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Scam Alert

Berkeley Trading Ltd Scam Alert

Berkeley Trading Ltd Scam Alert 300 233 SOS Team

Berkeley Trading Ltd Scam Alert.

A poor quality scam operating under the name of Berkeley Trading Ltd is being heavily promoted to the public.  We are grateful to a reader in Asia who brought this to our attention.  Here are some of the key points from the company’s website:

UK based trading company with significant trading opportunities across a number of non correlated market related strategies.

Share In Over 30 Years Of Our Trading Success.

Key Features Of Our Investments:

  • Yearly Capital Secured Income Note options with returns up to 12% Gross Per Annum.
  • Low Risk
  • Capital Guarantee, Secured by a First Legal Charge & Deed of Debenture.
  • Proven Compartmentalised, Fully Diversified Investment Strategy.
  • Reputable Track Record, Clients Are Always Paid On Time & In Full.
  • Clients Choose Annual or Deferred Interest Payments.
  • Low Barrier to Entry, Clients Can Invest From As Little As 10K.
  • Available in GBP, EUR & USD.
  • Direct Entry With No Hidden Costs or Platform Fees.
  • Full Flexibility. Option To Renew The Investment & Clients Can Add More As & When They wish.

We don’t want to spend a lot of time on this scam because it really is quite poor.  Unfortunately, many investors worldwide may be taken in by it because it claims to be offered by a UK limited company based in London.  The UK is still regarded as a safe place to invest. God knows why because we estimate that 70% of the scams we investigate are either located in the UK or are run outside the UK by British citizens.

The website – LINK HERE states that the investment is low risk and is “as safe as possible”.  It isn’t, because it’s a scam and they will steal the money as soon as it is paid over.  The company Berkeley Trading Ltd – LINK TO COMPANIES HOUSE, was formed in March 2022.  The company’s registered office is one of the usual virtual office addresses.  The director’s name is Declan Walsh.  This will either be a false name or some poor soul has had his ID documents stolen and has no idea that he is a company director.  The domain name for the website was also bought in March 2022.  They only paid for one year which suggests that this was always intended to be a quick smash and grab raid on investors.

We always enjoy a really good fake customer story.  We’re rarely disappointed when we read the rubbish that scam websites write about themselves and their customers.  So let’s enjoy what David, Phillipa and John have to say about their wonderfully concocted fake experiences with Berkeley Trading Ltd.

 

David. London

When David purchased his buy to let London property he obtained a mortgage at a 4% fixed rate. He had unrealised cash in the bank that was earning almost zero interest. Not wanting to pay his mortgage down with cash on hand, David opted to invest 50K GBP in a 3 year income note paying 12% interest. The end result means from his 50K investment David is set to gain 6K per annum, and 18K over the income note term. His 50K is now working harder meaning he has an 8% per year gain when offset against his mortgage cost.

When I was presented with this investment option it made total sense!

Whilst preserving my capital I was getting essentially free money to pay off against my mortgage.”

David W. London

Oh David, we can totally see why you invested £50k.  Free money and an investment option which makes total sense !  It’s not every day that a deal as good as this falls into your lap.  David, you must be one of those rare people who lady luck smiles upon on a regular basis.  A week after David invested in Berkeley Trading a Nigerian Princess contacted him and asked him to put £50m into his bank account for her and she would pay him a huge sum.  He still can’t believe his luck !

 

Phillipa. Algarve, Portugal.

As a former CFO in a large corporate Phillipa took early retirement and moved full time to her villa on the Algarve. Alongside her private pension Phillipa had 200K Euro on bank deposit earning close to negative interest. She needed a stable income for 4 years before qualifying for her pension. 200K Euro was invested in 4 separate, 3 year income notes each paying 12% interest per year. By selecting the bi-annual interest option from the 4 notes with 8 coupon triggers staggered across 12 months she now receives 24K total annual interest split into 8 payments of 3k Euro gross a year. Phillipa intends to renew her income notes after 3 years for a further year taking her right up to pension draw down.

“This for me was the perfect investment solution.

It enabled me to change my circumstances, live my dream, retire early and finally move to Portugal

Phillipa R. Portugal

Phillipa, your investment criteria seems to be a little bit unusual.  You needed a stable income for four years so you decided that the most stable place to put your money was with a one-man company which had only been in existence for a few months with a virtual office address.  Not very sensible for someone who was supposed to be a former CFO in a large corporate.  You weren’t the CFO of Lehman Brothers by any chance ?

 

John, Chartered Accountant

Former Partner, Retired. (Big 4 Management Consultancy).

John was recommended he took a look at our income notes from a colleague prior to his retirement.

Although John had a robust, self managed investment portfolio built up over 15 years, he also had a lump sum on deposit. Reticent to commit that to his portfolio, a shorter term investment was required. Initially John chose two separate Income notes of 25K each for a 1 year term, both paying annual coupons of 12%.p.a. fixed return. At the 6 month trigger coupon payment for his first note he called us requesting to add more. John had taken profit on his portfolio and decided to add 100K more! Not long after this in March ‘21 markets took a dive. Clearly John had timed his exit right!

“Given the uncertainty of today’s global economy I am now focusing my attention on fixed income products. These fixed income notes give me peace of mind and flexibility to plan ahead knowing exactly what returns i’m getting. Highly recommended, I wish I had found them earlier.”

John T. Frankfurt

John’s former colleague has most likely gone into hiding because John might be considering introducing him to his friend Mr Baseball Bat.  John is very smart though.  He was clever enough to invest in Berkeley Trading Ltd before March 2021 which was at least a year before the company even existed.  Now that is what we call forward-planning for your retirement !

Berkeley Trading Ltd is a scam and nobody should go anywhere near it with their money.

Berkeley Trading Ltd Scam Alert. Berkeley Trading Ltd Scam Alert.

 

Qualia Care Brief Update

Qualia Care Brief Update 300 300 SOS Team

Qualia Care Brief Update.

WE INVITED NICO BRUYNIKS, SEVERAL OF HIS INVESTOR CO-ORDINATORS, SHORTLANDS LAW AND ALASTAIR DOBBIE TO GIVE THEIR COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE. MR BRUYNIKS RESPONDED WITH COMMENTS. AS A RESULT, SECTIONS OF THIS ARTICLE HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY REMOVED WHILST WE REVIEW WHETHER HIS COMMENTS ARE VALID OR NOT.

This is a warning for Qualia Care leaseholders NOT to pay any money over to Nico Bruyniks or his “investor co-ordinators” until such time as it is clear that there is a tangible benefit for the leaseholders. 

We are in receipt of emails sent out by Nico Bruyniks on Christmas Eve and another one on 26th January 2023 to hundreds of investors asking them to contribute £600,000.  We are reviewing the comments made in those emails and will be writing a more detailed article in the next week, however the key points of the emails are that Mr Bruyniks is seeking to raise £600,000 from room owners in order to fund an extremely questionable proposal.  He has not explained what the money is for nor how it would be spent other than to say that some of it would pay Alastair Dobbie of Shortlands Law.

As stated earlier a more detailed analysis will be written in the next week, but there are some things that Qualia Care investors should know right now. These are:

1.  The claim that the administrator is willing to transfer the freeholds has not been supported by any evidence or communication from the administrator. It is highly unlikely that Nico Bruyniks is giving the whole picture. He wants the £600,000 and giving the whole picture might put that in jeopardy [Note: Mr Bruyniks has said that the money is not for him and we believe him, but he is still asking investors to pay £600,000 to Shortlands Law]. There will be conditions attached to any transfer of the freeholds which makes the cost significantly higher than an initial small payment because the administrator is owed hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not a million or more, in fees. The administrator is not going to simply write those off in return for being paid a nominal sum. It is noticeable that the update did not come from Alastair Dobbie. This is because Alastair Dobbie could be sued for stating something which is untrue of for failing to give the full picture.

