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July 2020

Shepherd Cox Webinar

Shepherd Cox Webinar 500 333 Adam Reeves

Shepherd Cox Webinar

Earlier this week room investors were invited to a Shepherd Cox webinar organised by the administrator of six Shepherd Cox companies.

Investors were informed that:

a) none of the Shepherd Cox companies have ever made a profit;

b) a large number of investor payments were never sent to their respective Shepherd Cox hotel companies;

c) those payments which were sent to the appropriate Shepherd Cox companies were transferred out to other group companies in which investors had no interest;

d) the administrator is seeking to clawback payments made to other Shepherd Cox companies and payments made to Shepherd Cox directors; and

e) investors will not recover their investment capital from the administrations because the hotel values are a fraction of what investors paid for them.

We have published below the definition of a Ponzi Scheme from the investopedia.com website:

What Is a Ponzi Scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme generates returns for early investors by acquiring new investors. This is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers.

Both Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes eventually bottom out when the flood of new investors dries up and there isn’t enough money to go around. At that point, the schemes unravel. 

Investors on the Shepherd Cox webinar were also shown a video describing the state of some of the rooms in the hotels.  All of the rooms were sold to investors as guest en-suite bedrooms, but a significant number were derelict at the time and remain derelict today.  Readers may remember that we first drew attention to this scam and that Keystone Law, representing Lee Bramzell, Nick Carlile and the six hotels before administration, tried to persuade us that investors were fully aware of what they had bought.  That was a lie.  This is the exact wording from the Keystone letter to us of 22nd May 2020:

“We are instructed that the investors of rooms 100, 103A, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 212A, 222A and 321A in the Best Western, Grand Hotel, Hartlepool were made aware of the fact that these rooms required works. Accordingly, there was a retention of the purchase price held back by their solicitors when the rooms were purchased. We are instructed that these rooms do exist within the hotel. We are further instructed that the law firm that acted for the investors on the room sales has since gone into administration and so we cannot say what has happened to the funds retained on behalf of those investors.”

Investors view this differently and say they were never told that the rooms were derelict.  The sales brochures and contracts don’t mention that any rooms are in need of substantial work.  Plans we have obtained show that several of these ghost rooms were to be formed by partitioning existing bedrooms e.g room 212 would be split to become room 212 and 212A.  But… room 212 had already been sold to an investor.  Shepherd Cox would have no right to split room 212 without the leaseholder’s permission.  No permission from that investor had been sought.  We don’t believe there is a single investor who would purchase a room and then later agree to cut it in half so that one half could be sold to somebody else with the money going to Shepherd Cox.

All rooms were bought by investors in 2016.  We’ve provided some images below taken in June 2020 and I think it is fair to say that they still appear to “require works”.

We now know the amount withheld by the investors’ solicitor was £2,500 per room for snagging purposes because investors received an unexpected payment of between £1,500 and £2,000 into their bank accounts in 2019 without any explanation.  It now appears this was their snagging money being returned to them by the law firm just before it closed down.  Clearly the law firm didn’t want to tell clients that Shepherd Cox had misappropriated more than 95% of their money, so it just quietly repaid the small percentage without a word.  We estimate Shepherd Cox received around £600,000 for the ghost rooms and it was made clear in the Shepherd Cox webinar that they did absolutely nothing to turn those rooms into en-suite bedrooms for guests..

We were also aware that 23 bedroom leases had been sold at The Jersey Arms hotel in Bicester and we informed the administrator. We had to keep that quiet until it had been checked out because the Jersey Arms is registered as a 20-bed hotel, not a 23-bed hotel.  Those rooms were shown to Jersey Arms investors on the Shepherd Cox webinar.

