Posts By :

Dorset Tech

Scam Alert

Brookfield Money Mules

Brookfield Money Mules 300 233 Dorset Tech

A few weeks ago we published an article on Brookfield Investment Funds PLC and we identified one of their money mules. They have been using a bank account in Singapore under the name of VipCo Holdings. Vipco Holdings is well known to us because it has provided bank accounts to two other scam operations. You can read our first article on Brookfield and its money mules on this link.

We have been provided with details of another money mule bank account. This time it is located in Germany. Here are the bank details:

Account Name: Law Office: John Jennings
Account Address: 40213 Duesseldorf, Germany
Account Number: DE34 7001 0080 0097 3868 04
Bank Name: Postbank
Bank Address: Essen, Germany
Swift Code: PBNKDEFF
If there really is a John Jennings Law Office in Duesseldorf then it can’t be very busy. It doesn’t have a website. You will find this snippet of information if you look for the John Jennings Law Office.
To prove the Brookfield money mules operation is a truly global scam we were contacted by another investor who told us that she had been asked to pay her money to a bank account in the USA. Here are the details of that money mule account:
Account Name: Kaloca Inc
Account Address: 2177 Buckingham Rd,  Suite 567,  Richardson, TX 75081
Account Number: 4880 7336 0881
Bank Name: Bank of America
Bank Address: 100 N. Tryon St,  Charlotte,  NC 28255
Swift Code: BOFAUS3N      ABA/Routing Number:  026009593
So….. Brookfield Investment Funds PLC has been asking investors to pay them by sending money to bank accounts in Singapore, Germany and the USA. No doubt other accounts will come to light in the near future.
Hot off the press. We’ve just been informed of another Brookfield money mules bank account in the USA that they’ve been using:
Account Name: Wellington York Partners LLC
Account Address: 16787 Beach Boulevard,  Suite 686,  Huntington Beach,  CA 92647
Account Number: 059589101
Bank Name: Bank of the West
Bank Address: 19006 Brookhurst Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Swift Code: BWSTUS66      ABA/Routing Number:  121100782
Any law enforcement officers reading this who might want to go after these guys ? We’ve got a lot of information which we’re happy to provide.

Scam List Update 1

Scam List Update 1 350 225 Dorset Tech

Scam List Update 1

Due to the number of recovery actions we are pursuing on behalf of our clients we are finding it difficult to keep up with the free scam warning service we provide. We issue scam warnings as a public service in the hope that potential victims come across them BEFORE they have paid money to the scams. We know it works because we are often contacted by people who were about to pay money to a scam but didn’t because they saw the warning.

From now on we will be publishing lists of scams which have been reported to us just so that we can get something out in the public domain whilst we find the time to look into these scams in more detail. This is the first list of scams which have been reported to us in the last two weeks. We will publish more thorough reports into some of them in the days and weeks ahead.

Coin-Markets  –  a fake trading scam. The trades that clients see when they logon did not take place. They are fake trades designed to make it appear that the investment is doing very well.

HV Global  –  This is a follow-on-fraud. They have acquired the contact details of investors and are contacting them to say that they are the lucky owners of shares. All they have to do is pay some money to release the shares. It is not true. The investor does not own any shares.

The Carbon Registry  –  They claim to have sold an investor’s carbon credits. All the investor has to do is send them some money. It’s a scam.

Big Option / Option Rally  –  Trading scams.

Advisors For Excellence  –  Another follow-on-fraud pretty much identical to the HV Global scam mentioned above i.e it is a fake share scam.

In addition to the ones mentioned above we have also been contacted about some of the existing scam warnings we published recently. We have had a lot of responses from people who have information on the following scams:

Chelsea Transfer Ltdread the previous article here;

Brokers Communityread the previous article here;

Brookfield Investment Funds  –  read the previous article here.  This group of scammers has been very active. We’ve had a lot of enquiries from people who have fallen victim to this scam. One person has given us additional information which ties into two active recovery actions we are pursuing on behalf of clients. There will be an update shortly.

