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September 2020

Shepherd Cox Hotels Holdings

Shepherd Cox Hotels Holdings 400 267 SOS Team

On 28th September 2020, Shepherd Cox Hotels Holdings Ltd went into administration.  The application was made by Luqa Ltd.

Those familiar with the Shepherd Cox structure will know that Shepherd Cox Ltd and Shepherd Cox Hotels Holdings Ltd were the two companies at the very top.

Shepherd Cox Ltd was the company responsible for room sales i.e it acted as the sales agent.  It did not own any of the hotels and went into administration a few weeks ago.  Holdings provided ‘management’ services’ to the portfolio of hotels.  In return for providing these services Holdings charged a management fee to the hotel companies.  It can best be summarised as Holdings was a company which was paid a lot of money from hotels which were loss-making.  It is believed that significant sums of investor money were routed through these two companies.

The last set of accounts for Holdings describes the company’s Principal Activity as “ownership of a number of subsidiary companies who in turn own and manage hotels in the UK“.   The Business Review states “Despite the losses incurred in the Year to 31st March 2019 the Group has settled following the swift expansion into steady growth to profitability“.   That doesn’t quite stack up with almost all the companies involved in either an administration or liquidation process at present.  The accounts show that Holdings owned shareholdings of 80% or more in 15 subsidiary companies.

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

To view a more recent article on Shepherd Cox please click here.

 

Simon Whittley-Ryan – Coronavirus

Simon Whittley-Ryan – Coronavirus 500 333 SOS Team

Simon Whittley-Ryan  –  Coronavirus

Simon Whittley-Ryan has launched an alleged coronavirus testing and research company called Cambridge Medical Screening Ltd.

Here is a link to the website.  The domain name was purchased on 30th July 2020 i.e less than two months ago.  The website states “since inception the company has quickly established relationships with both private and public sector bodies seeking reliable supply of Covid 19 test kits and total testing solutions.  To meet demand we are now considering expansion by investing in our own manufacturing facility under licence in the UK and overseas”.

This may be true, but we doubt it.  Cambridge Medical Screening may well be considering investing in their own manufacturing plant, but that’s a very bold statement considering the website has been up for less than two months.  Simon Whittley-Ryan has never been shy in promoting ambitious plans because that attracts investment and it is how he funds his lifestyle, but every ambitious plan he has come up with so far has failed and left investors with huge losses.

We are very concerned this may just be another pseudo-investment which will be offered to investors and which will end up going the way of his other investment schemes.  Coronavirus is obviously a very hot topic at the moment and if anyone wanted to raise money in very difficult times then a coronavirus company, which appears on the surface to be credible, would be the perfect vehicle.

The address on the website for the company is St Johns Innovation Centre, Cambridge, CB4 0WS.  The company which owns these premises provides a ‘virtual office’ for companies which would like to appear to have a presence in Cambridge.  They don’t actually have a real office in Cambridge and the company founders don’t work in Cambridge. Our team members have some knowledge of legal matters and it is not illegal to pretend to operate from another address.

The website states “The Company’s clinical advisory board provide in depth analysis across a widely sourced range of tests and research products leading to recommendations and product approvals.  This is headed up by Professor G.K. Mahadev”. 

Professor Mahadev is the only person mentioned on the website and he is not even part of Cambridge Medical Screening Ltd.  He is neither a director nor a shareholder in the company.  He is allegedly part of a clinical advisory board which advises the company.  A check on Professor G.K. Mahadev reveals he is a breast and oncoplastic surgeon.  Maybe we’re showing our ignorance here, but we’re not really sure how coronavirus is linked to breast surgery.  We would expect the head of a clinical advisory board of a coronavirus company to perhaps be a virologist or other specialist involved in virus research, but that shows how much we know.  It is likely that Professor G.K. Mahadev doesn’t even know his name is being used in this way.  So the truth is that the ‘About Us’ page on the website doesn’t say anything at all about the real people behind Cambridge Medical Screening Ltd.