2.  Membership of, and participation in, Creditor Committees is unpaid. There is no entitlement to be paid for being on those committees. Creditors (i.e room owners) do not owe any money to any members of the committees. This includes a solicitor. All the various Creditor Committees involved in the former Qualia Care companies consist almost exclusively of Mr Bruyniks, Mr Dobbie and sales agents, or their chosen people. They were able to manipulate the committee memberships to gain control for their supporters only. We have evidence of them telling investors who to vote for so that the votes were split between their chosen people and no independent creditor was able to get a look in. Creditors have not been fairly represented because the sales agents have controlled the committees from the start and it was always their aim to take a 20% share of any restructuring that they can push through the administrator. That may have changed now because investors, and most probably the FCA, did not like that arrangement.

3.  Investors should not be pressured into paying the £600,000 now. They should wait for irrefutable proof from the administrator before parting with any money. The administrator is obliged to notify creditors if there are any developments. No doubt he will advise creditors when the time is right and then the creditors will be able to make an informed decision. £600,000 seems a very large sum of money for what should be a relatively straightforward process. We are surprised that Mr Bruyniks and the investor co-ordinators have not obtained quotes from law firms with a lot more experience in restructuring businesses and dealing with property / shareholding issues because that appears to be what the administrator is proposing (assuming that the Bruyniks emails are correct). We think the timing of Mr Bruyniks’ emails, i.e BEFORE the administrator has reported to creditors, was designed to ensure that Shortlands Law got the work. Leaseholders would be wise to speak to other law firms to find out what their charges would be and compare them to those of Shortlands Law. It is always sensible to seek independent legal advice.

4.  We are wondering whether Alastair Dobbie and Shortlands Law have a conflict of interest which would prevent them from acting for many leaseholders. It is worth asking that question of them. The reason we raise this is because Mr Bruyniks has said that the administrator’s proposal will be for the freehold of each care home property to be transferred to the leaseholders in that specific property. The rights to operate the property (which are currently held by Qualia Care Ltd [in administration]) would also be transferred to those same leaseholders. It is proposed by the administrator that 13 separate properties are treated in this way. These are separate properties. Some are profitable, some are not. Some are closed. For the most part the properties do not have common leaseholders i.e the investors are different. It is certain that some properties will need a lot more repairs and maintenance than others.

Mr Bruyniks wants all 13 properties to be combined under an umbrella company. That strategy was devised a long time ago between Mr Bruyniks, the sales agents and Alastair Dobbie. There is evidence that they saw this umbrella company as their long-term revenue stream. Mr Dobbie has been working for Mr Bruyniks and others under those instructions. We raise the question as to whether it is in the best interests of leaseholders in a profitable property to agree to put it into a pot with unprofitable properties. Also, whether it is in the best interests of leaseholders in a well maintained property to put it into a pot with rundown properties. It is questionable whether it is in their best interests at all. It may be morally right for victims of a large scam to attempt to look after each other, but an independent solicitor would have a duty to his clients to point out that it might be detrimental to their finances. If that is the case, leaseholders in the profitable, well maintained properties might well be better off instructing a solicitor who represents just their interests and not one who is attempting to combine 13 properties. That might be another reason why Mr Bruyniks is asking leaseholders to pay now and is a good reason for leaseholders not to instruct Shortlands Law until the administrator writes to creditors and they can obtain guarantees that Shortlands Law is acting in their best interests.

5.  The administrator’s proposal has not yet been approved by the FCA [We apologise to Mr Bruyniks and Mr Dobbie because we originally referred to it as the Bruyniks/Dobbie proposal. We said we would apologise for any errors]. We believe it is unlikely to gain that approval if it results in rewarding those involved in selling the scam. Alastair Dobbie has presented weird and wonderful proposals in the past, in Qualia and in other cases. They have all been thrown out. Many room owners will remember his Framework Proposal. There is no reason to think that this current proposal would be refused by the FCA because it has been formulated and presented by the administrator and seems to be very fair to leaseholders (although they should still take independent legal advice).

Some investors [we originally said ‘Qualia Care investors’, but they were in fact MBI investors] were never interested in any proposal from Nico Bruyniks or Alastair Dobbie at any time. We have been advised that the freeholds were bought by an accountant who persuaded leaseholders to surrender their leases and take shares in the freehold company. Each care home is a separate entity and has not been combined with the others. Mr Bruyniks has been critical of this arrangement and has written in his emails that none of the leaseholders have ever received any money. We know some of those investors and asked them if this was true. One of them told us that she received a payment every month up until Qualia Care (the operator of the care home) went into administration. They are now in the process of appointing a new care home operator. If the investor has been receiving payments every month then Mr Bruyniks’s statements about the MBI care homes are not true and may well be designed to mislead a large group of leaseholders.

We promised Mr Bruyniks that we would consider his comments to us and we will. We will include them in our next article.

We have asked him, Shortlands Law and Alastair Dobbie some questions which we hope they will be kind enough to answer.

To view our previous article on Qualia Care please click on this LINK.

Qualia Care Brief Update. Qualia Care Brief Update. Qualia Care Brief Update.

 

Scam Alert

Latest Money Mule Convictions

Latest Money Mule Convictions 300 233 SOS Team

Latest Money Mule Convictions.

In a recent operation that ran from mid-September to the end of November 2022 Law enforcement from 25 countries joined forces to crack down on enablers of money laundering. The operation was focused on money mules and their recruiters. A ‘money mule’ is a person who transfers stolen money on behalf of others, usually through their bank account. People are approached by scammers and offered cash to receive money into their bank account and transfer it to another account. Acting as a money mule is a criminal offence and if convicted will result in a prison sentence. It doesn’t matter how small the amount is, a criminal conviction for money laundering is a black mark which will follow that person around all their life.

During the crack down operation more than 8,700 money mules were identified, 2,469 people were arrested worldwide and 17.5m Euros was intercepted.

There is a more detailed report on the money mule operation on this LINK.

We have several cases which involve money mules transferring money to fraudsters. In one case we investigated more than 50 money mules were involved in just that one scam. In another case which we are currently pursuing with a victim of fraud, and which will be the subject of another article in the next few weeks, £1.3m was taken from investors and passed through the money mule’s account. We have traced the perpetrator to an address in Spain. He used his profits from the illegal activity to buy flash cars, pay the family’s living expenses, pay for his daughter to attend a private school in Spain and to finance his wife’s equestrian activities.

It is also worth reading this LINK to a Europol public awareness and prevention on money mules. Money mules are not just used in investment frauds. The money paid to money mules is more often linked to a number of more common criminal activities like phishing, malware attacks, online auction fraud, e-commerce fraud, romance scams, holiday fraud (booking fraud) and many others.

Latest Money Mule Convictions.

 

Scam Sellers Charged With Fraud

Scam Sellers Charged With Fraud 300 300 SOS Team

Scam Sellers Charged With Fraud.

Many victims of scam investments would like to see the people who sold the investment to them prosecuted. It rarely happens due to apathy by law enforcement agencies and financial regulators.  However, the situation is different in the USA. The SEC and FBI are leading the way in prosecutions of the ‘enablers’ i.e the salespeople who promote and sell the scams, the escrow agents which take in the investors’ money and the parties which help structure and operate the scams.

The latest individuals to have their collars felt by the US authorities are James Robinson and David Kennedy of United Property Group (“UPG”). UPG operated out of Spain and was one of the major sales agent companies of the last 10 years. It had close links to James Moore (currently serving 11 years in the USA for his part in several scams including Bar Works, OurSpace, Dakota Oil and Florida properties) and to Renwick Haddow who was behind so many scams that it would take all day to list them. Haddow has recently pled guilty to fraud charges in the USA and is due to be sentenced in April 2023.

UPG ran a huge network of sub-agent sales companies. It only took on scams which had the potential to make sales of tens of millions of pounds. It demanded exclusivity as the master sales agent and then sold the scams through its network taking a cut of the commissions from every sale. Others who worked at UPG were Honey Meek and Edward Rice.

