into the receipts made into the account.

So….. the end result is that we often have to make a bank transfer from our own bank account into the scammers account. Then we report to our bank that we have been the victim of a fraud and we ask our bank to contact the scammers bank to investigate. That’s literally the only way to get a bank to take a closer look at the transactions on that account. You actually have to pay money into the scammer’s bank account. It’s just crazy.

 

Scam Alert

Chelsea Transfer Ltd

Chelsea Transfer Ltd 300 233 Dorset Tech

Chelsea Transfer Ltd is running a follow-on-fraud.  In other words, Chelsea Transfer Ltd is totally fake and is seeking to extort money from investors.  It is a scam and investors should not send any money to them.

Here is an extract of an email which is being sent out to investors:

From: Chelsea Transfer Ltd. <info@chelseatransferltd.com>
Subject: AGYP CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT NOTICE
Date: [Redacted to Protect Investor]
To: [Redacted to Protect Investor]
Cc: James Ashworth <jashworth@bocxbj.com>
Dear [Name],
My name is William Lockwood I am the transfer agent of record for the Allied Energy Group, a Class Action Lawsuit brought to the principles of that company and was settled 60 days ago.
The purpose of my correspondence is to inquire if you have been notified of this development by the assigned bank handling the processing of the funds and that you are indeed still in possession and a shareholder of record for the shares you purchased, as my office will process the transfer of ownership of said shares involved in this settlement, if you have not been informed of this settlement  action please contact the offices of Mr. James Ashworth the VP of International Banking for Bank of China I have included his email in the message, contact that office for all the official documents and to collect your settlement amount, thank you for your time.
Regards,
William Lockwood
Sr. Transfer Agent
Chelsea Transfer Ltd.
Bank of China Tower
1 Garden Rd, Central Hong Kong
51st Floor
It is interesting to note that the email was copied to a James Ashworth, who the idiot writer of the email, William Lockwood (a fake name), refers to as the Vice President of International Banking for the Bank of China.  There are two issues with the fake Mr Lockwoods’ email. The first is that the Bank of China is unlikely to employ a westerner as Vice President of International Banking.  China is not renowned for offering senior banking positions to westerners, especially when the bank concerned is its National Bank.
The second is that the Bank of China has been established for a very, very long time, yet the email address of the Vice President James Ashworth has only been in existence since November 2019.  www.bocxbj.com was registered in November 2019.
THIS IS A CLEAR SCAM AND WE ADVISE ANYONE READING THIS ARTICLE TO DEFINITELY NOT PAY ANYTHING TO CHELSEA TRANSFER LTD OR TO ANY OTHER ORGANISATION LINKED TO THEM.  IF YOU DO YOU WILL LOSE YOUR MONEY.
We are interested to hear from any person who has been taken in by this scam or who has been approached by the scammers.
 

Osage 1 Ltd Closed Down

Osage 1 Ltd Closed Down 400 267 Dorset Tech

Osage 1 Ltd has been closed down.

On Wednesday 22nd January 2020, the High Court in London issued a winding up order against Osage 1 Ltd.  This company was another of the scam UK oil companies which allegedly derived revenues from the operation of oil fields in the US.  The reality is that more than 75% of investors’ money was deducted the moment they paid it over.  The petitioner, Mr Bollington, was a Safe Or Scam client who unfortunately was persuaded to invest a significant sum of money in the scam.

This is the fourth company involved in the US oil scam to have been closed down by SOS clients.

In 2019, Osage 1 Ltd lost a case which alleged that the company was operating a ponzi scheme.  The company, its director and shadow directors, will now be subject to an investigation.

To view our previous article on the oil scams please click here.

 

Kansas B2 Project Ltd

Kansas B2 Project Ltd 400 267 Dorset Tech

On Wednesday 15th January 2020, Kansas B2 Project Ltd was wound up by Order of the High Court in London.  The winding up petition had been brought by a Safe Or Scam client who was owed a significant sum of money by the company.  We assisted our client in bringing the case and in collecting and presenting evidence to support his claim.

Kansas B2 Project Ltd is one of five oil companies controlled by Glenn Jamie King and David Alexander Hyman through their pseudo-director Martin Finch.  Glenn King and David Hyman are also involved in Tristone Holdings Ltd and Venture Equity Ltd, although in these cases they are operating through Henry George Berry.  Henry George Berry operated from the same office address as Martin Finch, although anyone looking through the window would have just seen an empty office.

Kansas B2 Project Ltd had raised £3.18m from ordinary investors and paid out 73% of the funds as soon as they were received.  The funds were allegedly spent on “marketing, sales agents fees and commissions”.  In other words, the money was withdrawn by the people behind the scam right at the start.  They are always greedy and take out as much as they can get away with at the earliest opportunity.

It was very carefully constructed.  They had made their mistakes in an earlier version of the oil scam and had learnt how to restructure future scams to avoid repeating the same mistakes.  Fortunately they weren’t as clever as they thought.

The company turned £3,180,000 of cash into assets which it values in its accounts at £862,000.  This valuation has not been independently verified so it is quite possible that the assets are not worth £862,000.  Investors will now be in a position to find out the truth about the investment.  We hope to identify possible avenues of compensation as more information becomes available.

This is the third oil company involving Martin Finch which has been liquidated by a Safe Or Scam client.