Not to worry, that information is readily available on the Companies House website.  Here is a link to the Cambridge Medical Screening Ltd entry.  The registered office is not in Cambridge.  It is Brockingbury Stud, Roast Green, Clavering, Saffron Walden, Essex, England, CB11 4SQ which is the home address of Simon Whittley-Ryan. If you click on the Companies House Incorporation Document (16 pages) you will see that Simon Whittley-Ryan describes himself as “Corporate Finance Executive”.  It shows that the person registering the company was Simon Whittley-Ryan and that he is the 100% owner of Cambridge Medical Screening Ltd.

There are three company directors.  They are Simon Whittley-Ryan, David Triggs and David Anthony Peters.  We have covered Simon Whittley-Ryan before on this website, but here’s a brief summary of his recent business history.

1.  Win River Ltd  –  a company which raised an estimated £3m+ in investment from small investors.  This company is still ‘live’ although it has defaulted on interest payments and capital repayments to investors for two years so if it has any money it isn’t paying its debts.  Mr Whittley-Ryan has been promising a ‘refinancing’ throughout those two years. The company accounts are a year overdue which suggests that Mr Whittley-Ryan doesn’t want anyone to know the true debt position of the company.

2.  Highgrove Osprey PLC  –  a company forced into liquidation by an investor in September 2019.  The company was funded by small investors.  Amount raised is unknown at this stage, but it will be a lot of money because the company was formed in 2012.  The company defaulted on payments to investors not long afterwards.  Mr Whittley-Ryan has been promising a refinancing of this company for at least six years.  Yes, that’s correct – we have emails from investors which show they were kept hanging on for six years before one of them finally had enough and filed to liquidate the company.  Mr Whittley-Ryan is still writing to investors even this month promising a refinancing despite the company being in liquidation.  The liquidator’s report is due to be published before the end of the year.

3.  Win River Developments Ltd  –  a company forced into liquidation by an investor in January 2020.  The early-stage investigation has revealed just over £3m was raised from small investors, but around half of that has gone missing.  Mr Whittley-Ryan advised the Official Receiver that the company had no assets, but that £300,000 was recoverable from a sales and promotion company he had paid in advance.  Who pays £300,000 in advance ?  The answer is that nobody pays £300,000 in advance.  Maybe a director might pay £20,000 or even £30,000 in advance, but never £300,000 !

What raises more red flags about this transaction is that it was paid to a promotion and marketing company which was less than a year old and did not even have a website.  It becomes even more suspicious when it is revealed the marketing company had only one director – a Romanian citizen who resides in Romania !

It is no surprise that Simon Whittley-Ryan has refused to co-operate with the liquidator on this case and will not even provide the liquidator with the Win River Developments bank account details.  We believe Mr Whittley-Ryan does not want this transaction investigated and perhaps others made by the company.  It is our opinion that the bank account which received the £300,000 was not controlled by the Romanian director.  We believe it is likely the company was a money mule and that it was incorporated to allow a bank account to be established and for someone to buy that bank account from the Romanian director and then control it through online banking.  That is standard practice for money mule companies. It allows a person who wants to hide the true destination of the money to route it through another company.  The fact that Mr Whittley-Ryan told the Official Receiver that he believed the £300,000 was recoverable could suggest that he has some influence or control over that money.  I think it’s fair to say that most of us would be very surprised if the company director could be tracked down in Romania and would say “What, the £300,000 payment ?  Sure, I’ll refund that to you. No problem”.

Despite Win River Developments being in liquidation and having no assets, Mr Whittley-Ryan is writing to the investors in this company promising them a ‘refinancing’ too.  What is the new investing party actually going to get for paying in £3m ?  Absolutely nothing because the company has no assets.  But, despite this fact, there are a few investors who choose to believe Mr Whittley-Ryan.  Maybe they should speak to the Highgrove Osprey investors who waited six years to be repaid before they finally realised it was never going to happen.

4.  Hawksbill Property Consultants Ltd  –  a company forced into liquidation by HMRC in February 2020.  Company funded by small investors.  Amount raised is unknown at this stage.  This case is with the Official Receiver.

5.  St Helier Capital Management Ltd  –  a company which has a final hearing in October 2020 for a winding up petition brought by two investors.  Company funded by small investors.  Amount raised is unknown at this stage.  Mr Whittley-Ryan has been writing to these investors for two years advising them that he is arranging a ‘refinancing’.  It’s the same story time after time.