James Robinson and David Kennedy were arrested in Spain and are now facing extradition proceedings to face trial in the USA. The charges are in relation to their involvement in Bar Works Inc and related entities. Bar Works was one of the scams founded by Renwick Haddow. Since Mr Haddow’s arrest he has been singing like a canary. One of his main salesmen at Bar Works, Savraj Gata-Aura aka ‘Sam Aura’, was sentenced to eight years in a US prison largely thanks to Renwick Haddow’s evidence. Haddow also gave testimony against James Moore which helped the prosecution obtain the 11 year sentence.

A large number of Bar Works investors are currently involved in claims against a financial services firm in the UK called Central FX. We have read the testimony of Renwick Haddow given in court in the USA and it raises very serious questions around the establishment and operation of the Bar Works account with Central FX. Haddow has made statements which, if true, suggest that Central FX was a party to the fraud. We await the publication of the Financial Ombudsman decision which should be available shortly, but we have been made aware that the Ombudsman declined to look into the establishment of the Bar Works account at Central FX despite being requested to. If he had looked at the account he would have found that either Haddow was lying in court or a fraud had been committed at Central FX. It appears the Ombudsman doesn’t want to expose another scandal involving yet another FCA-regulated entity.

The good news is that two of the major players in selling scams are out of action for a while. We will follow the case with interest.

The press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office in New York can be viewed on this LINK – Two British Citizens Arrested for Conspiracy to Defraud Investors……

Scam Sellers Charged With Fraud.

 

Justice

Moorwand Ltd Embroiled in Scandal – FCA Investigates Complaint

Moorwand Ltd Embroiled in Scandal – FCA Investigates Complaint 300 200 SOS Team

Moorwand Ltd Embroiled in Scandal – FCA Investigates Complaint.

Following a report to the FCA by a Safe Or Scam client, the Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed it will investigate his concerns and the issues raised.

Moorwand Ltd is a FCA-regulated Electronic Money Institution which, according to a report by Bloomberg, was involved in hundreds of suspicious transactions that were reported by one of Moorwand’s banking partners in Denmark.  Here is a LINK to our article on that subject from July 2022.

No action appears to have been taken by the FCA because Moorwand is still operating from its base in the City of London and is still providing regulated services.

To provide a brief recap, our investigation into Moorwand arose because our client (who we shall call John) was the victim of a binary option fraud which ran between 2015 – 2017.  He only became aware it was a fraud once the website disappeared and all the people involved in the scam melted away. This is a similar story for many victims of scams.

One of the bank accounts he paid into was supposed to belong to a company called UPayCard Ltd.  There had been a company called UPayCard Ltd in the UK, but it changed its name in November 2016 to Moorwand Ltd.

John paid his money into what he believed to be a UPayCard Ltd account in March 2017 based on invoices he received.  We encouraged John to write to Moorwand to ask about UPayCard because the company might be able to explain how John was issued with invoices to pay UPayCard Ltd in March 2017, four months after the company name had changed.  We advised John to ask Moorwand if they knew who owned the bank account into which he paid his money.  He received a reply to his enquiry from David Savell, the in-house lawyer for Moorwand.  Mr Savell’s reply was:

In relation to your questions: 

The payments made in 2017 were made by you to an account operated by UPayCard and which were held in the name of UPayCard.  UPayCard operated, at the time, under permission from Moorwand.  UPayCard is no longer an active business; 
UPayCard was a business separate from Moorwand Ltd. UPayCard, at the time, had access to its own bank accounts. 

Most people would have been happy with that reply because it seems pretty clear. “The payments made in 2017 were made by you to an account operated by UPayCard and which were held in the name of UPayCard”.  However, we weren’t happy with that reply because UPayCard no longer existed as a company so it should not have still been able to take money into a bank account in that name.  We advised John to seek clarification of the statement.  He made several attempts to ask David Savell to clarify, but Mr Savell side-stepped each time declining to answer in a simple and straightforward manner.  He avoided answering a very simple question which was asked several times “Was the bank account John paid into owned by Moorwand Ltd”?   We wrote an article on John’s attempts to get to the truth and Mr Savell’s ducking and diving which can be viewed on this LINK.  John never got a straight YES or NO answer and David Savell refused to have any more dealings with him.  The exchange was not unlike that of Jeremy Paxman asking Michael Howard the same question nine times and never getting a clear answer – LINK to Paxman/Howard interview.

Undeterred, we continued our investigations into the bank account which received John’s money. We are now able to prove beyond any doubt that the bank account was with the Royal Bank of Scotland (“RBS”) and was in the name of Moorwand Ltd. David Savell was not telling the truth when he said that John’s payments were made to an account in the name of UPayCard. It is a criminal offence to allow any party to “operate” another party’s bank account for the purpose of laundering money.  Mr Savell has stated that the account into which John paid his money was “operated by UPayCard” and yet we can prove that it was actually a Moorwand account which should have been operated by Moorwand directors. We are certain that any bank would close down an account which was found to be operated by unidentified third parties.

We encouraged John to write to Moorwand again making it clear that we could now prove he had paid the money to Moorwand Ltd. David Savell then changed his story and said “…all funds that you sent via Moorwand were provided to the merchant with whom you had a contractual relationship at your request.  Moorwand does not hold any funds that you sent via Moorwand…”.  So once he was backed into a corner he finally owned up that it was an account in the name of Moorwand Ltd which received John’s money.

Based on Mr Savell’s reply, John then asked him to identify the merchant to whom Moorwand had transferred the funds because John had not informed Moorwand of the name of the merchant and he certainly had not provided Moorwand with any evidence of a contractual relationship. We were intrigued by the words “at your request”.  John had never spoken or written to anyone at Moorwand so John asked for evidence of him requesting the transfer.  Mr Savell declined to provide the name of the merchant, nor was he willing to provide any evidence supporting his claim that there was a contractual relationship between John and the unidentified merchant , nor would he provide any evidence of John requesting a transfer to the unidentified merchant.

We accept that Moorwand might be able to claim that the receipt of a money transfer from John which had a reference of ‘UPayCard Ltd’ could be sufficient to be regarded as a request to transfer the funds to that specific company, were it not for one important fact.  WE CAN PROVE THAT MOORWAND DID NOT, AT ANY TIME, TRANSFER MONEY FROM THAT ACCOUNT TO AN ENTITY CALLED UPAYCARD LTD.  

This beggars the question “where was John’s money transferred to and who is the unidentified merchant”?  Only Moorwand can answer that question and they’re refusing to say. What we do know is that money was transferred out of that account to a number of offshore companies which are currently under Police investigation for fraud.  We also know that John’s money was transferred somewhere because by the end of 2017 that bank account had been emptied and was closed down. 

We believe Moorwand was laundering money for fraudsters who were perpetrating at least one large-scale investment fraud on the general public. If Moorwand will not tell John who they transferred his money to we have to assume that they know they do not have clean hands.  

It is worth noting that John’s investment was made in March 2017.  The Moorwand directors at that time were ALAIN BAZILLE (65), MARK WAYNE WHEELER (74) and SIMON HEDLEY HOY (74).  It’s interesting Mr Savell advised John that UPayCard had become a separate entity in late 2016 with its own bank accounts.  He was happy to tell John that UPayCard was later acquired in April 2019 by a Cypriot company called Pap Onpoint Services and was no longer in operation, but he declined to tell John who owned UPayCard from the date he claimed that UPayCard became a separate entity with its own bank accounts in 2016 up to its transfer to the Cypriot company in April 2019.  That’s a two and a half year period where he claims that he cannot say who owned UPayCard “for confidentiality reasons”.   His excuse doesn’t stack up because he had no problem telling John about the transfer to Pap Onpoint Services in 2019.  He is covering up for someone or he is not telling the truth.  If UPayCard was made a separate entity in 2016 Moorwand knows who owned it because in the words of Mr Savell “it operated under Moorwand’s licence”.   Moorwand was required by law to have completed the ID and anti-money laundering checks on the alleged new owner(s). If the new UPayCard Ltd existed then it was incorporated offshore in a secret location.

There was a company called ‘UPC UpayCard Ltd’ incorporated in Cyprus in 2015. It looks very dodgy too because the real company directors had not declared themselves and were using a local Cypriot citizen as their nominee. This company was dissolved in 2021.