Craven Capital  –  another scam where we have received a lot of enquiries and some very useful information. Craven Capital has money mules across the world.  An update will be given soon. Read the previous article here.

Scam List Update 1.

Simon Whittley-Ryan Companies

Simon Whittley-Ryan Companies 500 333 Dorset Tech

We have received a lot of enquiries from investors in Simon Whittley-Ryan companies asking us to provide an update. We have also received information from people who have had dealings with Mr Whittley-Ryan so we thought it was time to bring things up to date.

The Simon Whittley-Ryan companies are (or were):

Highgrove Osprey PLC  –  forced into liquidation by a creditor in August 2019.  Here is a link to the Companies House record;

St Helier Capital Management Ltd  –  currently the subject of a winding up petition. More on that below;

Win River Developments Ltd  –  forced into liquidation by a creditor in January 2020.  Here is a link to the Companies House record;

Win River Ltd  –  currently still in operation. Accounts are 4 months overdue and Confirmation Statement is 2 months overdue. The dissolution process was started by Companies House but has been cancelled because “cause has been shown why the company should not be dissolved“.  This normally means that Companies House has been provided with evidence of a legal action in progress against a company, however Companies House will not provide further details to any enquirer;

Avianta Capital Consulting Ltd  –  currently still in operation but Companies House has applied to have the company struck off.  Mr Whittley-Ryan’s wife is a director of Avianta Capital Ltd, an Irish company which has been seeking to raise money for an airline venture. There is no evidence that Mrs Aislinn Whittley-Ryan is involved in any of the companies described above.

It is worth noting that until recently Aislinn Whittley-Ryan was also a director of Brockingbury Stud Ltd, a company whose registered office is a residential address. That address has also been used by a number of the Simon Whittley-Ryan companies.  Brockingbury Stud Ltd was dissolved in October 2019.

The problem with Simon Whittley-Ryan companies is very simple. In EVERY case the company raises money from investors for a fixed term e.g two or three years.  It promises to pay interest on that money at rates between 8% – 12% per annum.  Interest payments are supposed to be paid every six months.

In EVERY case it pays interest once or perhaps even twice, but then the interest payments stop. An investor, if he or she is lucky, receives only one year of interest. Then it is always the same story. The company states it is going through “a refinancing” and payments will resume shortly. In the case of Highgrove Osprey investors waited years for a refinancing until a creditor finally wound up the company.

Meanwhile, whilst these existing companies have stopped paying interest to investors, Mr Whittley-Ryan is busy setting up a new company to repeat the exercise. One of the questions which needs answering is whether this is a variation on a traditional Ponzi Scheme e.g where instead of using one company to keep taking in the money the perpetrator is using several companies. One thing which is clear is that when the term of the investment is up the investor is not repaid. It doesn’t matter at all what it says in the contract. He just doesn’t repay investors.

We believe Simon Whittley-Ryan’s companies must owe millions to creditors. It’s noticeable that on the rare occasions he actually files accounts for the companies there is always a clause in every set of accounts which says something like “the company is dependent on the financial support of other group companies for its ability to continue trading“.  Those other group companies are never identified. If all of the companies are dependent on each other and none of them have any money then it’s just a smokescreen.

The usual excuse of “an imminent refinancing” is trotted out on a regular basis.  At the recent hearing for Win River Developments Ltd, Mr Whittley-Ryan submitted a “refinancing contract” to the court as proof of an imminent refinancing. It was in the name of a completely different company (with no explanation of that company’s connection to Win River Developments Ltd) and it was not signed by any party. It could quite easily have been downloaded from the internet the day before. Quite rightly the Judge gave it no credibility whatsoever and issued a winding up order.

A few weeks ago we received this email below from an investor in Highgrove Osprey PLC:

I am [ detail redacted ] and foolishly invested in Highgrove Osprey. I cannot afford to lose my investment. Like everyone else I have lost count of the many promises of capital repayment with interest. I actually reported Whittley’s activities to Action Fraud and after a couple of interviews with Essex & Kent Fraud Squad and providing all the evidence I had, I was informed that the Police had visited the home of Simon Whittley and had taken away documents and computers. They also called him in for interview. I was later informed that there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction. How much more evidence do they need? And now he is involved with raising finance for a new airline. What is wrong with our society that allows someone like him to get away with such despicable activity?