We’re not going to look into the backgrounds of David Triggs and David Anthony Peters because they aren’t shareholders in Cambridge Medical Screening, at least not yet according to Companies House.

Bizarrely, Mr Whittley-Ryan has recently taken to writing to people using the name ‘Roger’.  We don’t know why he has chosen to call himself Roger, but we do know that he has made contact with various organisations featured on our website under the guise of wanting to work with them against Safe Or Scam.  That’s OK, he can do that, but those parties have no idea that he has then written to us using his roger email address pretending to be a concerned citizen and providing us with information about those same organisations and the people involved.  He is quite prepared to sell out his new scammer friends.  He must have some kind of strategy in his mind, but it’s very odd.

We spotted his ruse very early because we already knew about his Cambridge Medical Screening coronavirus business and have been looking at it for a while.  It was just too much of a coincidence that an informant suddenly appeared using an email address linked to that company.  He attempted to persuade us that he was a professional businessman operating in the finance industry and he didn’t like what these scammers were doing.  We asked him why he had a coronavirusloan email address and we asked what he did for a living.  It turns out that he has bought a lot of coronavirus domain names – a hell of a lot and he intends to sell them.  He said that his main business was a ‘loan and insolvency business’ (his words in an email).  Well, technically this not too far from the truth.  All of his businesses take in loans from investors and all of them end up in insolvency !  

To read an earlier article on Simon Whittley-Ryan please click here.

To view a more recent article on one of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s companies (St Helier Capital Management) please click here.

 

The PFI Ltd Update

The PFI Ltd Update 300 300 SOS Team

The PFI Ltd Update

Five days ago we wrote an article on The PFI Ltd and Wealth Investor Network Ltd,  two companies owned by Ravinder Singh Dhillon.  You can read the article here.

We are pleased to report that both websites have now been taken down.

 

Scam Alert

The PFI Ltd Scam

The PFI Ltd Scam 300 233 SOS Team

The PFI Ltd Scam

The PFI Ltd is a UK company incorporated on 20th August 2020 by Ravinder Singh Dhillon.  Its website claims the company offers the following services:

Fraud Investigation:  We hold experience in cases relating to fraud and theft and we have helped our clients in getting back what they lost.

Private Investigation:  We are a team of fully qualified specialists, who pride ourselves on providing a discreet service to all of our clients.

Stolen Money:  We work with our clients to help them recover and retrieve stolen money and assets.

Our Experience:  Our expertise and services are in 4 core areas tracing, digital fraud, corporate investigations and loss prevention for business.

Financial Fraud:  Financial fraud can assume many forms; some examples include fraudulent transactions, Ponzi schemes and investment scams.

Asset Recovery:  Asset Recovery is the confiscation of assets or property allegedly acquired by the proceeds of a crime.

The PFI Ltd scam website gives us an example of one of their cases.

“We were hired by a multi national company to investigate a team of fraudsters who had set up a fictitious company and were acquiring large quantities of goods on credit over a relatively short period of time. Our investigation led to the identification and location of one the perpetrators. He was placed under surveillance and unwittingly lead our team to the new premises of the gang where they continued to engage in their illegal activities”. 

That is very impressive for a company which is less than four weeks old !

Here is the Company Founder page from the website:

Rav Singh

The PFI Ltd scam 1

“At the helm of the company, Mr Rav Singh, founder and CEO of Private Fraud Investigation, (PFI) overseas the day to day running of the company direct from our headquarters in Wenlock Road, London. A serial entrepreneur with several successful businesses already under his belt, Mr Singh has had a long and distinguished career in the financial services industry. Starting out as a London Broker nearly 15 years ago, he became an established trader and a well- known figure in the Mayfair area where he was able to build a considerable network of clients and contacts throughout his time trading. After many years spent maintaining and nurturing connections through his dealings with high net worth individuals, Mr Singh was inspired to branch out and form his own company in the alternative investments sector where he has continued to build a name for himself.