Maybe it’s not that difficult to take a guess as to who might have owned UPayCard during that two and a half year period.  We have no evidence of the Moorwand directors’ involvement in UPayCard in that secretive period, but all three of them (Bazille, Wheeler and Hoy) resigned in May and June 2019 a few weeks after UPayCard was allegedly transferred to the Pap Onpoint Services.  That’s a coincidence.  Maybe the FCA investigation will find out who owned “UPayCard Ltd” assuming that this mysterious company even existed and that it’s not just a lie to put scam victims off the scent. We suspect that several retirement pots received a healthy boost during the time the investment fraud was taking in money.

In the past few weeks there has been another merry-go-round of Moorwand directors resigning and a new set being appointed. This may have something to do with the Police investigation into the binary option fraud network.

Finally, we found evidence of at least one known fraudster being paid from this Moorwand account.  A company called CYBERNETICS MARKETING SERVICES LTD – LINK to Companies House received a payment.  This company was involved in the ESSEX AND LONDON PROPERTIES LTD fraud which we have covered extensively on this site – LINK to recent article.  The company is owned by MUHAMMED NOMAN TANVEER who was convicted for his part in the E&LP fraud and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in July 2022. We wonder what service Mr Tanveer provided to Moorwand Ltd.

Moorwand Ltd Embroiled in Scandal – FCA Investigates Complaint.  Moorwand Ltd Embroiled in Scandal – FCA Investigates Complaint.  Moorwand Ltd Embroiled in Scandal – FCA Investigates Complaint.

 

Scam Alert

Chartered Trading Standards Institute – Scam Alert

Chartered Trading Standards Institute – Scam Alert 300 233 SOS Team

Chartered Trading Standards Institute – Scam Alert.

Victims of the Essex and London Properties fraud are being contacted by telephone and email by a bogus scam group calling itself the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.  The CTSI is a genuine organisation which helps members of the public with consumer issues and rogue traders, but the approach which is being made to investors is from a bunch of scammers.  They have an email address which uses the domain name of ctsi-uk.com. This domain name was purchased on 14th June 2022.

We have come across several scams over the years where scammers pretend to be from The Insolvency Service, or Trading Standards, or HMRC, or another reputable body.  The aim is always to persuade victims of scams to part with more money.

The genuine Chartered Trading Standards Institute website can be viewed on this – LINK.  It does not use the domain of ctsi-uk.com and it never gets involved in requesting proof of debt forms for insolvent companies.

Here is the email the scammers have been sending out.

From: CTSI UK <info@ctsi-uk.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Sept 2022
Subject: Information from Trading Standards
To:

Dear  

We write to you today regarding an investment placed into a company currently under investigation. As you are already aware, we have formerly identified and verified you as the sole beneficiary of the unregulated investment you have purchased.

We have attempted to contact you recently to request a return of your proof of creditors debt form, however we have not been able to get in touch with you. Unallocated claims held solely in the proprietor’s name will be forfeited if a representation claim is not made within the next 10 working days. As we move to the final stages of our winding up process, we advise all clients to lodge a claim via our advisory service prior to the completion of the liquidation process.  

If you have been receiving numerous phone calls from third party agents offering their services to help assist in trading your asset out of the market or managing the asset on your behalf. We would ask you to be very careful and take additional care when choosing a company to work with to ensure you are dealing with a credible and reliable company based in the UK.  

As our attempts to reach you have been to no avail, may we ask that you contact us immediately on 0800 054 1359 and lodge a claim to enable us to assist you in the recuperation of your funds.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Kevin Hargreaves
Investigating Officer 
Chartered Trading Standards Institute 

Trading Standards Institute

1 Sylvan Court
Sylvan Way
Southfields Business Park
BASILDON
SS15 6TH

We love the part where they say “We would ask you to be very careful and take additional care when choosing a company to work with to ensure you are dealing with a credible and reliable company based in the UK”.   The sole aim of the email is to get the victim to respond.  Once they have the victim on the hook they will appear to be as helpful as possible, but the approach will always end in them asking for money.  Don’t pay them because they will run off with your money.

A scam like this will always use a money mule bank account which acts as a sweeper account. The moment the account receives any money it is immediately swept out to another account, usually offshore in a jurisdiction like UAE, the Seychelles or Hong Kong where recovery is virtually impossible.  If you have lost money to a scam like this you should report it to Action Fraud using this LINK.  If you’re lucky they might look into it.

Chartered Trading Standards Institute – Scam Alert.

 

Scam Alert

Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams

Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams 300 233 SOS Team

Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams.

Since we published our article on the Green Swan Holding Bond at the end of June – LINK to article, we have been contacted by quite a few people who have been providing us with information on the activities of Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and others.

We now know the extent of investors’ losses in five of the Simon Whittley-Ryan companies [Highgrove Osprey PLC (in liquidation), Hawksbill Property Consultants Ltd (in liquidation), St Helier Capital Management Ltd (in liquidation), Win River Developments Ltd (in liquidation) and Win River Ltd].  Investor losses are just over £10m excluding any interest which is owed.

Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams.  

Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan have been involved in Platform Trading Investment Scams (“PTIS”) for a very long time, but they haven’t been very successful.  Investors in the five companies listed above have been receiving fortnightly promises from Simon Whittley-Ryan of imminent repayment of their losses for years.  These updates from Simon Whittley-Ryan contain regular references to “the Swiss” who are always on the verge of providing the £10m+ to ‘refinance’ the collapsed companies, but these funds never materialise.  We have now discovered that the reason for this is because Simon Whittley-Ryan has been relying on PTIS to raise the money.  ‘The Swiss’ actually refers to Andre Schut, his associates, and his company Delta Mountain AG.

What are PTIS ?  Basically they are scams which require an intended victim to deposit money in a bank account.  The story they are told is that the operators of the PTIS have access to a high level “Tier 1” trader who can leverage the bank statement to around 100 times its value by acquiring ‘fresh-cut MTNs (Medium Term Notes) or SBLCs (Standby Letters Of Credit) and then ‘trade’ this enhanced value financial instrument.  The profit promised to the intended victim amounts to hundreds of percent on their money and the trading period generally ranges from 10 days to 40 weeks. Of course this special trading arrangement is not well known and the intended victim is sworn to secrecy because if it gets out everyone will want to join and it is only being offered to a select few. Blah blah blah. The intended victim is advised that at no time is his/her money at risk.

Unfortunately, there are never any profits because it is a scam.  Here is a LINK to a FBI article which sums it up very well.

There are a couple of important phrases in the article:

“…..the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is warning the public about fraudulent activity commonly referred to as Platform Trading, Private Platform Programs (PPPs), Prime Bank Trading, or Medium-Term Note Trading Programs”. [Note the wording “Medium-Term Note Trading Programs’ because it comes up later in this article].

“Offering such programs, or claiming to have connections to such programs, violates numerous federal criminal laws”.

We have evidence of Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan’s involvement in PTIS.  We wrote to Andre Schut on 16th August 2022 advising him that we were intending to publish an article on his involvement with Simon Whittley-Ryan in seeking investors to put up funds for PTIS.  He did not respond.

We were provided with information on a UK businessman who Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan had been attempting to persuade to deposit funds for a PTIS.  We wrote to the businessman asking about his involvement with them and the scheme.  He responded as follows:

“Thank you for the email.

 I am surprised that my name came up !! and please do not mention my name. he [Simon Whittley-Ryan] was introduced to me by Angus Rose of Alexander David Securities corporate finance in London who are FCA regulated,

 I had sussed out he was a good talker and a flake and I would not in any way do business or wanted to be associated with him”. 

Simon Whittley-Ryan is subject to court proceedings brought by the liquidator of Win River Developments.  Angus Rose was an employee of Alexander David Securities.  Alexander David Securities went into liquidation very recently. Here is our article on that – LINK.