We checked the council planning records for The Jersey Arms hotel and found a pre-planning enquiry had been submitted by Shepherd Cox Hotels (Bicester) Ltd in 2017.  It was for the conversion of three existing storage outbuildings into hotel bedrooms.  The company was informed that planning permission would be refused if a formal planning application was made.  Clearly that did not bother Lee Bramzell and Nick Carlile because their company sold the three rooms anyway and paid the guaranteed rental incomes to investors (only the UK-based investors and the investors introduced by their mate Brett Alegre-Wood. They didn’t pay the overseas investors).  They paid the rentals so that the three room investors would think that they owned genuine guest en-suite bedrooms.  The council records show that no formal planning application was ever submitted. Here are a couple of images of those rooms.

The Shepherd Cox webinar video will be available shortly and we will upload to this article next week.  We have left a space for it HERE.

Gladfish Property Investment Ltd is sticking to its story that there was nothing wrong with Shepherd Cox and that it was just a cashflow issue.  It is continuing to mislead its investors.  We hear that Gladfish is telling investors that the administrator is not on their side and that they should throw their lot in with Lee Bramzell who is willing to offer them shares in a new company.  However, a condition of the deal is that investors have to agree not to prosecute Gladfish.

Any share swap involving Shepherd Cox will end in disaster.  Just ask the Shepherd Cox leaseholders at Hallgarth Manor who swapped their leases for shares in 2018.  The company was put into administration last week by the long-term Shepherd Cox supporter, Luqa Ltd.  Those investors have been left with NOTHING.  As shareholders they come behind lenders AND creditors.  We believe it was a put-up job arranged between the Shepherd Cox directors and Luqa Ltd.  As soon as the leases were given up in 2018, Luqa registered a charge over the hotel property. It could not do that with the leases in place.

We now represent some Hallgarth Manor investors and we are taking action over the way they were persuaded to give up leases for shares. The administrator of the six Shepherd Cox companies had applied to put the Hallgarth Manor hotel and the Allerton Court hotel companies into administration so that he could trace where investors’ money had gone, but Luqa jumped in and we have been informed by one of our clients that Luqa has declined to work with the administrator to provide information.  Luqa Ltd has appointed Tony Murphy of Harrisons www.harrisons.uk.com as its administrator.  We will be watching this with interest.

Elliott Shaun Webster, the owner of Luqa Ltd, has been a key player in this web of unlawful investment schemes.  He was a director of the top Shepherd Cox company, SHEPHERD COX HOTELS (HOLDINGS) LTD, for almost two years and he supported unlawful investment schemes at two of the six hotels in administration . His administrator has appointed Lee Bramzell’s two new companies to manage the hotels.  I’ll bet the staff are pleased about that.

Festival Hotels (Bath) has changed its name to FESTIVAL HOTELS (DURHAM) LTD. Festival Hotels (Bournemouth) Ltd has changed its name to FESTIVAL HOTELS (NORTHALLERTON) LTD.  It looks like they’re putting the band back together !

Interestingly, Nick Carlile is not yet involved in those companies, but he is a joint director alongside Lee Bramzell in FESTIVAL LOAN FINANCE LTD.  Perhaps this company could lend £16m+ to Shepherd Cox so that it can pay back all the investors.

Elliott Shaun Webster has also been busy.  He has formed a new company called QMEAD PORTFOLIO LTD with his father.  It appears that their business will be “buying and selling of own real estate”.  We wonder which company will buy the hotels off the administrator so that he can liquidate the two Shepherd Cox companies and not bother to investigate.

Not so fast – we’ll be writing to Mr Murphy because we believe he has a responsibility to submit a Suspicious Activity Report to the National Crime Agency over the funds which were paid into Shepherd Cox Hotels (Durham) Ltd by investors.  The scheme was unlawful and our clients require a full investigation.  We believe the hotel asset is subject to POCA (the Proceeds of Crime Act).

So what’s next ?  Well, there are still some other Shepherd Cox companies working their ways through the administration process and we have submitted a claim to Shepherd Cox Hotels (Lymm) Ltd on behalf of a client.  Over the past few years he should have received more than £16,000 in rental payments (he was sold a hotel room at the Ibis Hotel in Lymm by Shepherd Cox Ltd in 2014). He paid £90,000 for the room.  He has received less than £3,000 of the £16,000 debt and he is not the only one.  Every investor is owed a similar amount.  Shepherd Cox won’t pay.  Mr Brett Alegre-Wood of Gladfish will no doubt view the years of underpayment as another simple “cashflow issue”.

