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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.

 

Alexander David Securities Ltd in Liquidation

Alexander David Securities Ltd in Liquidation 500 333 SOS Team

Alexander David Securities in Liquidation.

The disgraced financial services firm, Alexander David Securities Ltd – LINK to Companies House, has placed itself into voluntary liquidation.  The company has been accused of assisting scammers in carrying out several scams and of obstructing insolvency firms and the authorities in the subsequent investigations. In late April the FCA made this announcement – LINK.

On 1st July 2022 the only two remaining officers, Sandra Scott and David Alexander Hill Scott, resigned leaving the company with no directors. The company had failed to comply with a Court Order to hand over financial records involving Simon Whittley-Ryan’s Win River Developments scam. We covered that in our article on the Green Swan Holdings Bond Scam – LINK just three days before Alexander David Securities threw in the towel. This is what we had to say:

“What is clear from Simon Whittley-Ryan’s previous companies is that he likes to sell fixed-interest, fixed-term products such as bonds.  The investors’ money is always paid to third party organisations.  For example, in Win River Developments Ltd (a Whittley-Ryan company which is in liquidation) he used Alexander David Securities Ltd (“ADS”) which is a FCA-regulated company.  It was being run at the time by a man called Angus Fredrick Rose.

Payment to a third party allows company funds to be disbursed to other third parties and to bank accounts owned by a company director without those transfers showing up in the accounts of Win River Development Ltd.  This provides a way for a company director to unjustly enrich himself and others.

WRD was wound up by the High Court in January 2020.  The liquidator of the company is entitled to receive all the company records and full disclosure from company directors, officers and any third party which holds records relating to the company.  The WRD liquidator requested records from Simon Whittley-Ryan, Alexander David Securities Ltd and an unnamed individual who we believe to be Angus Fredrick Rose because he was the director of ADS at the time.  The liquidator has advised creditors that all three parties have failed to fully co-operate.

WRD has now been in liquidation for 2 ½ years and the liquidator still hasn’t received all the company records.  This is typical Simon Whittley-Ryan behaviour which he has replicated in his other liquidated companies.  Failure to disclose records is generally an indicator that there have been dishonest transactions that they do not want investigated.  Honest parties with honest business transactions would have no reason not to hand over company records to a liquidator”.

It remains to be seen which insolvency firm has been appointed by the former directors and whether the victims of ADS will now be able to find out what happened to their money. There is an insolvency practitioner that Simon Whittley-Ryan would be very keen to have appointed because this man has a history of being sympathetic to scammers. We’ll be watching closely to see whether ADS has chosen this man and whether he will attempt to block attempts to disclose information which would help investors.

Alexander David Securities in Liquidation.

 

Moorwand and UPayCard Update

Moorwand and UPayCard Update 350 329 SOS Team

Moorwand and UPayCard Update.

Last week we published an article on UPayCard describing how it acted as a money mule for at least one binary option scam – LINK to article.  UPayCard was operating under the licence of FCA-regulated company, Moorwand Ltd which, until only a few months before the money mule operation began, used to be called UPayCard Ltd.

The article described how Moorwand was very reluctant to provide information on the party or parties which ran UPayCard under its licence. Now we understand why. One binary option scam victim trying to recover his money pales into insignificance when compared to Moorwand’s other problems. We came across this Bloomberg Report from January of this year – LINK.

To quote: “A tiny lender in Denmark with which Moorwand had developed a close relationship flagged hundreds of suspicious transactions involving the payments firm….” 

“Moorwand, controlled by Moldova-based businessman Wael Sulaiman Almaree, hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing and is still authorized to move client funds. Neither Almaree nor Moorwand responded to repeated requests for comment”. Well, if Moorwand isn’t prepared to respond to the mighty Bloomberg that explains why it won’t answer the simple questions of one of their scam victims.  It also explains why they’re not bothered about him calling in the FCA. They haven’t done anything about the “hundreds of suspicious transactions” so one more won’t make any difference.

The article is scathing about the way in which the Financial Conduct Authority failed to check many of the Electronic Money Institutions, including Moorwand, when it granted them licences to operate:

“Now questions are swirling around dozens of EMIs regulators licensed as part of a move to boost London’s reputation as a fintech center and promote banking competition. Hundreds of regulatory, legal and corporate filings reviewed by Bloomberg sketch an unsettling picture of this new corner of the City. And they point to oversight weaknesses at the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Among the companies approved by the FCA, Bloomberg’s review found, are ones with executives or shareholders tied to Baltic money-laundering scandals, alleged financial wrongdoing in Russia and Kyrgyzstan, health-care fraud in the U.S. and suspected wrongdoing in Luxembourg and Australia. Dozens of firms are controlled by investors in jurisdictions far beyond the U.K., including the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates. Some openly boast of doing business with high-risk customers”.

“Transparency International U.K., the British arm of the global anti-corruption group, sounded an alarm in a report last month saying more than one-third of EMIs licensed by the FCA have red flags related to their activities, owners or directors”.

A website operating under the name FinTelegram claims to have reported on the activities of the Moorwand directors two years ago:

FinTelegram reported on this network of companies around Robert Courtneidge and Guy El Khoury in February 2020, nearly two years ago. FinTelegram has noted many times that there is a massive money laundering problem around FCA-regulated financial institutions. Many of them make their money by supporting cybercrime activities, scammers, and high-risk businesses”.

“The report also confirms connections between Courtneidge and the disappeared crypto queen RUJA IGNATOVA, who ran the gigantic $4-billion crypto scam ONECOIN”.

This has added relevance because last week Ruja Ignatova was put on the FBI’s list of top ten most wanted criminals – here is a report on that by the BBC – LINK. 

Moorwand and UPayCard Update.

 

Scam Alert

FF Returns Scam Alert

FF Returns Scam Alert 300 233 SOS Team

FF Returns Scam Alert.

A group of scammers operating under the name of FF RETURNS is contacting the victims of collapsed investment schemes promising to be able to recover all of their money in return for a fee.  There is a genuine company called FF Returns Ltd which has been in existence since 2005, but these people are not part of that company.  They are just using that company’s name.  At the moment they are contacting victims of the High Street Group scam, but it can be expected that they will branch out to contact victims of other scams.