It turns out that the businessman pulled out of the deal at the very last minute so he had a lucky escape.  We know of several different PTIS that Simon Whittley-Ryan was involved with, some involved Andre Schut and some were with other people. Whittley-Ryan’s involvement is especially worrying considering that he had already lost £300,000 of company money, i.e creditors’ funds, by paying cash over to a PTIS scammer – see below.  You would have thought he would have given PTIS a wide berth after that experience, but it seems to have only made him more determined to promote these schemes.  Perhaps the experience showed him a new way to separate investors from their cash.  He certainly had no problem promoting PTIS to other intended victims after losing that cash.  His attempts to persuade this UK businessman to participate occurred after Whittley-Ryan had lost the £300k.

£300,000 is actually a low sum of money to be lost in PTIS.  Normally they are targeting investors and companies with £10m+, but we have seen them reduce the funding requirement to £1m (the businessman was being asked to invest £1m).  We have never seen one as low as £300k, but if there is someone stupid enough to part with £300k then a scammer would be foolish to turn his nose up at it.

Andre Schut seems to have been one of the main introducers to PTIS because he offered a number of different schemes ranging from 10 day trading schemes through to 40 week trading schemes.  All of them involved PTIS in partnership with a US party.  There is normally a US-based lawyer involved in these schemes.  It doesn’t seem to have worked out for Andre because, according to our Source in the original article, Andre Schut owes him millions and isn’t able to pay.

Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams.  Whittley-Ryan’s payment of company money to Sebastian Celea.

In 2019, Simon Whittley-Ryan paid £300,000 of company money to a former Romanian legionnaire called Sebastian Celea (honestly, we haven’t made it up.  He really did give £300k to a former Romanian legionnaire who promised him he could turn it into £30m by issuing Whittley-Ryan with a proof of funds for £30m which he could use to put into Andre Schut’s special trading program).  It didn’t worry Simon Whittley-Ryan because it wasn’t his own money.  It was investors’ money.  There is nothing in any of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s company Investment Memoranda which allows him to use company money in this way.

Did he genuinely believe that a former Romanian legionnaire could turn 300k into 30 million ?  We’re not so sure he did. The plan was for Celea to give Whittley-Ryan proof of funds that SWR’s 300k had increased to 30m so that Whittley-Ryan could then use that in one of Andre Schut’s special trading schemes.  Celea delivered on his promise.  He provided a bank statement showing 31m Euros in a bank account.  However, it was a forgery. The Proof Of Funds was rubbish, but that didn’t stop Whittley-Ryan presenting it to Andre Schut’s team to try to get them to accept it into the special trading scheme so that he could increase his fictitious 31m Euros up to hundreds of millions of Euros.  That is where this magical ‘refinancing’ was going to come from and it shows why it never happened.

Here is an article on Sebastian Celea from May 2022 confirming that he was sentenced to 6 years for his involvement in real estate fraud – LINK .  This sentence is for real estate fraud between 2014-2017 and they don’t even know about his involvement in PTIS !  We have seen no evidence that Simon Whittley-Ryan made any serious attempt to recover the £300k.  We find that very odd.

Without full disclosure of company records and bank accounts it is not possible to conclusively prove the source of the funds. However, thanks to information received from Northern Ireland we are now almost certain where that money came from.  We have passed that information on.  Suffice to say it was money which should have been paid back to one of the liquidated companies, but it was siphoned off by Simon Whittley-Ryan.

The contract with Sebastian Celea wasn’t even in the name of any of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s investment companies.  He knew he wouldn’t be able to explain it to his investors so he put it in the name of an Irish company he owns called Elsmont Ltd.  However, when the fake bank statement was provided by Celea it wasn’t in the name of Elsmont Ltd or any of Whittley-Ryan’s companies. It was in the personal name of Simon Whittley.  It is clear that he misappropriated investor funds with the intent of enriching himself.

Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams. The Source does not have clean hands.

At this point we refer back to our original Green Swan Holding article – LINK.  Information on Green Swan Holding was given to us in December 2021 and January 2022 by a man we described as ‘The Source’.  Unfortunately, new information we have received has revealed that the Source was himself involved in PTIS with Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan.  We wrote to him with a list of questions about his involvement.  He hasn’t answered all of the questions, but he did admit to his involvement stating that he never asks for any payment upfront and that Simon Whittley-Ryan’s attempt to put 31m Euros into the PTIS in 2019 was declined because he didn’t pass the due diligence (in other words it was clear the Proof Of Funds was a forgery).  It is clear that they now have a new investor on the hook because the Source did a complete U-turn on wanting to expose Green Swan Holding Ltd as being controlled by Simon Whittley-Ryan after he made contact with the office of Sir XXXXXXX, the man who paid the insurance binder fee for the Green Swan Holding bond.  We are wondering whether they have persuaded Sir XXXXXXX to put up money for their next PTIS.  That would be very interesting.

We will be sending our findings to the Swiss authorities and to the FBI.  There’s always a US party involved in PTIS and this Schut / Whittley-Ryan trading scheme is no exception.

Green Swan Holding Ltd Changes.

We have noticed recent changes to the Green Swan Holding Ltd filings at Companies House.  The company is now apparently going to be funded by Medium-Term Notes !  Oh dear. It looks like an attempt at another PTIS.

We have written to three of the Green Swan Holding directors and sent them a copy of the FBI article.  They don’t seem to be bothered.  Charles Griffiths never responded.  Philip Robinson did respond with a robust defence of the company’s position. More on him below.  Andre Schut did not respond.

There have been a few changes to Green Swan Holding Ltd.  UMB Bank in the USA appears to have withdrawn.  Their charge over the company has been cancelled.  That’s hardly surprising considering we sent them a link to our previous article.  They had the good sense to walk away.

A new company called SA Guarantee Specialists based in South Africa has registered a new charge over Green Swan Holding Ltd.  It is the new ‘Collateral Agent’ tasked with ensuring that the company’s assets are secured for the provider of the MTNs should they ever arrive. We still don’t see anyone with experience or a proven track record on the board of Green Swan Holding Ltd so it is difficult to believe anyone would really give them any genuine hard cash.

The company has recently filed its annual accounts.  You can read the Companies House filing on this LINK. What we found amusing was that normally company accounts contain a statement along the lines of “these company accounts were approved by the Board on [Date]”.  They are then signed by the Managing Director.  In the case of Green Swan the accounts are signed by all four directors. We’ve never seen that before.  It’s almost a case of “I’m not putting my name to this unless the rest of you do too”.

The Green Swan Holding Ltd Directors – Charles Griffiths and Philip Robinson.

We have been informed that Charles Griffiths was introduced to Simon Whittley-Ryan by Angus Rose.  He seems to make a lot of introductions.  We’ve nothing to suggest that Charles Griffiths had anything to do with Simon Whittley-Ryan’s previous schemes, but he has been made aware of PTIS and the FBI article and appears to be willing to turn a blind eye.

Philip Robinson has been involved with Simon Whittley-Ryan for a very long time.  He is also turning a blind eye to the FBI article.  Initially it was difficult to be hard on Philip because he was an investor in one of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s failed ventures, Highgrove Osprey PLC (in liquidation).  Highgrove Osprey was incorporated in November 2012.  However, Philip turned up again in a Simon Whittley-Ryan company, Hawksbill Property Consultants Ltd, which was incorporated in 2014.  This time he wasn’t an investor.  He was part of the Senior Management Team.  Hawksbill also raised funds from investors and is in liquidation.  The liquidators report that the company had negligible assets.  Here is the reference to Philip Robinson from the Hawksbill website:

Senior Management
Philip Robinson (Operations)
Phil is an experienced operations director and prior to establishing his own successful project management business worked in the FMCG sector for such large international companies.
He currently conducts high level project management for blue chip organisations such as Barclays Bank and HSBC. Phil will be responsible for project management and ensuring work
package delivery against agreed timescales.

And then Philip turns up again in another Simon Whittley-Ryan company in 2017.  This time it is Win River Developments Ltd.  According to the Win River Developments Ltd Information Memorandum of April 2017 he was part of the Win River Developments Ltd management team.  Here is the identical paragraph about him taken from the Information Memorandum:

Philip Robinson – Head of Internal Project Management, Senior Management
Phil is an experienced operations director and prior to establishing his own successful project management business worked in the FMCG sector for such large international companies. He currently conducts high level project management for blue chip organisations such as Barclays Bank and HSBC. Phil will be responsible for project management and ensuring work package delivery against agreed timescales.