One of our team spoke to the investor to obtain further information. We have now put him in contact with one of the Win River Developments Ltd investors who is keen to get to the truth about his investment.

Last week we received this email below on another matter related to Simon Whittley-Ryan (Simon Whittley as he was known at the time):

Just read your articles about Simon Whittley. He is a keen sailor and in or about 2007, he contacted Bloomsbury Publishing, publishers of Reeds Nautical Almanac, about putting it online. [ Detail redacted ]. He raised about £750k from private investors and others – no doubt Bloomsbury put in a chunk. It was a disaster from the start. Data was in an odd format to import, SW was working for Credit Suisse on other deals and trying to buy Charlestown Port in Cornwall as well. [ Detail Redacted ]. He went on to produce a web system that was only available onshore so useless to sailors. The company went into administration and, strangely, there was no money left. Looking at his history, anyone might think he was an inveterate crook. I’m sure he isn’t really.

We assume the final sentence was made in jest.

It appears that Simon Whittley-Ryan companies have a very long history of failure. That’s OK if he is losing his own money, but it’s not OK when he continually raises money from investors with the promise of regular payments and those payments always stop not long after the investment has been made. If anyone can identify ANY company owned, managed or operated by Simon Whittley-Ryan which HAS NOT resulted in losses for investors we would very much like to hear about it. We will happily publish those details.

It appears to us that Simon Whittley-Ryan has come up with a business model which enables him to live a very comfortable life off other peoples’ money, with all the evidence pointing to the fact that he never actually repays them.

The St Helier Capital Management Ltd saga continues. At a hearing on 12th February 2020, Mr Whittley-Ryan provided a statement to the court to explain why he had not complied with the Court Order of May 2019. He was supposed to submit his evidence by the end of May 2019. His excuse was that there must have been confusion between himself and his solicitor, but he couldn’t actually remember. He couldn’t provide any emails or correspondence in support of his statement because his emails had been “archived” and he needed an IT company to help him retrieve them. He claimed to have spoken to the law firm he was using at the time and they agreed there might have been confusion. We can’t help wondering why he didn’t ask the law firm to forward emails from that time to him. In any case, as always with Simon Whittley-Ryan, he was unable to provide any evidence to support his statements. 

His statement pointed the finger of blame for his inability to pay investors squarely at Safe Or Scam, claiming that we had prevented him from being able to raise more money. His argument ignored the fact that his companies had already defaulted on interest payments long before we published our concerns.    

The Judge has been very considerate in giving Mr Whittley-Ryan another week in which to submit his response to the petitioner’s evidence (which the petitioner submitted in May 2019). Once submitted, the petitioner will have a week of his own to reply to Mr Whittley-Ryan’s evidence. At that time another hearing will be set. The Judge awarded costs against St Helier Capital Management Ltd for both the hearing of 29th January 2020 and the hearing of 12th February 2020.

To view our previous article on the Simon Whittley-Ryan companies please click here.

To view a later update on Simon Whittley-Ryan companies please click here.

 

Craven Capital Again

Craven Capital Again 500 333 Dorset Tech

Craven Capital again. We don’t normally like putting up lots of articles in quick succession covering the same scam, but sometimes it’s useful because it shows just how quickly these follow-on-fraudsters can adapt.

Yesterday we published this article about Craven Capital.

Around midday yesterday we informed Nat West bank that the bank account mentioned in that article was being used in a follow-on-fraud. Credit where it is due. It appears Nat West took the warning seriously and acted on it straightaway because later the same day the intended victim was contacted by Craven Capital again. They informed the intended victim that the Nat West bank account had “reached its limit for deposits under FSCS rules” so they asked the intended victim NOT to pay that account. Nice excuse, but a complete load of rubbish. They said they would give the intended victim a new account to pay into. We assume that Nat West had immediately frozen the scam bank account.