Several years and a number of successful businesses later, Mr Singh has turned his expertise and attention to the private investigation sector, helping unfortunate clients find some form of recourse should they find themselves a victim of financial fraud or financial crime. After many years spent in the alternative finance sector, Mr Singh became frustrated with the amount of investment scams that his clients were coming across and through the help of other insiders and connections in the industry started taking on investigations. After setting up PFI, Mr Singh focused his knowledge and insight of the alternative investment sector towards uncovering information about common scams as well as finding ways to follow any potential money trails and identifying the perpetrators”.

Ravinder Singh Dhillon is not really interested in helping anyone recover their money.  The purpose of The PFI Ltd scam is to obtain investor details so that Mr Singh can pitch investment proposals to them using one of his other companies.  Here are a few of them:

1.  UK Property Bonds Ltd  –  date of incorporation 17th October 2019;

2.  Global Liquid Ltd  –  date of incorporation 2nd January 2020;

3.  Private Equities Ltd  –  date of incorporation 21st April 2020  (he describes himself at Companies House as ‘Property Agent’);

4.  Wealth Investor Network Ltd  –  date of incorporation 8th June 2020.

Ravinder Singh Dhillon does not “overseas [he means ‘oversees’] the day to day running of the company direct from our headquarters in Wenlock Road, London” because the registered office is a virtual office. None of the companies listed at that address have an office there.

Now let’s have a look at what the Wealth Investor Network website says about its founder.

RAV SINGH  –  WIN FOUNDER

“WIN was founded by British serial entrepreneur Mr. Rav Singh, the Company is driven by his ethos of “working together” Having spent the last decade working with clients in the Alternative Investments sector, Singh has built a successful model for raising funds to reach a bigger platform. This platform as Singh states “allows the Company to grow and the investors to grow with it.
WIN has been designed to trade in the Global Equities market by either investing in collective portfolios that have been individually compiled by our in-house traders or to buy and hold single stocks in companies ranging from small cap to mega cap. Each of our traders have a proven record with consistent returns that average over 10% yearly and with our dedication to the markets, we offer our clients a safe bet by placing funds into our managed portfolios”.

Below is a selection of the industries that our experts trade in:

Technology   –   Chinese Technology   –   Crypto Currency   –   Gaming Sector

What this translates to is “Rav Singh has spent the last decade losing money for investors in scam investments and now wants to try his hand with his own scam sales company.  He is offering a range of ultra-high risk, designed-to-fail and largely fraudulent investment schemes which will disappear without trace once enough people have invested in them”.

We’ve seen a lot of these schemes which offer shares in Alipay, Tesla, Google etc.  They will take investors’ cash into money mule accounts and then transfer on.  All the investor will end up with is a fake share certificate. The Wealth Investor Network website contains the standard “Security Trustee” investor protection document.  We’ve never yet come across a Security Trustee Deed that is worth the paper it is printed on.  This one is no different.  There is no protection and is window dressing designed to deceive investors. There are no traders and no shares.  The service Mr Singh proposes to offer is a regulated activity and neither he nor his company is regulated so we don’t expect it to last long.

The phone number for The PFI Ltd scam has been removed, but it used to be 02081 331 377.  At exactly the same time it was also the phone number for this website which was taken down by the UK Police very quickly.

The PFI Ltd scam 3

The PFI Ltd scam 4

Ravinder Singh Dhillon clearly believes he is a man of many talents.  This link proves that music isn’t one of them.

 

Shepherd Cox Hotels (Stokesley) Ltd

Shepherd Cox Hotels (Stokesley) Ltd 400 267 Adam Reeves

Shepherd Cox Hotels (Stokesley) Ltd

On 18th September 2020, Shepherd Cox Hotels (Stokesley) Ltd was placed into administration.  This company owns The Leven Hotel and is the fifteenth company involving Lee Bramzell and Nick Carlile to go into administration.  We expect more to follow as the administrators continue their investigations into the missing money.

Shepherd Cox Hotels (Cheltenham) Ltd has also been placed into administration.  At the beginning of the year there was no doubt this company owned the Charlton Kings Hotel, but once administration proceedings started the court was told that the company had sold the hotel to a BVI company called Universal Goldstar in March.  Creditors regard this as a suspicious transaction and have asked the administrator to investigate.  There have been suggestions that Universal Goldstar did not pay any money into the company’s bank account when the freehold was transferred.  An administrator has powers to undo any arrangement which may have been transacted under-value.