As is standard practice in these kinds of follow-on-frauds, the scammers are using money mules to collect the fees from anyone who is taken in by them.  A money mule is normally a limited company with a bank account, but it can sometimes be a bank account in an individual’s name.  The scammers have taken control of that bank account so that as soon as any money is paid in it can be immediately transferred out, generally to an offshore account which means neither the bank nor the Police are going to be interested in trying to recover the money.

In the case of this FF Returns scam, one of the money mule accounts they are asking their intended victims to pay into is an account in the name of J.S. DEVELOPMENT SERVICES LTD.  The bank account details are:

Account Name:  J.S. Development Services     Account Number: 20425629     Sort Code: 82-61-37  This is an account at Clydesdale Bank.

A check on this company at Companies House – LINK  shows that it was incorporated on 13th April 2022.  It is less than three months old.  It’s registered office is 86-90 Paul Street, London, England, United Kingdom, EC2A 4NE which is a virtual office.  This means that there are tens of thousands of companies using that office address and if you were to visit the premises you will be told that they have never heard of J.S. Development Services Ltd.  The company has one one director, a 26 year-old man called JOVAN SINGH SAHOTA.

Acting as a company director and allowing others to control the company’s bank account for fraudulent purposes is a criminal offence which carries a prison sentence upon conviction of up to 14 years.  It’s a crime which is not punished enough because without money mules these scams could never get off the ground. Mr Sahota might view his involvement as harmless, but he is assisting in the theft of thousands of pounds from members of the public. If someone broke into a house and stole thousands of pounds they would expect to go to prison if caught.  This is no different.  Mr Sahota might only have received a small payment for allowing his company to be involved in money-laundering, but that’s no excuse.

Follow-on-frauds are rarely operated by one-man bands.  They are normally run by organised crime gangs and operated on a very large scale using lots of different money mules. Money mules can take in a lot of money in a very short period of time.  We are working one case where a money mule company took in £1.3m in less than 9 months.

Money mules are a key element in a lot of scams and the problem will only be brought under control when there is a concerted effort to prosecute offenders. In the meantime, if you are contacted by FF Returns you should report the matter to your local law enforcement organisation.  In the UK that would be Action Fraud – LINK.

FF Returns Scam Alert.

 

UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd

UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd 350 329 SOS Team

UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd.

We have been working for some time with an investor who lost a lot of money in a binary option scam and have been tracking down the money mules which took in money for the scammers and enabled the scam to operate.  We have been having some success against some of the money mules and recently turned our attention to another one which went under the name of UPayCard.

The investor paid his money to UpayCard in March 2017.  A UK company called UPayCard Ltd had been operating under that name until November 2016 at which point it changed its name to Moorwand Ltd.  Here is a LINK to the Moorwand website.  The company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and provides banking and card services amongst others.

UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd.

In April 2021 the investor wrote to Moorwand requesting information on the UPayCard transactions.  In May 2021 he received a reply which included these statements:

“With regard to UPayCard this entity was a Programme Manager that operated under Moorwand’s licence that was acquired by a Cypriot firm Pap OnPoint in April 2019. We understand that UPayCard is no longer trading.  As much as we wish to, we are unfortunately unable to assist you further in this matter due to the fact that we  merely provided payment services with regard to the 2 payments you refer to”.

We admit to being confused by this reply.  A few months before the investor paid his money, Moorwand Ltd was called UPayCard Ltd and now it seems to be saying that somebody else took over the UPayCard business under their FCA-regulated umbrella.  They refer to the person or company which allegedly took over the UPayCard business as “this entity” but they don’t give the name of who took it over.  We found it odd that Moorwand was willing to inform the investor that in 2019 the unknown entity transferred UPayCard to Pap OnPoint i.e to give the name of the party which acquired UPayCard in 2019, but not to give the name of the entity which operated UPayCard under Moorwand’s licence up to that point i.e between 2017 and 2019.  That seemed a bit fishy to us.  The binary option scam for which UPayCard was a money mule involves quite a few Cypriot companies.  Cyprus was one of the scammers’ favoured jurisdictions for laundering money.

UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd.

We have to say that Moorwand’s Anti-Money Laundering page is one of the best we have ever seen.  It is worth a look.  Here is a section from it:

Who Can be Liable for Money Laundering Charges?

Money laundering is a complex crime that requires more than one person for it to be successful. Consequently, if a money laundering charge is brought against a suspected criminal the following people can also be liable to be charged in conjunction:  

— Financial institutions

— Credit Institutions

— Accountants

— Tax Advisers

— Legal firms

— Casinos

— Auctioneers

It’s important to note that in many cases ignorance will not be an adequate defense, therefore it’s vital that any of the above people are up to date with money laundering tactics so as to not fall foul of the law.

Words which are very relevant to this investor’s case.

Moving forward to last month and there has been significant progress in finding the scammers and the money mules involved in this binary option scam.  We will write a separate article on that when it is appropriate to do so.  The investor, with our assistance, tried again to find out who was behind the UPayCard money mule operation at the time he paid it.  He appears to have been stonewalled by Moorwand.  He wrote:

“I am advised to pose two very simple related questions to you, requiring a “yes” or a “no”. Regarding my two payments, recorded as both being paid to Upaycard…… to account number 19244710 sort code 83-04-25 …… are those details of the account correct in being an account of Moorwand or not ?  To explain, I know that Upaycard Ltd changed its name to Moorwand Ltd on 11th November 2016, but did you keep the same bank account as held under the previous name or not?”

This was the investor’s first request for Moorwand to answer two questions with a simple YES or NO.

The Moorwand 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; and

UPayCard was a business separate from Moorwand Ltd. UPayCard, at the time, had access to its own bank accounts.  I trust that the above assists. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further questions.”

Now, to a lot of people this would seem to have answered the questions the investor asked, but in fact they don’t.  They gave a “Politician’s Answer” i.e when asked to give a simple YES or NO they avoided it by providing information that the investor did not ask for.  The first part of the answer (about whether the account belonged to Moorwand) was not answered with a YES or NO.  It was answered with UPayCard this and UPayCard that, but not a YES or NO.  The second part states that UPayCard was a business separate from Moorwand and that UPayCard had access to its own bank accounts.  That’s fine, but they haven’t said who actually owned or controlled UPayCard.  It was being operated under their licence, but by who ? For all we know it could have been the people behind Moorwand.  Also, to say that UPayCard had access to its own bank accounts is a clever way of avoiding the question.  We’re not interested if UPayCard had 1, 10 or 100 bank accounts of its own.  We’re only interested in the one which received the investor’s money.  A simple YES or NO would have answered that question.