In both companies Phil (we feel we can call him that now) “will be responsible for project management and ensuring work package delivery against agreed timescales”.  So….. considering that both companies are in liquidation with not a bean in assets between them (assuming that there are no hidden assets), perhaps Phil can help explain where all the money went.

And now, having been involved in three collapsed Whittley-Ryan companies we are expected to believe that he is an independent director in Green Swan Holding Ltd and is not acting as a nominee director for Simon Whittley-Ryan.  We are expected to accept that Phil and his fellow directors CHOSE to appoint Simon Whittley-Ryan as its consultant.  This is despite his long record of failures and investor losses.  Pull the other one Phil.

We wrote to Philip Robinson with four questions and we have included his reply below.  Our email:

Dear Philip,
Our investigations into Green Swan Holding Ltd led us to revisit all the Win River documents that we hold. We found that you were listed in the very first Investment Memorandum produced by Win River Developments Ltd as Head Of Internal Project Management.
 
That led us to make further enquiries and we have been advised that you were employed by both WRD and by Hawksbill. Furthermore, we were told that Simon Whittley-Ryan owes you a significant amount of money.
 
We therefore assume that you took up a directorship in Green Swan in order to protect the debt owed to you because, as you are well aware, SWR owns and controls Green Swan. Hopefully you were not involved in the Private Placement Programs which SWR and Andre Schut were offering to people. These are fraudulent trading platforms which offer huge returns and they are all frauds. We know people who lost a lot of money by subscribing to these schemes. Here is a link to a FBI Report. https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/honolulu/news/press-releases/fbi-warns-public-about-platform-trading-investment-scams
 
We are intending to write an article about the Green Swan directors and the activities of SWR / AS in offering these platform investments.
 
From your perspective we intend to publish that:
 
1. You were employed by SWR at WRD and Hawksbill;

2. You were his Head Of Project Management;

3. You are owed a lot of money by SWR or one of his companies.

4. You are aware that SWR is the beneficial owner and ultimate controller of the Green Swan companies.   

If any of these are incorrect please let us know and, if proven, we will amend the article prior to publication. 
Mr Robinson’s reply:
1. I have never been an employee of either of the businesses as stated [or indeed, any company that SWR has been involved with]. If my name has appeared in a Win River Investment Memorandum document, this has been done without my knowledge or agreement [disappointing, but not surprised]. I can confirm that I have no knowledge of this business whatsoever, other than being aware that this is a company SWR is associated with.
2. Therefore I have held no such position as stated
3. My private affairs are exactly that, private
4. SWR is certainly not the beneficial owner and/or ultimate controller of GSH
I would also like to address the purported connection that your communications make between the activities of GSH and SWR. The evidence relating to this points to something very different:
– The partners of GSH are international/global organisations that have very significant compliance and regulatory processes. These processes cover the control and use of funds, and the requirement for the implementation of normal governance policies one would expect to see in place in any well managed business
– In working with GSH, they have invested time and resources to understand the business, the individuals involved and investigate the connection you are inferring exists 
– The conclusions they have reached is that it does not exist, and their own risk management policies and processes would simply not permit a business relationship in which SWR is directly or indirectly involved
– Unfortunately, what SWR is discussing with creditors is outside our control, other than it does bring into focus the option of legal redress for misrepresentation and causing reputational damage, with a ‘cease and desist’ notice being actioned 
I hope you find this update of value

Point 1  –  we don’t believe him.  Documentary evidence proves he was representing Win River Developments Ltd interests in Northern Ireland.

Point 2  –  as per Point 1.

Point 3  –  they’re not that private because we’ve since received more information which proves that he is owed money by Highgrove Osprey PLC.

Point 4  –  that’s not what the Source has told us in writing and he is a partner of both Simon Whittley-Ryan and Andre Schut in PTIS.  He’ll have to explain himself in court should it come to that, as would the four directors of Green Swan Holding Ltd.

He refers to the reputable partners of GSH. We have asked him to identify these partners but have not received a reply.

Apparently the partners have invested time and resources to understand the business (OK, we’ll accept that), and on the individuals involved (don’t believe that because if they had they would back away from the business as UMB bank has done), and would certainly not permit a business relationship in which SWR is directly or indirectly involved (Oh come on Phil. We have emails provided to us where Whittley-Ryan is dealing direct with the bank under different names, dealing direct with the Green Swan lawyers and organising Green Swan Board meetings. It has already been admitted that he is your “consultant” so your statement that he is not in any way involved is an outright lie.  You’ve even given him his own Green Swan email address ).

In summary, we have four directors of Green Swan Holding Ltd and one “consultant” who the directors  claim is not involved in their company and is not the real beneficial owner of the company.  There’s Andre Schut who is a partner with Whittley-Ryan in PTIS, Philip Robinson who has been involved in three Whittley-Ryan scam companies which have all ended up in liquidation and were found to have no assets, and who is owed a substantial sum of money by Whittley-Ryan, Graham Kerslake who was involved with Whittley-Ryan in Natural Capital Energy and its ridiculous bond product, and finally Charles Griffiths who we can prove was introduced to Simon Whittley-Ryan by Angus Rose.  Add to that the fact that Whittley-Ryan has been writing to investors for years about his new venture being able to pay them all back and it makes Philip Robinson’s response look pretty pathetic.

We understand why the directors of Green Swan Holding Ltd were brought together by Simon Whittley-Ryan to hide his involvement. Firstly, he is toxic due to the number of failed investments, his attempts to hide the money trail and the losses suffered by investors.  Secondly, he is required by law to declare the insurance history of his companies and whether they have ever taken out insurance under false pretences. We have evidence which proves that a Whittley-Ryan company would find it impossible to obtain insurance from any mainstream provider.

We mentioned that Green Swan has a new Collateral Agent, SA Guarantee Specialists of South Africa, and that they are providing an insurance of some kind. They are allegedly backed by a large South African insurance company. The CEO of SA Guarantee Specialists is Nathan January.

We found that a company has been incorporated in the UK on 24th May 2022 which is called SA Guarantee Specialists UK Ltd – LINK to Companies House. This company has Nathan January as a director.  The other directors are described as Investment Bankers and they are involved with another UK company called Charter HCP Ltd – LINK to Companies House.  There is no means of contacting Nathan January on his SA Guarantee Specialists website so we contacted Charter HCP Ltd. They said that they have known Simon Whittley-Ryan for a number of years.  He was looking for funding for his various ventures and contacted them. They said the ventures had not passed due diligence so they did not fund. We asked them to provide the email address of Nathan January so we could contact him. They didn’t give it to us. They defended Simon Whittley-Ryan by saying that none of the allegations made against him have been proven.  We countered by saying that this is because liquidators have not been given the company records despite some of the companies having been in liquidation for years. We said this would change when court proceedings conclude and defendants are ordered by the court to give up the records so that the money trail can be investigated.

Charter HCP said that SA Guarantee Specialists was backed by a highly rated South African insurer so it looks good.  We countered by saying that SA Guarantee Specialists is a “cell” company backed by an insurer.  That is not the same thing.  It is a cell company which acts as protection for an insurance company and is not direct to the insurer itself.  They said that is not unusual and we said that the use of a cell company means that should the investment fail and it turns out that the investor in Green Swan loses his/her money, there is no claim which can be made direct against the insurer. There is only a claim against the cell company which is empty and has no assets.  If it were to close down following receipt of a claim the investor would find it very difficult to make a claim direct against the insurer.  To be fair to Charter HCP they responded with “Yes, I suppose you are right”.  So in reality the Collateral Agent isn’t really offering any protection because the insurer has a ‘get out of jail’ card in its back pocket. We would have liked to have put these points to Nathan January, but he is a man of mystery.  That’s very similar to the people involved in PTIS.  They insist on secrecy.