We’re preparing articles on the following subjects related to the Shepherd Cox scheme:

The role of Luqa Ltd and Elliott Webster  /  The advice given by Gladfish Property Investment Ltd  /  The role of Amicus Tax  /  The role of Bishop & Sewell   /  The Entrepreneur Visa Scheme  /  Universal Goldstar.

To view our previous article on Shepherd Cox please click here.

 

Scam Alert

Redwood Capital (Europe) Scam

Redwood Capital (Europe) Scam 300 233 Adam Reeves

Redwood Capital (Europe) Scam.

Investors who have lost money in a range of scams such as binary options, unregulated bonds etc are being approached by Redwood Capital (Europe) Ltd in a follow-on-fraud scam. The firm has investor details from the previous scams and has been calling and emailing investors.

We have copied one of the documents received by an investor below (investor details removed). This is quite a professional fraud because a lot of effort has gone into the branding and the documents. It is easy to see why ordinary members of the public fall for some of the follow-on-frauds.

Redwood Capital Europe Ltd_Scam_Investor Details Removed

The Redwood Capital (Europe) Scam uses the domain name of redwoodcapfinance.com which was purchased on 27th February 2020. They have cloned the details of a genuine company by the same name. The documents are signed by someone pretending to be the director of the genuine company. As is usual with follow-on-frauds the company registration number and the registered office address match the details of the genuine company. These people go to great lengths to ensure that they appear genuine, but they are not.  We note that the website has been taken down which suggests that the Police or the website hosting company may have intervened.

This is not the first time that the genuine Redwood firm has been targeted.  Here is a report from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in 2015 which shows that this scam was doing the rounds five years ago when the same company with registration number 03899931 was cloned by scammers in 2015.  It goes to show that follow-on-frauds are not new and the same people are perpetrating them year after year.

If you have paid money to a bank account given to you by Redwood Capital (Europe) you should report it to your policing authority.

 

Justice

Shepherd Cox Companies

Shepherd Cox Companies 300 200 Adam Reeves

Shepherd Cox Companies

Two more Shepherd Cox companies have been placed into administration.  Those companies are Shepherd Cox Hotels (Durham) Ltd, the owner of Hallgarth Manor House Hotel, and Shepherd Cox Hotels (North Allerton) Ltd, the owner of Allerton Court Hotel.

The administrator acting for the six Shepherd Cox hotels which are already in administration issued demands to these two companies requiring them to return money transferred to them by one or more of the six companies.

Those following the Shepherd Cox story will know that ordinary investors paid around £16 million to buy rooms in the six hotels which Shepherd Cox had purchased for only £6.5m and a lot of money has gone missing.

The two companies did not return the money so the administrator filed applications with the court to have them placed into administration.  The hearing was scheduled to take place on Monday 6th July.

Those applications were prevented from being heard by Luqa Ltd, a company domiciled in Malta and owned by Elliott Shaun Webster who was a former director of Shepherd Cox Hotels (Holdings) Ltd from June 2017 to March 2019 (see Companies House entries relating to Elliott Shaun Webster HERE and HERE).

Shepherd Cox Hotels (Holdings) Ltd is the top company in the entire Shepherd Cox group structure.  This is the company which co-ordinated the money transfers between the various Shepherd Cox companies.  This makes Elliott Shaun Webster more than just an arms’ length lender in our book.  It makes him a party to the scheme.

On Friday 3rd July, Luqa Ltd jumped in and filed its own administration application over the two companies (which it was entitled to do having a first charge over their assets).  Those applications were granted thereby causing the applications backed by investors to fall away.  It needn’t have done that because it could have allowed the hearing on the Monday to go ahead.  Luqa’s loan was protected so it could not lose out financially.  We regard the Luqa intervention as a hostile act against investors and in support of its friends in Shepherd Cox.