So, to give Moorwand the benefit of the doubt and allow it a second chance to answer the questions with a YES or NO, the investor tried again.  He wrote:

“I have noticed that there are at least two unknown facts which are far from clear in your response.  First of all, can you please be specific saying yes or no, was account number 19244710 sort code 83-04-25 one of your company’s bank accounts?

Secondly, I note that UPayCard is a trading name, not a company name. You say that the company was issued a licence. Please can you advise me of the name of the company which entered into the licensing agreement with you”.

He received another reply.

“In answer to your questions:

  1. This question was answered in our earlier email.
  2. UPayCard was never licensed. This was never stated in the email communication between us”.

So that’s a second time when he asked for a simple YES or NO to the question of the bank account and he didn’t get it.  Also, it has been clarified that UPayCard was never licensed, but according to an earlier email above, it “operated under Moorwand’s licence”.  That’s useful because Moorwand would have a responsibility to ensure that this mysterious new entity, the ownership of which they are very reluctant to reveal, was compliant with FCA regulations.  For a second time Moorwand declined to give details of “the entity” which was operating under their licence.  They just ignored that aspect of the question.  We’re beginning to suspect that “the entity” which operated UPayCard under Moorwand’s licence was not an arms’ length independent entity and that it may have been associated with Moorwand and its directors in some way.

So the investor tried a third time. He wrote:

Thank you for your email, but you have not answered my questions. A YES or NO will be sufficient for the first question:  

Can you please be specific saying yes or no, was account number 19244710 sort code 83-04-25 one of your company’s bank accounts?

Can you clarify your response to question 2.

I note that UPayCard is a trading name, not a company name. You say that the company was issued a licence.  Please can you advise me of the name of the company which entered into the licensing agreement with you. Moorwand gave permission for some entity (you haven’t said who or what that entity was because “UPayCard” is just a trading name) to provide regulated services under the UPayCard name. As UPayCard was carrying out a regulated activity this makes you responsible for their conduct.

I note that you have not registered any entity as being an Appointed Representative of your company. Please can you tell me which entity was given the permission or I will be obliged to make a complaint against Moorwand, report this matter to the FCA and seek compensation from Moorwand through the FOS.”

He received another reply:

“The answers we have provided are perfectly clear. We will not be drawn into these matters further, which in our view are irrelevant as to the nature of your grievance. This will be our final response. Of course you are welcome to complain about Moorwand to the FOS (and/or report this matter to the FCA). This was mentioned in our correspondence to you back in May 2021. 

Please ensure that you include a copy of all our correspondence to the regulator should you choose to make a complaint.”

That’s the third time the investor asked for a simple YES or NO.  If the answer is NO then why not just say it and then the matter is done?  The more they avoid using YES or NO the more suspicious it looks.  Also, they have yet again declined to provide any information on “the entity” which was operating UPayCard under their license.  Instead they have invited the investor to report the matter to the FOS and/or the FCA, presumably because they think he won’t bother – but he will.  Dealing with the FOS and the FCA is going to be much more time-consuming and cause more damage to their reputation than simply writing YES or NO and giving details of the entity which was operating UPayCard.  We think Moorwand is hiding something.

UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd.

What is clear is that UPayCard was a money mule which was laundering money for scam operations.  We are certain that many more ordinary investors will have paid money to UPayCard and we would like to hear from anyone who paid money to UPayCard from 2017 onwards and feels that they were a victim of a scam.

This article was sent to Moorwand for their comments prior to publication. We did not receive a response.

UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd. 

We received some additional information just as this article was being published.  We will review and publish a follow-up article next week.

 

Green Swan Holding Ltd Bond – Simon Whittley-Ryan

Green Swan Holding Ltd Bond – Simon Whittley-Ryan 300 200 SOS Team

Green Swan Holding Ltd Bond – Simon Whittley-Ryan.

In Dec 2021 we were contacted by a man who said he had information on Simon Whittley-Ryan, his attempts to hide money from creditors of his companies, and his latest attempt to deceive large investors into paying for a new bond.

The informant, who we will call “the Source”, explained that Simon Whittley-Ryan was using a front man called Andre Johan Schut to hold all the shares in the UK companies, Green Swan Holding Ltd (LINK to Companies House) and Green Swan Investments Ltd (LINK to Companies House), but the ultimate owner and controller of the companies was Simon Whittley-Ryan.

The Source claimed to have a file on the activities of Simon Whittley-Ryan and Andre Schut.  It was important that Simon Whittley-Ryan remained under the radar due to his succession of business failures and the investigations being undertaken by insolvency firms.  The Source said that Andre Schut was a business associate of his who owed him a lot of money.  He had been waiting a long time for repayment which was due to come from the sale of the bond issued by Green Swan Holding Ltd.  The Source told us that he had lost patience and had decided it was time to expose the scheme because it was dishonest.  We never reveal the identity of anyone who provides us with information and we try to put scammers off the scent, but this is an unusual case because the Source chose to tell Whittley-Ryan and Andre Schut that he had been in contact with us and that he had provided us with information and documents relating to the bond. We will still not reveal his name in this article.

Here are a few of his emails to us:

“I think that my file is very interesting also due to the fact that I am aware of funds located in Swiss circumventing the UK creditors. I have also documents from banks etc. Bear in mind in the UK is Sir XXXXX [name redacted] also involved with 5M he is starting to lose without knowing.  I would appreciate to have a phone call with you or your team first so that we discuss and make arrangements of delivering the files”.

SOS clarification – he is talking about Sir XXXXX who paid $5m to progress the bond and the Source is claiming that Simon Whittley-Ryan has control of a Swiss bank account which he claims contains money that should be paid to one or more of the liquidators of Simon Whittley-Ryan’s companies.

“I want to have a good understanding how you work because I don’t want people being protected. Can you assure me that people who are so called “unpleasant involved” like banks etc are not mentioned by name on the internet as well as my name? In addition I want to claim against his window director who owns me millions”.

SOS clarification – when he talks about “window director” he is referring to Andre Schut acting as the front man in the company for Simon Whittley-Ryan.