We don’t believe in coincidences. The fact that SA Guarantee Specialists UK Ltd was incorporated on 24th May 2022, and includes people who know Simon Whittley-Ryan, and is then followed a few weeks later by the involvement of SA Guarantee Specialists of South Africa as Collateral Agent for Green Swan Holding Ltd is one hell of a coincidence. The fact that the charge raised by SA Guarantee Specialists now refers to MTNs being used to finance Green Swan is very concerning. What a shame Nathan January is such a difficult person to contact because we would love to give him the opportunity to explain the position.

We have sent a copy of this article to all the directors of Green Swan asking them to advise us of any errors and, if proven, we will amend and publish an apology. We also wrote to The Source who responded immediately to say that the trading platform schemes in which he and Andre Schut are involved are not illegal in Switzerland.  Hmmm…..this seems to conflict with the FBI position so we have asked him to supply proof of their legality. If they are legal we wonder why none of the Green Swan directors told us so when we wrote to them advising that we were intending to publish this article. We have also asked for any evidence that they have ever achieved a successful outcome in any of their trading platform offerings.  We will publish an update if we receive anything.

Next Article

In our next article we will try to find out what happened in the Caribbean and the extent of Christopher James MBE’s involvement.  It’s looking increasingly likely that Whittley-Ryan promised to purchase and develop the Blue Haven Hotel and Culloden Reef hotels in Tobago using money from a PTIS.  It appears that has been going on for more than five years and of course the purchase money has never arrived.  We’re trying to find out if there are any hidden assets which should be declared to the various liquidators. It might stir things up out there because the information we have been receiving seems to indicate that not everything is perfect in paradise.  We hope Mr James is willing to co-operate.

Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scam. Andre Schut, Simon Whittley-Ryan and Platform Trading Investment Scams. 

 

Scam Alert

Longview Financial Services Scam

Longview Financial Services Scam 300 233 SOS Team

Longview Financial Services Scam

This week we have reported on two different follow-on-frauds aimed at victims of investment scams.  The articles can be read on these links Blumarble Capital Follow-On-Fraud and FFCC-org.com Scam – High Street GRP.

Today we are reporting on a third follow-on-fraud.  This one is called Longview Financial Services.  Yet again, this one follows a standard format which we have seen many times, but in this case it has raised its game and is more professional.  A new form has appeared presumably to add a veneer of respectability, but the form doesn’t make sense when compared to the other forms.  More on that later.

There was a company called Longview Financial Services Ltd in the UK, but it changed its name to Prosperity Mortgage Solutions Ltd on 4th August 2022 – LINK to Companies House entry.  Is that a coincidence ?

The Longview scam is aimed at investors in Minerva Bonds, but that doesn’t mean they won’t expand it to other investor groups in the future.  One of the documents contained a list of investors and the amounts they were due to be refunded.  We recognised many of the names because they have either contacted us in the past about Minerva or they have invested in other scams and contacted us about those.  It is a sad fact that once a sales agent gets his hooks into an investor he will persuade them to invest in the next scam which pays him high commissions.  We have been contacted by people who have invested in as many as eight separate scams.

It is rare to have three follow-on-frauds launched in quick succession.  There has been a lull in these kinds of scams for a couple of months.  Follow-on-frauds are carried out by organised criminal groups and they make huge sums of money operating them.  They may have UK phone numbers, but they are often not in the UK.  There are huge floors of scammers operating out of call centres in Eastern Europe, Dubai, Hong Kong, China and India.  They are very difficult to trace and that is why they are able to get away with it.  The sudden pick-up in follow-on-fraud activity suggests that one of these groups has been on a recruitment drive.  They like to run several different follow-on-frauds at the same time so that they spread the net wide.

Here is the email which is sent by the Longview Financial Services Scam.

From: Longview Financial Services
Sent:
To: 
Subject: LONGVIEW FINANCIAL INFORMATION ATTACHED

Dear

To finalise and conclude your account we require your TRLAN (Trade Reference License Agreement Number), which will have been provided to you by your former investment company when you purchased your unregulated investment. Please find time to look through your documentation and sales invoices that you will have received when you initially paid for your assets.

We require the 16-digit reference number which begins with the initials AD. At your earliest convenience please provide this to your agent immediately so we can request for NatWest Bank to authorise your account and release the outstanding funds across to you via cheque or bank transfer. The TRLAN allows the bank to release payment to you without the need of any 3rd parties having to receive any funds on your behalf. As your former investment company is unfortunately in receivership, they can no longer accept any funds on your behalf, therefore the responsibility will remain with the asset owner (account beneficiary).

If your TRLAN has expired or you can no longer locate the relevant documentation with the 16-digit reference we can apply for a temporary license just to enable you to receive your capital, the temporary license required will be £XXXXX GBP which will be fully reimbursed back to you on the same day as your investment proceeds.

We appreciate your full cooperation in finalising your account. We would like to add that once this process has been completed it will conclude your dealings with our company. You will be receiving the total amount of £XXXXXX GBP which includes all reimbursable payments after the TRLAN has been completed on request of the bank.

With immediate effect please contact your advisor so we can finalise your account accordingly on 0203 576 0503. 

Yours sincerely,

Justin Bailey

LONGVIEW FINANCIAL SERVICES
Registered address: 4 Cornhouse Buildings, Claydons Lane, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 7UP
Trading Address: 16 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QN

Email: info@longviewfsuk.com
Telephone: 0203-576-0503
Company Number:  09696180

The company’s domain name of longviewfsuk.com was registered on 26th July 2022 i.e 23 days ago at the date of writing this article.  They haven’t even bothered with a website.

Here are the documents they send out with all identifying marks removed to protect the identity of the investor who sent it to us.  The person who sent the information is another man who regularly contacts us.

Longview Financial Services Scam Guarantee_REDACTED

Longview Financial Services Scam Creditors Form_REDACTED

Longview Financial Services Scam Invoice_REDACTED

Longview Financial Services Scam NTRN1_Application_Form

The final form NTRN1 is an odd one.  We haven’t seen that before.  It’s out of place because it refers to an organisation called UEthical and appears to be a form to register for an investment.  That is the last thing a victim of a scam would want to complete and it has nothing to do with Longview Financial Services.  We have only briefly looked at UEthical.  Their website says they are an Australian investment firm which has been operating for decades, but the website domain was purchased three years ago and it was privately registered i.e the ownership details are not public.  On the plus side they paid upfront for eight years which is unusual.  Longviewfsuk.com was only purchased for one year and that’s much more typical of scammers.  The fact that Longview included a unnecessary form which is all about investing with UEthical suggests that they should rename themselves from Longview to UDumbos.

Longview Financial Services Scam.  Do not give them any money !  They will run off with it.

 

Scam Alert

FFCC-org.com Scam – High Street GRP

FFCC-org.com Scam – High Street GRP 300 233 SOS Team

FFCC-org.com Scam – High Street GRP.

Investors in the collapsed High Street Group (High Street GRP Ltd and associated companies) investment are being contacted by a scam company calling itself ‘Fraud and Financial Crime Consulting’ using the domain name of ffcc-org.com. This domain was only registered in March 2022 so it is clearly a scam.

However, this is not the usual run-of-the-mill follow-on-fraud. These guys have done their homework and they know a bit about the progress of The High Street GRP administration. It is very unusual for follow-on-fraudsters to know this level of detail. We have copied the email they have been sending to investors.

ATTENTION – ACTION  REQUIRED
Dear XXXXXX,
We have been appointed by parliament to investigate and prosecute The High Street Group and associated companies.

We have been made aware that all creditors are confused and unsure of the current situation surrounding their investments and have been receiving conflicting information from various sources, claiming to be administrators, liquidators and various services offering aid and guidance.

We suggest that you DO NOT communicate with any of these parties.

We now have sufficient proof and evidence that The High Street Group and its associated companies are part of an organised criminal network. We would like to make it clear that your investment into the High Street Group was never used in any form of construction, development or its intended purpose.

We are prosecuting and convicting Gary Forrest and The High Street Group with money laundering, embezzlement and the intent to defraud members of the public.

They have raised funds through unsecured creditors, offering unrealistic returns while they could have raised capital through secured lenders such as Banking institutions at a much lower interest rate which is a telling factor that this was a planned, organised and highly sophisticated deception to raise capital.