Luqa Ltd has been involved in many of the Shepherd Cox schemes since the early days.  It lent the initial capital to several Shepherd Cox companies, including some which went on to sell bedrooms to investors (The Sandpiper Hotel in Chesterfield and the Comfort Inn in Manchester North).

Luqa Ltd has chosen to appoint its own administrator and not to appoint the administrator dealing with the other Shepherd Cox companies.  Why would Luqa jump in to prevent the administrator dealing with six other Shepherd Cox companies from gaining access to the bank accounts and internal company records of these two companies ?  Is Elliott Shaun Webster a friend or foe of investors ?  It’s looking very much that Luqa Ltd is much more of a friend to Shepherd Cox than it is to ordinary investors.  This makes us wonder if there are transactions inside those companies that some people would not like to be brought out into the open.

Interestingly, there has been a lot of focus on the original six hotels but not so much on Hallgarth Manor Hotel owned by Shepherd Cox Hotels (Durham) Ltd.  Bedrooms were sold in that hotel too.  They slipped under the radar because Shepherd Cox “bought out” those investors and cancelled their room leases.  We have put inverted commas around the term “bought out” because they didn’t actually give investors the money they had paid for their rooms.  They made a small payment as a sweetener to encourage the deal, but they lied to investors telling them what a successful group Shepherd Cox was and that room owners would be far better off SWAPPING their room leases for shares in Shepherd Cox Hotels (Durham) Ltd.  The majority of investors agreed to swap, but a few did not.  Those that did swap are now left with worthless shares.  This was exactly the same deal Lee Bramzell was trying to sell to investors in the original six hotels to prevent them from going into administration. 

Once the majority of leases at Hallgarth Manor had been given up you can guess what happened next.  Luqa Ltd lent more money to the Shepherd Cox companies and secured it over Hallgarth Manor because it was now almost entirely lease-free.  The circumstances surrounding those share swap transactions would have been looked at very closely by the administrator of the six companies because the statements made by Shepherd Cox were false and misleading, but we doubt that Luqa’s administrator will be interested.  It has a client to protect.

A further eight Shepherd Cox companies have administration applications filed against them for non-payment of monies owed to the original six companies.  Those eight were not stopped by the actions of Luqa Ltd and were presented in court on Monday 6th July. The case has been adjourned for a short period of time.  We will report on events when the court reconvenes for the second hearing.  The companies are:

1.  D & B Investment Properties Ltd – residential property;

2.  Shepherd Cox Hotels (Cheltenham) Ltd – The Charlton Kings Hotel;

3.  Shepherd Cox Hotels (Croft-on-Tees) Ltd – The Croft Hotel;

4.  Shepherd Cox Hotels (Durham City) Ltd – The Town House Hotel;

5.  Shepherd Cox Hotels (Halifax) Ltd – The New Hobbit Hotel;

6.  Shepherd Cox Hotels (Leeming Bar) Ltd – The White Rose Hotel;

7.  Shepherd Cox Hotels (Stokesley) Ltd – The Chapters Hotel;

8.  Shepherd Cox Ltd – the sales arm of Shepherd Cox which has been selling hotel rooms to investors since 2013.

It will be interesting to see whether Luqa intends to intervene in Shepherd Cox Hotels (Halifax) Ltd because it has a charge over that company.  It would be wasting its time if the intention is to cover up details of transactions.  There is a lot of attention focused on the Shepherd Cox Group and we will keep chivvying away until the truth is out.

A while ago we formed an investor group to pursue recovery actions against some of the parties involved in the Shepherd Cox scheme.  Terms have been agreed with a law firm and clients are currently being onboarded. We are looking forward to helping our international client base recover as much of their investment as they can.

To read our previous article on Shepherd Cox please click here.

To view our more recent update on Shepherd Cox please click here.

 

Scam Alert

Westway Holdings Scam Letter

Westway Holdings Scam Letter 300 233 Adam Reeves

Westway Holdings Scam Letter

A Westway Holdings scam letter has been sent to investors.  Westway Holdings Ltd is in administration.  MacIntyre Hudson and Quantuma LLP have been appointed as Joint Administrators as can be seen on this link.