“The reputable people don’t see and know it is SWR behind it. That’s why I warned André Schut that knowing and making side letters with SWR and attracting Sir XXXXX [name redacted] as investor for the binders fee in my opinion he is not straight.  But [law firm] and [settlement bank] knows SWR is involved, that is also remarkable don’t you think”?  “What I have is the Cusip so you check yourself and I’m willing to evidence SWR’ role and his window dressing as well his Swiss company”. [Our bold].

Simon Whittley-Ryan has a long history of failed companies and bond defaults.  Four of his fixed-interest / fixed return companies are in liquidation having been closed down by investors who have lost a lot of money.  All of these companies raised money from investors, paid the interest / dividends for a short period and then defaulted.  Investors in a fifth fixed-interest company owned by Simon Whittley-Ryan have been waiting years for overdue interest payments and the return of their capital.

The Source advised us that Andre Johan Schut also has a poor history relating to investments.  He said that Mr Schut had lost a lot of the Source’s money in unauthorised deals which breached the terms of their investment agreement.

Green Swan Holding Ltd Bond – Simon Whittley-Ryan.

Green Swan Holding Ltd has issued a $250m bond through a settlement bank in the USA.  We will respect the Source’s request that we do not name the bank.  It is normal practice for a settlement bank working with a UK company to register a charge at Companies House to protect its interests.

The company directors are shown below.  The official Green Swan company line is that Simon Whittley-Ryan is employed as “a consultant” to the company.  Anyone who may be under investigation or who has a toxic past which would raise alarm bells will often seek to hide their ownership of a project by being described as a consultant.  This enables them to get paid.  We’re not sure what skills Mr Whittley-Ryan has which would be deem him worthy of being appointed as a consultant to any company.

The directors of Green Swan Holding Ltd are (at the date of publication):

ANDRE JOHAN SCHUT  –  Date Of Birth – May 1965;

CHARLES GRIFFITHS  –  Date Of Birth  –  May 1949;

PHILIP ROBINSON  –  Date Of Birth  –  October 1960; and

GRAHAM DAVID KERSLAKE  –  Date Of Birth  –  October 1960.

The same people are directors of Green Swan Investments Ltd.  The activity of Green Swan Investments Ltd is described as “Other Credit Granting Not Elsewhere Classified”.  The company is not FCA-regulated.

Graham David Kerslake’s relationship with Simon Whittley-Ryan goes back a long way.  We’re not sure why Charles Griffiths and Philip Robinson agreed to be directors, but they and Graham Kerslake need to be careful that they aren’t putting themselves and their assets at risk.  If this bond fails and the insurer refuses to pay out we doubt that the bond buyer(s) would simply accept the loss of $250m.  The directors can expect to be asked some difficult questions about whether there was full and honest disclosure from the start and about their roles in the companies.  The existence of an insurance policy is no guarantee of protection for a bondholder where Simon Whittley-Ryan is involved.  We cover Simon Whittley-Ryan’s use of insurance companies as a means of providing false reassurance to investors below.

SIMON WHITTLEY-RYAN’S LIQUIDATED COMPANIES

Win River Developments Ltd (in liquidation)

What is clear from Simon Whittley-Ryan’s previous companies is that he likes to sell fixed-interest, fixed-term products such as bonds.  The investors’ money is always paid to third party organisations.  For example, in Win River Developments Ltd (a Whittley-Ryan company which is in liquidation) he used Alexander David Securities Ltd (“ADS”) which is a FCA-regulated company.  It was being run at the time by a man called Angus Fredrick Rose.

Payment to a third party allows company funds to be disbursed to other third parties and to bank accounts owned by a company director without those transfers showing up in the accounts of Win River Development Ltd.  This provides a way for a company director to unjustly enrich himself and others.

WRD was wound up by the High Court in January 2020.  The liquidator of the company is entitled to receive all the company records and full disclosure from company directors, officers and any third party which holds records relating to the company.  The WRD liquidator requested records from Simon Whittley-Ryan, Alexander David Securities Ltd and an unnamed individual who we believe to be Angus Fredrick Rose because he was the director of ADS at the time.  The liquidator has advised creditors that all three parties have failed to fully co-operate.

WRD has now been in liquidation for 2 ½ years and the liquidator still hasn’t received all the company records.  This is typical Simon Whittley-Ryan behaviour which he has replicated in his other liquidated companies.  Failure to disclose records is generally an indicator that there have been dishonest transactions that they do not want investigated.  Honest parties with honest business transactions would have no reason not to hand over company records to a liquidator.

We have been advised by a creditor of the company that the liquidator of WRD updated all creditors in late May.  The information shared by the liquidator was:

  1. That the company director (Simon Whittley-Ryan) and Alexander David Securities Ltd and an unnamed individual (which we believe to be Angus Fredrick Rose) refused to co-operate and have not provided all the information requested of them.
  2. As a result, the liquidator served legal paperwork on all three in early 2022 advising them of legal action to obtain a Court Order compelling them to provide the information. The most important documents relate to failure to provide bank statements so that investor monies can be traced.  Failure to comply with a Court Order is regarded as Contempt Of Court and is a criminal offence.
  3. The hearing for the court application is this week on 29th June 2022. The first hearing in April was adjourned at the request of one of the defendants.
  4. Creditors have been approached by Simon Whittley-Ryan to support his plan to remove the existing liquidator and appoint a liquidator chosen by Mr Whittley-Ryan. This is being seen as an attempt to frustrate the legal process and install a liquidator who would be sympathetic towards Simon Whittley-Ryan.  He failed to gain support for this proposal.
  5. Simon Whittley-Ryan has made multiple promises to repay creditors ever since the company was put into liquidation 2 ½ years ago.

Regarding point 5, this is a standard tactic used by Simon Whittley-Ryan in order to delay creditors from taking action against him.  Investors in another of his companies, Highgrove Osprey PLC, received the same promises for 6 years until one of them realised he was never going to pay them and wound up the company.  Investors need to be aware of the Limitations Act in respect of starting legal actions against a wrongdoer.  This LINK to Wikipedia gives a good overview.  As a general guide, victims have 6 years from the date of the investment to start a legal action.  There are some circumstances where this time limit can be extended, but victims need to be wary of false promises of repayment which go on for a long time.

This is not the only problem facing Alexander David Securities Ltd.  In late April 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority issued a statement about Alexander David Securities Ltd and the action the FCA had taken in relation to another element of its business.  It’s no wonder that ADS is trying to hide its transactions with Simon Whittley-Ryan because that might well provide the FCA with another reason to look at them.  Here is a LINK to the FCA announcement.