One of our clients who gave an £800,000 loan to Lee Bramzell and Nick Carlile (as joint borrowers) has been forced to restart legal action against both of them after they defaulted on a revised loan repayment schedule.

Over the past few weeks we have been contacted by a lot of individual lenders who have also lent money to the Shepherd Cox directors and have not been paid.

We have recently started working with a large number of Shepherd Cox Hotels (Lymm) Ltd investors to assist them in acquiring the lease at their hotel.  One investor has already been through the courts to obtain a debt judgement against the company and has instructed a solicitor to enforce the judgement.

Finally, a number of Shepherd Cox companies have been trying to place assets beyond the reach of creditors.  We are following this closely on behalf of our investor group.

Here’s an interesting development.  Shepherd Cox, Aston Darby and serial scammer Simon Whittley-Ryan have been communicating with each other.  More on Mr Whittley-Ryan and the transfer of £300,000 of Win River Developments Ltd investor money to a Romanian money mule later this week.  The last time we reported on Romanian involvement in a scam was back in March when a Romanian was involved in the Westway Holdings scam.  See the article here.

To view our previous article on Shepherd Cox click here

To view a more recent article on Shepherd Cox please click here.

 

Shepherd Cox Ltd in Administration

Shepherd Cox Ltd in Administration 400 267 Adam Reeves

Shepherd Cox Ltd in Administration

Following a hearing on 1st September 2020, Shepherd Cox Ltd was finally placed into administration by the court.

Shepherd Cox Ltd is one of the most important Shepherd Cox companies in the group.  It was the company which marketed and promoted the sale of hotel rooms to investors.  It is also believed to be one of the companies which is likely to have diverted investors’ money into its bank accounts for dispersal to other schemes.

That theory appears to be supported by the fact that the company directors, Lee Bramzell and Nick Carlile, preferred a liquidation over an administration.  They appointed Mr Taylor of Begbies Traynor to liquidate the company.  Mr Taylor has been appointed by these directors before in 2015.  They used his services to force two Hotel Options companies into administration and to buy the freeholds to the hotels from the administration for £20,000 and £60,000.  This was despite investors making an offer to buy those freeholds in order to salvage something from their investments.  The investors were surprised to find that the freeholds had been sold very quickly to the same people who had not only appointed the administrator, but who had actually sold them the rooms in the first place !  Needless to say Shepherd Cox defaulted on their promises to investors.

The attempted liquidation of Shepherd Cox Ltd in July was withdrawn after they realised there was a Court Order preventing any of the Shepherd Cox companies being dissolved.  Shepherd Cox Ltd had tried to persuade the court that it was owed millions of pounds, but that the company had little chance of recovering that money from the people/companies they had given it to.  They were therefore prepared to write it off.

It will now be very interesting to learn exactly who they had given the money to.  What’s the betting it will include other companies linked to the directors, or paid direct to themselves, or to friends and family ?    It’s almost always the case that when directors try to write off large debts it is because some of the debts are owed by themselves and/or friends and/or family members.

Several other companies linked to the directors of Shepherd Cox Ltd were also placed into administration.  One of those was a residential property development company owned by Mr Bramzell and Mr Carlile  –  D and B Investment Properties Ltd.  The fact that this was even in court in the first place suggests that this residential development company had been given money from one or more of the original six hotel companies and hadn’t paid it back.  It’s shocking to think that investors had been denied their rental payments for two years because the money that could have paid them was being used by another Bramzell/Carlile company just to enrich themselves.

Another company placed into administration was Shepherd Cox Hotels (Croft On Tees) Ltd.  This company is now just a shell company because it originally owned the tenancy on The Croft Hotel, but is no longer associated with that hotel.  The owner of The Croft Hotel contacted us to request that we notify the public that the hotel has not been involved with Shepherd Cox for a long time.  This is what he had to say:

“In December 2017 (after being introduced to Shepherd Cox by Christies) I leased the hotel to them (big mistake!!).  After huge problems I took the hotel back from them in June 2019”.

The Croft Hotel is unaffected by the actions being taken against the Shepherd Cox companies and we wish the owner every success.  Here is a link to The Croft Hotel website.  It looks a lovely place.

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

 

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