The Westway Holdings scam letter is nothing more than an attempt to gather investors’ bank account details and to scam more money from them.

Here is the text of the letter:

Dear Clients,

It is with deep regret that we write to inform you of our impending liquidation.  Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic that we all find ourselves in the midst of, our ability to sustain and grow the company has been thwarted, despite our best efforts.  With a large amount of company funds wrapped up in un-operational sites, underperforming properties and un-finished developments, our ability to generate capital in order to credit clients their long overdue interest payments alongside principal bond values has been limited.  This has been further compounded with several in house redundancies, as well as the furlough of several staff members and outsourced partners; and inevitably we must face the conclusion of filing for liquidation.

At present we have filed for voluntary administration which means that we are no longer in a position to act as developers or investors of Supported Housing within the property market.  Throughout our existence we have made it our ethos to provide unparalleled customer service to our investors, ensuring that our dividends were paid on time and that upon maturity dates, bonds were repaid in full.  This duty of care is something that we intend to continue despite our impending demise and therefore we are urging all existing clients who still hold bonds with us to contact us immediately in regard to redeeming your investment.

Please be aware that due to the strain that this unprecedented time has had on our company, our cash flow is at an all-time low with only around £2,500,000 available as liquid funds; as a result of this we cannot guarantee that every client will be successful in receiving their principal investment ahead of us going into formal liquidation and therefore we are requesting that you contact us urgently in relation to the above.  We will be tackling this on a first come first served basis, as we deem this to be the only fair method we have at our disposal.

Failure to act proactively will result in your principal investment value and any owed interest dissolving with us as a company when we go into full liquidation, resulting in you being owed nothing upon your now elapsed or future maturity date.

If this applies to you, please contact us urgently on 0203 488 3242 in order to discuss your options.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Joseph Griffin

Director 

This is a follow-on-fraud.

Joseph Griffin, or the person pretending to be him, has no money to disburse.  All company bank accounts are controlled by the Joint Administrators.  If there is a secret bank account with £2.5m in it (there isn’t) then it would be a criminal offence not to declare it.

Any money disbursed from that account to investors would be immediately reclaimed back from the investors’ bank accounts by the Joint Administrators.  Put simply, there is no secret bank account with £2.5m ready to be disbursed by Mr Griffin or anyone else.

Neither Joseph Griffin nor anyone associated with Westway Holdings Ltd has any power to liquidate the company.  That power lies with the Joint Administrators.

So, all things considered, this letter is total garbage and should be ignored by investors.  Anyone who responds to it is likely to find themselves receiving quite a lot of follow-on-frauds and unsolicited “investment opportunities” over the coming years.  That’s how these scammers work.

To see our previous article on Westway Holdings please click here.

 

Scam Alert

UCIS Advice Point Scam Alert

UCIS Advice Point Scam Alert 300 233 Adam Reeves

UCIS Advice Point Scam Alert

Further to our article two days ago which you can READ HERE, we have now received a reply to our email sent to UCIS Advice Point and have also been provided with additional information on the key man, Neil Ronald Bromage.  This has caused us to raise the alert level from DANGER in our first article to SCAM ALERT in this article.  This UCIS Advice Point Scam Alert is our way of saying there are good reasons not to trust this company.

Firstly, here are the key points in the reply to our email.

“….for the record and for your information UAP is wholly owned by Mr Peter Dobson, a highly successful Lancashire based businessman. Mr Neil Bromage is a longstanding business and financial journalist who, as a result of his significant experience and understanding of UCIS`s has been of help to Mr Dobson and continues to enjoy an ad hoc consultancy role with UAP when he is not writing for the mainstream press. Mr Dobson is fully aware of Mr Bromage`s status and as such Mr Bromage plays no part whatsoever in the management of Mr Dobson`s company”.