A liquidator has the power to demand the repayment of any money which it feels belongs to the company and has been unjustly paid out to directors and third parties.  We believe the WRD records are likely to show unjust payments to Simon Whittley-Ryan and/or his other companies and/or his accomplices, hence the reason why the three parties have been reluctant to hand over their records to the liquidator.

Highgrove Osprey PLC

This company was wound up in September 2019.  Since that time Simon Whittley-Ryan has also failed to co-operate with the liquidator and has not paid back funds he “loaned” from the company to himself.  According to page 6 of the liquidator’s report from November 2021 (copied below) Simon Whittley-Ryan owes at least £100,377 to the company.  The liquidator states “My investigations into the other assets listed above…..have been hampered by a lack of cooperation from Simon Whittley-Ryan”.  That statement was issued more than 3 years after the company was wound up which shows how Simon Whittley-Ryan always seeks to prevent any investigation into his failed companies.  Here is a LINK to Companies House which contains the full report.

Here is a LINK to Page 6 which doesn’t paint Simon Whittley-Ryan in a very good light at all. Page 6 of the Liquidator Report

Hawksbill Property Consultants Ltd (in liquidation)

This company was wound up in February 2020 by HM Revenue & Customs.  The matter is being handled by the Official Receiver in London and to date the Official Receiver has not filed any reports.

St Helier Capital Management Ltd (in liquidation)

This company was wound up by a creditor in December 2020.  Page 9 of the liquidator’s report filed at Companies House in May 2022 states that limited books and records have been delivered up and therefore our investigations remain very much underway but have been restricted due to the limited information held”.  Yet again Simon Whittley-Ryan is frustrating investigations into another of his failed companies.

During the winding up process Simon Whittley-Ryan lied to the court about having paid some investors when their capital was due to be returned. We knew those investors and were able to contact them to ask if they had been repaid. They all said that they had not received any money. We know Simon Whittley-Ryan is an accomplished liar and knows how to frustrate legal processes, but we did not think he would submit a written Witness Statement to court in which he blatantly lied.  We have written about the St Helier Capital Management petition in a series of articles. You can read one of them here via this LINK. 

SUMMARY OF LIQUIDATED COMPANIES

There is a consistent theme which runs through Simon Whittley-Ryan’s liquidated companies and it is that he and his associates seek to frustrate insolvency practitioners whenever they try to trace company money and assets.  Normally when a company director fails to co-operate with the liquidator the Insolvency Service will commence proceedings to have that person disqualified from acting as a director.  The proceedings are not made public until they have concluded so we do not know if Simon Whittley-Ryan is currently subject to any director disqualification proceedings, but it would be surprising if he was not.

OTHER SIMON WHITTLEY-RYAN SCAM COMPANIES WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN LIQUIDATED

There are several but we will only report on two because they are important.  The first is CAMBRIDGE MEDICAL SCREENING LTD – LINK to Companies House which was an outright scam from the very start.  It was Simon Whittley-Ryan’s attempt to defraud investors by claiming to operate a specialist coronavirus research company at the height of the pandemic.  We wrote a full report on this in September 2020 which can be viewed on this LINK to our article.  We have an update on that article.  We were recently contacted by Professor G.K. Mahadev who Simon Whittley-Ryan claimed headed up the research and testing division of the company.  Professor Mahadev has advised that this was never the case and that he was not involved with the company.  We accept his version as true because Simon Whittley-Ryan has made many false claims across all his companies in his ongoing attempts to defraud investors.  We hope Professor Mahadev takes action against Simon Whittley-Ryan.  Cambridge Medical Screening Ltd was dissolved in December 2021.

The second company is NATURAL CAPITAL ENERGY LTD.  This Whittley-Ryan company was trying to launch a $200m Green Bond which was very similar to the Green Swan Holding Bond in terms of the claimed project portfolio.  It was not well received and failed to attract investment.  Graham Kerslake’s project LORDS MEADOW ENERGY was one of those in the Natural Capital Energy Ltd portfolio and it is also in the Green Swan Holding Ltd Bond portfolio.

The Natural Capital Energy Bond Term Sheet is copied below.  This bond was allegedly going to be managed by Petra Asset Management Ltd, a FCA-regulated company which has this website – LINK.

We contacted them in November 2020 to ask about their role in this investment product.  They did not respond.  We used their contact email address of info@petraassetmanagement.co.uk and we followed up a few weeks later.  Still no response.  We were intrigued by the claim that the bond was asset-backed using “precious gemstones” held in a vault in California.  We have no doubt this gemstone security would have provided the same level of protection as the insurances arranged by Simon Whittley-Ryan in some of his other companies (see below) i.e it would have been worthless and afforded no protection whatsoever.

Natural Capital Term Sheet – LINK to PDF file

HOW DOES SIMON WHITTLEY-RYAN EXTRACT THE MONEY FROM HIS INVESTMENT COMPANIES ?

His normal tactic is for each of his investment companies to invest the money in other companies owned by him.  This enables him to empty the investment company of its money and, when the investment company goes into liquidation, which is the normal outcome, it prevents investors from being able to find out exactly how their money was spent.  The transfer of money from his investment companies to other companies he controls acts as a barrier to creditors, preventing them from following the money trail.  The consistent outcome is that all the companies end up with nothing – no cash and no assets.  This has been our concern about the Green Swan Holding Bond ever since the Source told us that Simon Whittley-Ryan controlled the Green Swan companies.  If he follows his usual pattern we’re concerned he will install front men in each of the project companies which will allow him to siphon off the bond money.

INSURANCES ARRANGED BY SIMON WHITTLEY-RYAN

We know of at least two companies owned by Simon Whittley-Ryan which sought to reassure investors that their investment funds were secure because he claimed the companies had strong and cast-iron insurance policies in place to protect the investors’ money in the event of a default.  Those two companies were Win River Developments Ltd (in liquidation) mentioned above, and Win River Ltd which is not in liquidation, but which defaulted on bond interest and capital repayments to investors a long time ago.  Win River Ltd has not filed accounts for three years and has been prevented from being dissolved by Companies House.  Investors who have sought to make claims under the insurance policies in both companies have been advised that the insurance is invalid and will not pay out.  At a recent meeting between investors in Win River Ltd and the insurer the following summary was given:

The Insurance Company has confirmed to our lawyers that it has avoided (or rescinded) the Win River Ltd policy on the basis that the company made deliberate and/or reckless material non-disclosures and/or misrepresentations to the Insurance Company when the WRL policy was negotiated and agreed.  These related to Mr Simon Whittley-Ryan’s background and involvement in previous investment schemes.