This is a highly sophisticated and coordinated scam that has taken advantage of the UK construction and financial sector, for their own financial benefit only.

As this was a planned and sophisticated scheme, the liquidation process has been instigated and controlled by the perpetrators. Your personal details have been shared which is a breach of data protection, with other companies masked as a face of help but indeed are part of the sophisticated way of damage limitation to their enterprise and exit strategy and we strongly advise not to communicate with [COMPANY NAME REDACTED] and “SKSI”, as they are personal friends and acquaintances of Gary Forrest.

We want to make it clear that we have been appointed by the UK Parliament and are government appointed to tackle organised crime and we are a free service and will never ask for any form of fee.

If you have been in contact with any other company, you must contact us immediately.

We have managed to freeze, seize and recuperate undisclosed assets of high value and are working with the Government Enforcement Agency as well as a Government Appointed Administrator to ensure your funds are returned and you are compensated fairly.

The more time passes, the more evidence is currently being buried. Gary Forrest and its connecting companies are advising creditors not to share information with us or the Police and are forcing delays with promises of updates but in doing so are delaying our investigation  which will cause delays on reimbursements. Any money not claimed will be lost and kept by Gary Forrest and his team.

Any individual who invested with The High Street Group, with the intendment to defraud, will receive additional compensation on top of reimbursement of original capital.

Please confirm by reply to this email for more information.

Kind Regards,

Mark Heffer
Director | Fraud and Financial Crime Consulting

Investigation Line: 0207 117 2979   

It’s quite convincing. They know about Gary Forrest, they know about the activities of the company and they know the names of two organisations involved in the administration. By the way, we have published our own article on SKSI which you can read on this LINK.  Suffice to say we are tempted to agree with these scammers on that point and we think they must have been reading our articles. The administration is extremely suspect. We have redacted the name of one organisation despite not being entirely convinced that this company is acting in the best interests of investors. It is charging them a percentage of what is recovered through the administrations, despite the likelihood being that now that High Street GRP and associated companies are in administration the investors (as creditors) would get that recovery anyway without the involvement of this company. We believe they have preyed on the investors’ ignorance. If an honest insolvency firm was running this administration there would be no need for a third party charging investors a percentage of their recovery.

However, that’s the only thing we do agree with in the entire email because the rest of it is just a scam. This will not end up being free to investors. They will ask for money because it is a scam. The fact that they know a fair bit about the operation suggests to us that these scammers were insiders, most likely the salespeople who sold the investment. They always know they are selling a scam and they are always quick to profit from selling investor lists as soon as a dodgy investment collapses.

The High Street GRP Ltd group is another large scam which should be (and may well be) subject to a Police investigation.

If you were taken in by their email and you made contact with these people you should not pay them any money no matter what story they tell you. Your money will be stolen.

FFCC-org.com Scam – High Street GRP.

 

Scam Alert

Blumarble Capital Follow-On-Fraud

Blumarble Capital Follow-On-Fraud 300 233 SOS Team

Blumarble Capital Follow-On-Fraud. It’s a scam.

We were recently sent these emails from an investor we shall call John.  John is someone we have known for a very long time. He is regularly pestered by follow-on-fraudsters claiming to have recovered his money and he knows to either ignore them or play along to see what information can be extracted.

Dear SOS

I was ‘cold called by a MARK COOPER from:—

Blumarble Capital Limited . — Company # 08289607 — address is First Floor, 39 High Street, Billericay, Essex, CM12 9BA.  [SOS Comment:  This is a genuine company but the caller would not be from them. He is a scammer. Scammers like to pretend to be from companies which have ‘capital’ or ‘finance’ in their names because it makes them sound more appealing to their intended victims].

Mark claims that they have been appointed by The Insolvency Service to manage the return of our funds from the compensation fund regarding Essex & London!

Great news eh? Particularly as they say all of our invested funds are there simply awaiting release. I told him if there are any ‘up front’ charges to release the funds I am not interested. He persisted…

I pointed out that many companies, particularly ones with the word ‘CAPITAL’ in their names, had previously contacted us, all requiring ‘up front’ payments’ to release our lost funds. We are not paying anything ‘up front’. He persisted…

I was polite but firm with him. Me…. “NO ‘UPFRONT’ PAYMENTS” so we might as well end the conversation now.” He said they would send details through to me, also gave me a direct line to The INSOLVENCY Service (*0330 133 4729) and a personal Reference to quote.

Yesterday I received their paperwork with their invoice for their 10% fee which would be “held securely in Escrow for fees pertaining to the acquisition & sale of your investment portfolio derived from Essex & London Properties amounting to the total funds invested.”

There are documents purporting to be from their director Mr STUART PETER WILSON. “The fee is refundable no later than five working days following the release of your funds by Escrow….”  They, Blumarble Capital Limited, claim their “primary function is the private facilitation of financial intermediation services”. There are all sorts of wonderful guarantees etc.

Obviously it all looks to me likely another Scam possibly following on from all the latest crew who seem to all have ‘CAPITAL’ in their titles. Seem to be very similar to the ones where you were able to prove that I had been sent 2 falsified copies of passports from their alleged officers.

This lot have also supplied me with a Headed Notepaper… The Insolvency Service— Investigations and Enforcements Service:—

HMRC

DMB 460

BX5 5AB

They again provided the direct line * Tel # 0330 133 4729 & have also have again given me the individual reference to quote if I wish to check things out.

Not the ‘proper’ Tel. # for The Insolvency Service which I have as 0300 678 0015 as per their (.gov) website.  The headed (The Insolvency Service) document purports to have appointed them to have the… “legal right to act on the case of Essex & London Properties Limited to assist the investors in helping them to recover any tradable assets available and/or monies owed upon transposition of their portfolio held under European Securities Markets Authority control.” …..and so on, you get the drift.

Are you interested in above?  I can copy all the ‘blurb’ to you if required.

[SOS Comment:  Our reply was an obvious ‘Yes’].  John then sent us another email (below).

I did call their ‘The Insolvency Service’ (“TIS”) number & spoke to a Gareth ???? who explained that the transaction had to be done by an ‘Unregulated Company’ as the claim was to an UNREGULATED COLLECTIVE INVESTMENT SCHEME (UCIS) dealing with unregulated funds held in Escrow where some dubious transactions had been taking place between the parties.

 Gareth further said that as I was one of the parties involved with a claim no ‘regulated’ company could be used for the UCIS transactions. Also my 10% fee was fully guaranteed including by the Director of Blumarble & the guarantees ensured that it would be returned within a few days of the transaction being successfully completed.

I mentioned that the information I had been given by you in the past which is that TIS would never be using any company that made ‘up front charges’ (Bear in mind that I was speaking to a person supposedly a Insolvency Service employee but knew it was not the true number for TIS.  He again said it had to be done by an ‘Unregulated Company’ as it was a UCIS.

I queried the HMRC reference because that is not TIS & Gareth sad TIS was a part of HMRC..

To my question as to how the company who had approached me (Blumarble) profited from their efforts:– Gareths answer was that after all was done succesfully Blumarble would then submit (I think it was) a C54 form to them (The Insolvency Service) at which point the Insolvency Service would pay them 5%.

He further said that this was a taxpayer benefit provided by the insolvency service to facilitate the unregulated service….Within a half hour Blumarble themselves called me back, I avoided the contact…

The documents provided to John were high quality and very believable. They could well fool a lot of people. The key things to remember are:

1. The Insolvency Service does not use third parties to handle their cases; and

2. The Insolvency Service will never charge a fee to release recovered money to a creditor; and

3. No matter how credible and professional the documents might be, always ask a knowledgeable friend, or a solicitor, or a financial professional, or your bank, for their opinion. If you can, contact the Insolvency Service but never use the number the scammer has given you. Look up the number for the Insolvency Service online. Ask them about the message you have received. They will confirm it is a scam. You can report scams on this LINK TO THE INSOLVENCY SERVICE ONLINE REPORTING PAGE. 

Blumarble Capital Follow-On-Fraud.

 

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