We will return to Mr Bromage’s CV because he seems to have missed a few items out.  He claims to play no part in the management of the company and acts only as a consultant.  That is the standard position for a disqualified director i.e to claim that they are an independent consultant because a disqualified director MUST NOT direct or control a company in any way.  It’s amazing how many disqualified directors end up as “consultants” to companies which they basically control.  Directing or controlling a company when disqualified is a criminal offence.  Hence the reason why UCIS Advice Point made this statement, but is it true ?  We will take a closer look at that statement below.

We note the comments in your penultimate paragraph but have lawyers who have provided us with the necessary advice with which we are content.

The penultimate paragraph to which he refers is where we questioned the company’s statement that it is NOT a claims management company.  It’s odd that they put that on their website and in the letters they send out to investors. We ourselves have recently had discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority over what constitutes claims management activities and on that basis we believe UCIS Advice Point IS a claims management company, but we will leave that for the FCA to determine.

In writing your article you may wish to include that UAP are happy to announce that as a result of their efforts a significant “scheme” has today been launched by a major international law firm and litigation funder to assist all the investors in a £100m multi-scheme failed development to pursue their claims for recovery.

That sounds like claims management activity to us. Perhaps the use of the word “scheme”, which UAP itself chose to put in inverted comments, is rather apt based on what follows in the rest of this article.

Needless to say, that should you write anything remotely detrimental or libellous about UAP we shall respond accordingly.

Fair enough.

OK, so this is where it is going to get really interesting !

Let’s return to the gaps in Mr Bromage’s CV.  We highlighted in our previous article that Mr Bromage was disqualified from acting as a director in 2015 for a period of 10 years.  We are now aware of other issues which have caused us to upgrade this article to a Scam Alert.

As far back as 2005 the UK Parliament’s House of Lords discussed a case involving Mr Bromage for Judgement.  You can read the full text of the Judgement here, but we have copied the two most relevant paragraphs below (para 14 and 33):

14.  What Mr Hilton did not know, and did not discover until much later, was that Mr Bromage had only a few months before been released from prison on licence. On 30 October 1989 he was sentenced at Preston Crown Court to nine months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to three offences of participating in the management of a company while an undischarged bankrupt, one offence of fraudulent trading, and nine offences of obtaining credit while an undischarged bankrupt. He was released from prison on 16 March 1990.

33.  Two of the most important facts known to BBE, but unknown to Mr Hilton, were that Mr Bromage had been made bankrupt and that while an undischarged bankrupt he had committed numerous offences of dishonesty for which he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. These facts were known to any journalist or member of the public who had been present in the Preston Crown Court when Mr Bromage pleaded guilty and was sentenced. They were also probably reported in local newspapers.

So Mr Bromage went to prison in 1989 after pleading guilty to three offences of participating in the management of a company while an undischarged bankrupt, one offence of fraudulent trading and nine offences of obtaining of obtaining credit while an undischarged bankrupt….. The people we have spoken to have told us that they were given the impression that UCIS Advice Point is controlled by Mr Bromage, despite him being a disqualified director. He appears to have prior history of “participating in the management of a company” when forbidden by law to do so.

In 2017 Mr Bromage was in court again.  This was after he had been disqualified as a director.  Here is the press report at the time and here is the text of the Article:

A magistrate warned a bankrupt company director that he was not a “million miles” from going to prison.

Neil Bromage, 61, had failed to pay fines totalling £21,075.The fines were imposed in 2015 at Preston Crown Court when Bromage of Coniston Road, Blackpool, was guilty of a Insolvency Act offence-acting as a director when disqualified from doing so.

Magistrates heard that Bromage had promised to repay the fines at a rate of £500 a month rising to £3,000 a month. He claimed in court that he had been made bankrupt in July by the Revenue and Customs and that he had been told by the Official Receiver that the fines had been included in his list of debts by the Receiver who had told him not to pay anything.

He told the court: “I am in a state of confusion over the fines and am seeking clarification of what I should from this court.”

Chairman of the Bench Brian Horrocks ordered Bromage to return to court with some paperwork from the Receiver to back up his claims.

“I am warning you are not a million miles from going to prison,” he said.