So the insurance policies have proven to be worthless. A report has been submitted to the Financial Conduct Authority requesting that they look into the circumstances of this case.

THE GREEN SWAN HOLDING LTD BOND WEBSITE

This is a simple paragraph because there isn’t a website, but there was until recently.  It was to be found on the domain of www.greenswaninvestments.com .  We contacted Green Swan via the Contact Page on the website to ask about the role of Simon Whittley-Ryan.  Remember, according to them Mr Whittley-Ryan was only “a consultant”.  He has been telling all the creditors of his companies that he is going to “refinance” the liquidated companies and pay everyone back.  His promises would have required him to pay back millions of pounds so we wanted to know how money paid into Green Swan Holding Ltd would find its way to him.

A few hours after hitting the “SEND” button on the Contact Page, the Green Swan website disappeared and has not been seen since.  Obviously they didn’t like being asked questions about the role of Simon Whittley-Ryan, but it suggests to us that he controlled the website. It’s not a problem that the website has gone because we had already printed off every page. Website About Green Swan – LINK.   It provides an interesting glimpse of the backgrounds of three of the company directors of the Green Swan companies.  It doesn’t mention Andre Schut’s financial issues with the Source.

Here is the ‘PARTNERS’ PAGE Website Partners Green Swan – LINK  Maybe they are, or were, partners of Green Swan Holding Ltd and/or Green Swan Investments Ltd, or maybe it was a complete fabrication.

GREEN SWAN HOLDING LTD BOND  –  SIMON WHITTLEY-RYAN AND THE GREEN SWAN BOND INSURANCE

Obviously, there is a difference between insurance which should cover a few million pounds and insurance which covers $250m.  You would certainly think so, but the Green Swan bond insurance saga has had a tortuous path.  That’s another story, but suffice to say they’ve found it very difficult to find an insurer.  The principle of insurance is always the same.  The insured party must provide full disclosure and transparency otherwise the insurer will have a potential cause to invalidate the policy in the future.  The reality is that insurance companies have no problem dealing with people like Simon Whittley-Ryan.  The insurance company will receive a large insurance payment at the start and, assuming that there hasn’t been full disclosure, there’s a very strong possibility that they can avoid ever having to pay out in the event of a default.  The only people affected by this are the bond buyers who are relying on the insurance to protect their investments.  They are the losers.  The insurance company and the people who make “deliberate and/or reckless material non-disclosures and/or misrepresentations…….” as Simon Whittley-Ryan has done on at least two separate occasions, are the winners because they’ve got the investment money they were after.

Looking back through the numerous emails sent out by Whittley-Ryan we can see that he was having trouble finding someone to pay “the binders fee” for the insurance.  That fee was $5m and it acts as the first insurance payment.  It is really a sign of commitment to encourage the insurance company to spend time working on the policy.  We won’t go into the insurance companies which declined to insure the bond, but when the Source contacted us he told us that the binder fee had been paid.  That ties up with emails sent by Whittley-Ryan.  The Source advised us that the funder was a well-known, recently knighted man with connections at the very highest level of UK Government.  He expressed surprise that someone so highly connected had been persuaded to support this bond.  We will not name the man because we cannot prove that he was, or is, involved.  That is something we will leave to more experienced financial journalists.  That insurance company withdrew and we do not know if the binders fee was refunded or rolled over to another insurance company.  The Source advised us that the binders fee funder had stayed involved and was trying to find another insurance company, but we have no evidence supporting his statement.

It was at this time that the Source started to back-track on his original position.  He began to claim that both Andre Schut and Simon Whittley-Ryan were going to receive commission payments only from the sale of the bond. We suspected that a deal had been done to repay some of Andre Schut’s debt to the Source.  In April this year Andre Schut transferred his 100% ownership of the shares to a Swiss firm, Delta Mountain AG (90%) and Graham Kerslake (10%).  It was widely known that Graham Kerslake had been touting his LORDS MEADOW ENERGY project around looking for anybody who would finance it because the planning permission deadline was fast approaching. We assume the 10% shareholding was to persuade him not to give up on Green Swan.

THE SETTLEMENT BANK AND SIMON WHITTLEY-RYAN

In February 2022 we wrote to Andre Schut.  We received a short reply which didn’t answer any of our questions.  We were surprised that he made no effort to refute the points we made against Green Swan Holding Ltd.  The email and response is copied below:

SOS EMAIL

Dear Mr Schut,

You will be aware that we were contacted in December regarding the Green Swan Holding Ltd bond.

We are writing to you to get answers to some important questions. Our clients would like all parties involved in the Green Swan bond e.g banks, brokers, the SEC, FCA etc to be informed of their concerns. Your answers to our questions might allay those concerns and encourage our clients to reconsider. 

We have clients who have lost money in Simon Whittley-Ryan’s (“SWR”) series of fixed term investments. Five companies in total. They are:

  1. Highgrove Osprey PLC;
  2. Hawksbill Property Consultants Ltd;
  3. St Helier Capital Management Ltd;
  4. Win River Developments Ltd;
  5. Win River Ltd.

Companies 1-4 were forced into liquidation by creditors after the companies defaulted on their contractual liabilities. These defaults go back to 2014 in some cases. Company 5 also defaulted on the fixed payments and on the capital repayments some years ago. SWR has obstructed the insolvency practitioners in the liquidated companies by failing to co-operate. Company assets have gone missing. SWR and his friendly escrow company and the escrow company director are respondents in court proceedings in April filed by one of the insolvency firms. You can easily check out these companies for yourself by contacting the insolvency practitioners and reading their reports filed at Companies House. 

SWR’s preferred strategy over the years has been to incorporate new companies and sell new fixed-term investments, rather than to raise additional funding for his existing companies which have defaulted on payments. In each new company he pays himself commission from funds raised, which would not be acceptable practice for a company director and would show up in the companies’ accounts. Hence the reason he uses new companies because he can have the investment funds paid to a friendly escrow company which then makes disbursements to him. It is believed by some creditors that he was running a Ponzi Scheme, using money raised by new companies to sustain fixed interest payments to investors in his other companies until this scam strategy was exposed. The belief is that this is why he obstructs investigations into each of the companies’ affairs. 