In less than 24 hours the scammers provided another bank account. It is this one below:

Bank Name:  Halifax Bank
Branch:  Croydon, UK
Account Name: K Rivera
Sort Code: 11-02-13
Account Number: 13867268

 

This has been reported to Halifax Bank and they have advised that they will act on it. This just goes to show how quickly scammers can adapt and that they have a ready supply of people willing to provide money mule accounts. These money mule account holders need to realise that they are accessories in a fraud and are laundering the proceeds of crime.

If the Police could act as quickly as this it would prevent a lot of ordinary people from losing their money. For the record, we did try to report the fraud to Bedfordshire Police. This is the Police authority where the Nat West account is located. We were told that they couldn’t investigate or even make contact with the bank. We were told to file a report with Action Fraud.

 

Kansas MB Project

Kansas MB Project 300 300 Dorset Tech

Investors in Kansas MB Project Ltd will have mixed feelings about the company’s recent announcement. The good news is that the company has announced that it has started paying royalties again. The bad news is that the level of royalty (0.27% per annum) means that it will take 370 years for investors to recoup their original investment. This is in stark contrast to the promotional material which made royalty claims of 40%+ per annum.

Kansas MB Project Ltd is the fifth and final company run by Martin Finch. The other four have been wound up by the High Court in recent months.  Here is the royalty announcement.

Meeting of the Directors Of Kansas MB Project Limited

Held at Braxted Park Estate, Suite 11, Witham, Essex, CM8 3EN

January 2020

Present:                 M. Finch

It was resolved that an interim royalty be and is hereby paid on the company’s non-voting shares in respect of January 2020.

The secretary was therefore instructed to draw cheques in respect of these royalties and to issue the appropriate warrants.

The royalty payments are being distributed by PJU Management Ltd

Stephen Upton is allegedly one of the largest investors in Kansas MB Project (alleged because there are major question marks over whether or not the investment was genuine – see this blog article). One would have thought that Mr Upton would be livid at the paltry return he was receiving on his investment, but it seems that this is not so. Mr Upton is very supportive of Martin Finch. He is so supportive in fact that in October 2019 he formed a new company called PJU Management Ltd (Yes, that is the same PJU Management Ltd mentioned above i.e the company which is distributing the royalty payments !

The registered office of the company is Abacus House, 14-18 Forest Road, Loughton, Essex. This is the office address of the accountancy firm which has been handling the accounts of all five of Martin Finch’s companies.

Investors in Kansas MB Project Ltd will remember that Stephen Upton made a proposal to them for a restructuring. That proposal involved the assets of Kansas MB Project being transferred to a new company which he would set up. Investors were invited to give up the shares in KMB in return for shares in the new company. The problem was that Mr Upton wasn’t offering investors anything different to their current arrangement. The new company would have around 200 shareholders but only one director – Stephen Upton. It would also have only one person allowed to vote – Stephen Upton. It wasn’t a very attractive proposal to put to investors. He was asking them to give him total control of their assets. Very greedy Mr Upton.

So now Martin Finch has appointed Mr Upton’s new company PJU Management Ltd to “distribute” royalties. Here’s another problem. Kansas MB Project Ltd has never told investors how their royalty payments have been calculated. Martin Finch has steadfastly refused to provide investors with any information on oil revenues, expenses, profit share, source of payments etc etc. They have always been kept in the dark.

We have maintained from the very beginning that there is a reason why investors have never been told who is paying their royalties and it is because it’s a scam. If it weren’t a scam the money could be paid by Kansas MB Project itself from its own bank account (if it has one), or by its solicitor or by its accountant. It is noticeable that they are keeping themselves at arms length from the money.

Now PJU Management Ltd is distributing the royalties and it is supposedly owned by an investor, it has the ideal opportunity to be totally transparent and tell shareholders the origin of the payments. Who is paying these royalties to PJU Management and how are they calculated ?

At the end of the day 0.27% per annum isn’t really worth getting excited about. Perhaps the royalty was actually 27% per annum but PJU Management Ltd charges a 99% fee for “distribution”. It’s not clear exactly what Mr Upton is getting from this arrangement or why he is even involved in it. Whatever it is, if it is anything like his earlier restructuring proposal we can be sure it has been structured to ensure he does very well out of it.