What this tells us is that Neil Bromage was made bankrupt for a second time in July 2017.  He had also been prosecuted for a second time for acting as a director (or participating in the management of a company) when disqualified from doing so.

Now Neil Bromage is asking us to believe that he isn’t participating in the management of UCIS Advice Point.  The information we have received suggests otherwise.  We don’t believe him and that is why the UCIS Advice Point Scam Alert has been issued.

We are intrigued as to which law firm will be involved in the alleged £100m legal action he refers to.  We believe the SRA, FCA and Insolvency Service should take a look at UCIS Advice Point and its partners when “the scheme” is announced.  Mr Bromage was active in UCIS Advice Point prior to the formation of the limited company.

UCIS ADVICE POINT SCAM ALERT  –  NEWS JUST IN

We believe UCIS Advice Point is a front for gathering investor details which will automatically be passed on to organisations / individuals and used to sell other financial products to those investors.  We believe people who contact UCIS Advice Point can expect to be put on an investor list and will receive offers to invest in other products.  It seems Mr Neil Ronald Bromage is up to his old tricks again.  He writes one newspaper article so that he can claim he is a financial journalist which will give him credibility and attract more victims to his websites.

That other organisation / individual has a website www.capitalsecurities.co.uk.  This looks to be another shadowy organisation / individual breaching UK Financial Services regulations.  The websites of UCIS Advice Point and Capital Securities show that both companies / individuals are based at the same address of 3b Constellation House, Lockheed Court, Amy Johnson Way, Blackpool, FY4 2RN.  Furthermore, they both have the same telephone number of 0203 758 9119.

Neither the UCIS Advice Point website nor the Capital Securities website give any information about who the websites belong to.  That is very unusual for so-called genuine companies.  Not only that, it is illegal.

The Capital Securities website has a section on Introducers.  This is what it says “Capital Securities has over the past 10 years managed to grow an extensive database of introducers. This is mainly due to our transparent approach regarding fees. It’s very simple, we split fees 50/50 with all of our introducers!“.  It’s clear that UCIS Advice Point offers “free advice” to investors just to gather investor information which it intends to use to sell its own “investments” to people who contact it.  UCIS Advice Point is a scam.  Neil Bromage is not a financial journalist with a detailed knowledge of UCIS. He is an opportunist looking to pass on investor details to parties who want to sell investments.

Any investors who have given their details to UCIS Advice Point and are concerned by that are invited to contact us.

Here is a link to the response of an investor to a follow-on-fraudster.  This investor felt the fraudster had obtained her details from UCIS Advice Point.

 

Scam Alert

Cross Asset Solutions Scam

Cross Asset Solutions Scam 300 233 Adam Reeves

Cross Asset Solutions Scam

A bogus organisation calling itself Cross Asset Solutions is running a follow-on-fraud.  The company uses the domain name crossassetsolutions.org (click LINK TO WEBSITE HERE) and has clearly purchased a list of investors without having the faintest clue what products the investors have bought.  The scammers have embarked on a fishing trip casting their net as wide as possible hoping that a few people will be tempted to take the bait.  That can be seen by the letter below which is a “write a lot, but say very little” letter.  They have been sending it out to investors after first telephoning them to introduce their scam. We’re still amazed that people can make their living scamming people as brazenly as this.

Cross Asset Solutions Scam Letter

The crossassetsolutions.org website was purchased in February of this year.

This bogus company is not to be confused with the genuine company, Cross Asset Solutions Ltd, which has a .com website address and not a .org one.  A visit to the genuine company’s website reveals that they are aware of the identity theft and have reported it to the authorities.  This shows that some people had the good sense to independently check out the company (they did not use the telephone number or email given to them but made their own enquiries).  The genuine website contains a warning about the scammers.  You can view the genuine website here.

If you are contacted by Cross Asset Solutions you can be certain that it is a scam.