We were initially told that you were acting as a front man for SWR in Green Swan, but that was later retracted. Our clients and us believe that you are acting as a front man and are holding shares on behalf of SWR which you have not declared. Can you confirm whether you are holding shares in Green Swan Holding Ltd for SWR or any other party, and if so, in what percentages ?

SWR’s normal MO is to ensure that he holds more than 51% of shares in the top company and shares in each SPV which subsequently receives funds from the top company. That is how he ensures he always profits from the top company’s money. He also takes commission which is sometimes direct from the top company (as with Green Swan) and sometimes via an escrow collection agent so that the top company’s accounts only show the net amount it received and his commission remains hidden.  

Can you also answer the following:

  1. In January we used the Contact Form on the Green Swan Investments website to contact the company. We asked whether there had been full transparency on the bond ownership and in the Information Memorandum. The next day the website was taken down. We have copies of each page and can provide them if necessary. According to filings at Companies House you own 100% of both Green Swan companies so was it you that removed the website and if so, for what reason ? Our question on whether there has been full transparency still remains unanswered 
  2. Have you declared the true beneficial owner(s) of the company to the parties involved and in the promotional material ? Have you entered into any side agreements which have not been declared to the parties involved with the bond ? 
  3. You claim that SWR is a consultant to your company. Why does he use different versions of his name on different email addresses e.g Simon Ryan and Simon Whittley ? For Green Swan Investments (your company) he uses the name ‘Simon Ryan’, but you know that is not his real name. He has never been called Simon Ryan. His birth name is Simon Whittley and he married a ‘Ryan’, thus changing his name to Simon Whittley-Ryan.
  4. Do you own the projects that you claim to own ? You will note from the attached document that Natural Capital Energy Ltd claimed they owned the projects, but a former director has advised us that was never the case. He claims this document was produced by SWR, and the Natural Capital Energy directors chose not to support it and resigned. We were also told that the UK authorities have an ongoing investigation into the company, but we were not told why. 
  5. Have you described SWR as a consultant so that he can draw commission because he would appear, on paper, to be independent of Green Swan ? We have been advised by a former director of Natural Capital Energy that investment into that company was unachievable because SWR insisted that £8m of funds raised should be paid to him in commissions, despite him being the 100% shareholder of the company. No potential investor was prepared to agree to that. Was the subsequent Green Swan product refined to ensure that SWR doesn’t appear as a director or shareholder ? 
  6. In the past, SWR has arranged insurance policies to allegedly protect investors’ capital. When the investment has collapsed the insurer has declined to pay out citing undeclared material facts about which it should have been informed when the insurance application was made. Are you satisfied that you are declaring all material facts to insurers and that there would be no risk of any insurer declining to pay out in the event of a claim ? Do you feel that you should advise the parties involved in the bond about the trading history of your “consultant” ? 

We would very much like this to be a genuine investment because SWR has been promising to repay creditors for a very long time, but we believe there is some doubt around the level of disclosure which you would be able to clear up very easily by answering the questions.. 

We have not copied this to all known bond participants yet because we want to give you an opportunity to clarify these points in writing so that we and our clients can be satisfied everything is above-board.

We have copied in Mr Kerslake because he knows exactly what went on in Natural Capital Energy and is obviously close to the centre of Green Swan too. If there is any hint of dishonesty we will have to report this matter to the SEC and FCA.  

It will be the Green Swan company directors who will be held to account for any deception. We doubt the companies involved in the bond who may have incurred significant costs would be willing to let that go. We would expect them to take action against the Green Swan directors to recover their costs.

If you genuinely own 100% of the shares without any encumbrances or side agreements you would not be restricted from entering into any agreement with other parties. Have you considered restructuring the bond with more credible parties than SWR and providing security for SWR creditors ? SWR could not complain because he has been promising to repay all creditors for years.  

Please come back to us by the end of the week because our clients are expecting answers to these questions..

ANDRE SCHUT’S REPLY

Dear Sir

We refer to your email dated 16 February 2022 timed at 13.16. 

We would refer you to Companies House in respect of any information you seek on Green Swan Holding Limited.

We have no further comment on the matters you raise and will not be entering into any further correspondence with you.

 Yours sincerely

André Schut

Director 

Green Swan Investments Ltd.

71-75 Shelton Street

Greater London, WC2H 9QQ

United Kingdom

As we did not receive answers to our questions we wrote to Lance Bondy and Shazia Flores at the Settlement Bank sending them a copy of our email and Mr Schut’s reply.  These were the officials who were dealing with Simon Whittley-Ryan although they might not have realised it was him.  Our email is below:

Dear Sirs,

Please see below an email we sent to Andre Schut, a director and 100% shareholder of Green Swan Holding Ltd (according to records filed at Companies House in the UK). You will note his reply to our email which did not address any of our clients’ concerns. Perhaps you may have more luck than us in obtaining answers to the questions we put to him.

Simon Whittley-Ryan specialises in incorporating fixed return investments, defaulting on the payments and then obstructing insolvency firms when they seek to investigate where the money and purported assets have gone. He has recently taken to using the name Simon Ryan to avoid drawing attention to his failed business history. 

We are hoping that by forwarding the emails it will enable you to undertake due diligence to satisfy yourselves you have had full transparency in your communications and that the bond buyer’s funds will be fully protected by the insurer.

If you are satisfied, please let us know so we can reassure our clients that the repayments promised by Simon Whittley-Ryan will originate from funds raised by legitimate means and will not be subject to clawback at any time in the future.   

We did not receive a response to the email.  What we found concerning was that the Source had provided us with a number of emails between Simon Whittley-Ryan and the settlement bank. We’re not sure whether the bank was actually aware that they were dealing with Simon Whittley-Ryan.  The email addresses he was using were not in the name of Simon Whittley-Ryan.  He used three separate email addresses when communicating with the bank, none of which were in the name of Simon Whittley-Ryan.

1. In his Green Swan email address he calls himself Simon Ryan.  Andre Schut was copied into these emails and he knows that Simon Ryan is not his real name.  He never said a word.