To view our previous post on Kansas B2 Project and the other Martin Finch oil companies please click here.

 

 

Win River Developments

Win River Developments 400 267 Dorset Tech

On Wednesday 15th January 2020, Win River Developments Ltd was shut down by the High Court in London.  This was as a result of a petition filed by a Safe Or Scam client, who was supported by three other Safe Or Scam clients who had filed claims for unpaid rentals and capital.

Win River Developments Ltd is owned and managed by Simon Whittley, aka Simon Whittley-Ryan.  He is no stranger to the UK court process.  To view our previous article on Simon Whittley please click here.

Another of his companies, Highgrove Osprey PLC, was shut down in August 2019 and a third, St Helier Capital Management Ltd, is in court on 29th January 2020 defending a petition brought by two Safe Or Scam clients, one of whom is almost 90 years old.  Simon Whittley has no scruples when it comes to taking money from people. He is also a liar.

We say Simon Whittley is a liar because here is an extract of an email he sent out on the evening of Tuesday 14th January 2020 just a few hours before his court hearing:

“As you will recall, the Company has arranged its senior refinancing and this offer is valid and waiting to be completed……”

“It is also pertinent to advise you that we are working with our insurance company in respect of the claim that the Company has initiated and we will advise, with the consent of the insurance company, on any news in this respect”.

To be fair to the Judge, Simon Whittley was given every chance to back up his statements.  Our client had submitted documentary evidence going back more than 12 months listing the company’s repeated promises to pay.  It began with promises of payment within a week, then within another two weeks, then within a month, and so on.  One year later the same promises were being made.  Our client’s representative at the court described the hearing as follows:

Win River Developments Ltd sought another adjournment on the basis of raising finance and insurance payment monies.  Counsel for the Company submitted that finance agreements had been signed and they requested a 12 week adjournment to complete. 

The Judge had read the history of emails submitted by the petitioner and demanded to see evidence from Win River Developments Ltd proving their statements.   At that point an UNSIGNED loan agreement was handed up between a lender and an entirely different company which it was claimed was apparently part of Mr Whittley’s group of companies and was in some way related to Win River Developments Ltd.  The connection to Win River Developments Ltd was not explained.  

The document was unsigned and not sufficient evidence to suggest that Win River Developments Ltd could pay the petitioner and the other claimants in a reasonable time.  [Even if it had been] signed there was no evidence that any monies obtained under that agreement would be allocated towards the debts of Win River Developments Ltd.  There was no explanation as to any connection between the companies.

It was noted that the submissions made by Win River Developments Ltd were made very late and that the debts had been outstanding for a long time.  It was also noted that the Company had had plenty of opportunity to provide witness evidence to support its assertions, but hadn’t done so.  No evidence of an insurance claim had been provided to the court. 

The Judge ordered that the Company be wound up.

The Official Receiver will now intervene in the Company and undertake an analysis of the company’s financial dealings and the conduct of the director(s).

Simon Whittley is also the director of Avianta Capital Consulting Ltd, a company involved in raising funds for an airline venture apparently headed up by his wife, Aislinn Whittley-Ryan.

 

TSM Corporate Services Update

TSM Corporate Services Update 400 231 Dorset Tech

TSM Corporate Services Update.

Further to the recent article on TSM Corporate Services which can be viewed here, we are pleased to report that our client has now been paid her full investment + interest + costs.

 

Sooner Energy SPV-1 Ltd

Sooner Energy SPV-1 Ltd 400 267 Dorset Tech

On 8th January 2020, Sooner Energy SPV-1 Ltd was wound up by Order of the High Court in London.

Sooner Energy SPV-1 Ltd is the second US oil investment company run by Martin Finch to be wound up by a Safe Or Scam client.  The other company was Phenco Ltd.  The matter will now pass to the Official Receiver for investigation and potential recovery.

To view our previous article on the Martin Finch oil companies please click here

Sami Raja Daily Telegraph

Sami Raja Daily Telegraph 300 300 Dorset Tech

Sami Raja Daily Telegraph.

In December 2019 we were approached by a reporter for a respected UK newspaper – the Daily Telegraph.  She was researching an article on the notorious scammer Sami Raja and asked if we could introduce investors who had lost money to him.  We introduced two SOS clients, Dennis and Kevin.  We are working with both of them to recover funds from some of their scam investments.

Kevin invested in Park First which is run by the notorious Toby Whittaker who has a record of losing huge sums of investors’ money.

Dennis invested in four separate scams having been cold-called by Sami Raja.  One of those scams, St Helier Capital Management, is run by Simon Whittley (aka Simon Whittley-Ryan).  Mr Whittley runs one scam after another leaving a trail of investor losses behind him.  With our help Dennis has finally managed to get St Helier Capital Management into court.  The hearing is on 29th January.

Another SOS client, Keith, is taking legal action against a different Simon Whittley company [ Win River Developments Ltd ] and that dispute is in court on 15th January.

Sami Raja was sentenced in absentia to 8 years in prison for his part in a carbon credit scam, but he fled to Dubai and has appealed his conviction. Coincidentally (or not), Dubai is one of the major centres of follow-on-frauds.

The Sami Raja Daily Telegraph article has now been published and can be viewed on this link:  Fraudster On The Run 

 

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