So what can an investor do when contacted by a bogus company which has cloned the real company’s details ?  The answer is:

1. Do not trust the email, website or telephone number they’ve given you;

2. The big chink in the scammers’ armour is that in order to pull off their scam they have to copy ALL of the genuine company’s details. This includes the registered office address. So investors should go to the Companies House website, type in the full name of the company, check the registered office address and drop a brief letter to the company explaining what has happened and ask if it was them.  Give them your phone number in case they would like to talk to you about it.  The scammers can fake everything else, but they can’t intercept a letter to the office address registered at Companies House. This may take a bit longer but it is better to be safe than sorry. Never be tempted to short-cut this process if the scammer tells you his offer is only available for a short period of time. That’s another sign of a scam.

3. Report the matter to the Police via your country’s reporting procedure. The more people who report it the more likely it will be actioned by the Police.

 

UCIS Advice Point

UCIS Advice Point 500 484 Adam Reeves

UCIS Advice Point.

SOS is working with investors who have invested in several scam projects and who have recently been approached by UCIS Advice Point.  The company offers “free advice” to investors.  It uses a domain name of .org.uk.  The website www.ukdomains.org.uk explains what a .org.uk domain represents.  Here is their explanation:

“.org.uk is THE recognised domain name extension for UK charities and not for profit organisations. The general public recognises that .org.uk represents such organisations and therefore conveys a sense of trust”. 

That fits with the impression our clients have.  Many of them have asked if UCIS Advice Point is a charity or even a UK Government department.  Unfortunately it is neither.

Here is an explanation of who they are and what they do from their website:

“We have spent the last few years working with people who have found themselves caught up in Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes.

“Our team is made up of lawyers and experienced property professionals who have first-hand experience of UCIS`s.

We are NOT a Claims Management Company but simply an Advice Point for investors who have unwittingly been encouraged to invest in schemes that may be unregulated and therefore unlawful.

We can assess your position and the legitimacy (or otherwise) of the Scheme into which you have invested and provide you with a report of our findings.

We will not charge you for this service.

If we find that you have invested in an unlawful scheme we will direct you to appropriate help to seek redress and compensation for your loss”.

So is this true ? Well, the UCIS Advice Point website was purchased on 1st August 2019, less than a year ago.  A company called UCIS Advice Point Ltd was incorporated in the UK on 20th April 2020, less than three months ago.

Is the company a charity or not-for-profit company ?  No.

Is the company exempt from Claims Management Company regulations ?  No.  In our opinion they are a claims management company and therefore subject to UK Financial Conduct Regulations.

So who is behind UCIS Advice Point ?  They clearly haven’t “spent the last few years working with people who have found themselves caught up in unregulated collective investment schemes”.  They don’t give any information on the “lawyers and experienced property professionals who have first hand experience of UCIS’s”.  In fact they give very little information at all.

The UK company has only one director, Peter Rowland Dobson.  However, we think he is just a front man.  We have noticed how UCIS Advice Point keeps popping up and approaching investors in scams that we have exposed.

Therefore, we contacted some of the organisations we work with and asked them if they had been approached by UCIS Advice Point.  Some of them confirmed that they have been approached.  Some have even had meetings with UCIS Advice Point.  We asked them if the meeting was with Peter Rowland Dobson.  They told us that it was not.  They said that the man who approaches them and who runs the organisation is a man called Neil Ronald Bromage.

Neil Ronald Bromage is a disqualified director.  He was disqualified in 2015 for a period of ten years.  This is confirmed here.

To be disqualified from being a company director for ten years suggests that a serious offence was committed.  There is circumstantial evidence which suggests that Mr Bromage was involved in a company providing “legal services”.  This explains why Peter Rowland Dobson has been installed as the front man director in UCIS Advice Point Ltd and why none of the alleged “lawyers and property professionals” were willing to put their names or the companies on the website.

We do not know what Mr Bromage is up to, but we are sufficiently concerned to suggest that investors should be very cautious.  In our opinion the involvement of a disqualified director in UCIS Advice Point is a cause for serious concern and the company should not be trusted.

The company has been given the opportunity to explain the involvement of Neil Ronald Bromage, but has not done so. We will update this article if/when we receive clarification from the company.

We have issued an updated Scam Alert over this company.  The updated article can be viewed here.

 

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