2. He also used a petra-am.co.uk email address in which he again calls himself Simon Ryan.  We wonder whether the petra-am.co.uk domain name was being used as a deception to suggest to recipients that he was somehow part of FCA-regulated firm Petra Asset Management Ltd.  This domain does not link to their website so we wonder who owns it and why  We think it is likely that Simon Whittley-Ryan owns that domain name.  We don’t know if anyone at the bank sought to question this.

3. He also used a Natural Capital email address in which he calls himself Simon Whittley.

We’ve seen emails to the bank officers where he has used one email address to write to them and copied it to the other two email addresses. Didn’t anyone think to ask him to explain ?

If anyone is tempted to buy into the Green Swan Holding Ltd Bond we suggest they take additional steps to protect themselves.  They would be wise not to rely on the insurance policy because, as we have shown, an insurance policy is no use if it can be invalidated due to deceit and failure to disclose.  They might want to consider obtaining personal guarantees from all the Green Swan directors, the settlement bank, the Swiss escrow company, Sir XXXXX and other involved parties.  They might also want to consider what restrictions they can impose to prevent money paid to the projects ending up in Simon Whittley-Ryan’s pocket.

Green Swan Holding Ltd Bond – Simon Whittley-Ryan.

Here is a document sent to us by the Source which evidenced the bond at the time.  Bond Cusip Numbers

This article was sent to Andre Schut and the Source prior to publication to ask if they would like any amendments or corrections. Andre Schut did not reply. The Source did reply to tell us that Andre Schut had now agreed to put money by for our clients from the bond sale which would be held by our solicitor.  However, he said that Andre Schut would have to ask Simon Whittley-Ryan for his permission to do that !  This had been suggested months ago and we knew it was just them stalling for time. The Source was also disappointed that we intended to publish some of his emails. We explained that nobody outside of the Green Swan circle would know who he was and he had already told them so the emails needed to be published because they showed the level of deception.

What’s Next ? Well, the Source said that Simon Whittley-Ryan has another bond coming out.  It is a hotel bond and this time he is intending to raise $500m !  The insurance company must love Simon Whittley-Ryan.

UPDATE 1 – July 2022:  A few days after publication of this article Alexander David Securities placed itself into liquidation. Here is our article on that – LINK. The court hearing brought by the liquidator of Win River Developments Ltd was adjourned until September at Mr Whittley-Ryan’s request.

UPDATE 2 – August 2022: A lot of changes have been taking place in the Green Swan companies. The bank which was supposed to be holding assets as ‘security’ to protect the buyer of the bond has withdrawn and been replaced by SA Guarantee Specialists, a cell company based in South Africa. The Green Swan Holding Ltd bond has cut its fundraising aspirations in half and it is now a $125m bond. Green Swan Holding Ltd has now filed its annual accounts which show assets of £3.72m and creditors of £3.87m. Normally the accounts would be signed off by one of the company directors, but in this case all four directors have signed. That’s unusual.

Green Swan Holding Bond – Simon Whittley-Ryan. 

 

Scam Alert

Ward & Co Insolvency Practitioners Scam

Ward & Co Insolvency Practitioners Scam 300 233 SOS Team

Ward & Co Insolvency Practitioners Scam.

We have been contacted by a few investors and by a genuine Claims Management Company called ACL Consultancy regarding an attempt by scammers to persuade victims to send them “insurance” money. The scam company is operating under the name of Ward & Co Insolvency Practitioners and here is a LINK to their scam website. It operates under the domain name of wardinsolvencyservices.com.  This domain was purchased by the scammers in March 2022. The website has only been in existence for three months at the time of writing this article.

The website looks very credible and professional.  That is because it has copied pages from genuine websites. For example, the page on High Street GRP has been copied from this page on the ACL Consultancy website – LINK.  ACL Consultancy is a genuine FCA-regulated claims management company which is handling claims on behalf of High Street GRP investors.  The owner of ACL Consultancy has reported this matter to the Financial Conduct Authority.

A check on the UK’s Insolvency Service website reveals that they have no record of Ward & Co being authorised as a licensed insolvency practitioner.  Genuine insolvency practitioners NEVER charge investors.

An investor who we have helped in the past recover money from a different scam, also contacted us about the Ward & Co Insolvency Practitioners scam.  His email and the letter he received is below.

Hi [Name],

I was recently contact by a guy called Richard Yates from this company called Ward & Co. They claim there is an amount of GBP XXXXXX payable to me from High Street Group which will be paid in 2-3 days, but to enable payment I need to take out an insurance (see letter attached) which will cost me in excess of GBP XXXXXX. This seems like a scam to me, do you have any knowledge of this?

To which our reply was brief:

Hi [Name],

It’s a scam. You don’t need any insurance policy to receive a payout. There isn’t any payout.

A redacted version of the letter he received, where all text potentially identifying him has been removed, can be seen below.

Ward & Co Insolvency Scam – Letter Requesting Insurance Payment – REDACTED

Never pay any money to any party claiming to be an insolvency firm or claiming to be representing an insolvency firm.

 

Scam Alert

Sky Capital Holdings Inc Money Mule Account

Sky Capital Holdings Inc Money Mule Account 300 233 SOS Team

Sky Capital Holdings Inc Money Mule Account.

Following our recent article on the LXK Inc and Wellington Capital Group scam – LINK, we have been contacted by a person who invested in that scam and who has also fallen victim to the subsequent follow-on-fraud.  A follow-on-fraud is where scammers contact victims of investment scams claiming to have recovered their money. The funds can be released upon payment of a fee.  The victim in this case was asked to pay the fee into a bank account in the name of Sky Capital Holdings Inc. Unfortunately he saw our Scam Alert after he had paid his money.

You will note that Sky Capital Holdings Inc is allegedly a company based in Beijing, China, but is having the money paid to a Wells Fargo bank in California.  We believe this to be a money mule account whereby any money deposited in the account will be immediately swept out and transferred on to the scammers.

There is another money mule account which is being used by the same scam. This is an account in the name of PT STOCK VALUE INDONESIA and the bank is based in Jakarta.  We have copied the bank account details below:

BANK:   UOB INDONESIA

BENEFICIARY NAME:   PT STOCK VALUE INDONESIA

SWIFT:   BBIJIDJA

USD ACCOUNT NUMBER:   538 900 0486

We have come across this money mule account before when it was being used in a different scam.  We wrote to the bank two years ago to get it closed down, but clearly it is still in operation and still stealing money from investors.

Sky Capital Holdings Inc Money Mule Account.

 

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