 

 

Scam Alert

Craven Capital Scam

Craven Capital Scam 300 233 Dorset Tech

It looks like we were bang on with our assessment of how the Craven Capital scam might play out.

A few days ago we published this article on the Craven Capital follow-on-fraud. The scam was very quick off the mark in targeting investors in Win River Developments Ltd. We didn’t have much to go on at that stage, but we took an educated guess about the ploys they might eventually use to try to get money from the investors. We were spot on. They are using the usual scam model of “we have buyers for your investment. You just need to send us our advance fee and we will release all of the money to you”.

This excerpt from their Terms and Conditions document explains:

Craven Capital Limited may here forth be referred to as the Guarantor Services. Craven Capital Limited provide services in respect of the sale and exchange of alternative investments and act as facilitators, working on behalf of reputable third party merchants, corporate and private individuals.

PLEASE NOTE: None of what they say is true. It is all a scam.

We are not going to publish their full Terms and Conditions because we are not in the business of providing templates for potential scammers to use, however we have published below some of the documents they have sent out (with identifying information removed). This is to provide readers with an early warning signal of similar scams. If anyone receives any documents from any company which are remotely like the ones below, they can be 100% certain it is a scam.

Craven Capital Scam_1_Acceptance Letter

Craven Capital Scam_1_Invoice and Escrow

Craven Capital Scam_1_Invitation to Make Payment

The Craven Capital scam follows a very similar pattern to other follow-on-frauds. As we mentioned in our previous article this isn’t even a very good scam. It looks like they rushed to get it out to investors before they were really ready.

We have been sitting on this article for a few days. We could have published earlier, but the documents they sent out had one very important detail missing. The Craven Capital scam included sending an invoice to the intended victim (as seen above), but there were no bank details which would enable the intended victim to make payment. We thought it might be possible the scammers were in such a hurry to be the first to get their follow-on-fraud out to investors that they hadn’t had time to set themselves up with a bank account. We had to be patient and wait for the banking information. We are now able to publish this article because the bank account they are using is this one below:

Bank Name: National Westminster Bank   –   Branch: Leagrave Luton

Account Name (according to the scammers): Cook

Account Number: 34228748     Sort Code: 60 12 42

We have reported it to Nat West and they have advised that they would “take appropriate action”.

It is likely that this is a money mule account. This means that the person providing the bank account is willing to let it be used to launder money. Normally scammers use several money mule accounts so if you have had any dealings with the Craven Capital scam and they have given you a different bank account to pay into, it is still a scam.

 

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.
 

    Investigating investments is a regulated activity in the UK. We have chosen NOT to be FCA-regulated. As a result, British citizens are not allowed to view our content, use our services or benefit from the regular Scam Alert warnings on our blog page. This restriction only applies to citizens of Great Britain and does not apply to other countries. A lot of scam victims around the world regularly view our website and benefit from the information we provide. We are not required to check who visits the website and we do not record any information on anyone who clicks the "I CONFIRM" button below. 

    Safe Or Scam is prohibited by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (and associated regulations) from allowing individuals ordinarily resident in Great Britain to access our pages or use our services. Therefore, if any one of the following three statements apply to you the FCA prohibition applies.

    1.  I am currently ordinarily resident in the Great Britain; or
    2.  I was ordinarily resident in the Great Britain at the time I made my investment; or
    3.  I made my investment through my company which is incorporated under the laws of England and Wales and Scotland.

    If NONE of the above apply you may proceed to have free access to the website by clicking the "I CONFIRM" button below.

    I CONFIRM

    Our Scam Alert articles are sponsored by a not-for-profit UK company which is permitted to provide services to residents of Great Britain. If you are prohibited from viewing this website because one of the statements above apply to you, but you would like assistance from the UK company, please complete the Contact Form below. Please note: if you meet the requirements to click the "I CONFIRM" button above, you do not need to complete any details below.   






      By Submitting you agree with the SOS Privacy Policy