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Scam Alert

Lodore Follow-On-Fraud

Lodore Follow-On-Fraud 300 233 SOS Team

Lodore Follow-On-Fraud

An organisation calling itself Lodore Investment Management, but also seemingly calling itself Lodore Ltd, is carrying out the Lodore follow-on-fraud against people who have already fallen victim to a scam.

The fake organisation is using the identity of a genuine company, Lodore Ltd, which was formed in 1920 !

The scammers have the phone numbers and email addresses of investors in binary option scams which were all the rage around 3 or 4 years ago.  One such scam was StratXMarkets which we have covered before.  The Lodore scammers are phoning investors telling them that their investment money is held in an escrow account with Cysec (the Cyprus financial services regulator) – LINK.  It isn’t – there is no money.

The person making the calls has been described to us as “an idiot who can’t get his story straight”. In other words, a typical low-level conman.

The scammers purchased the domain of lodoreltd.co.uk in December 2020 for a one year term.  That’s the minimum period for which you can buy a domain so they are clearly not planning on being around for long.  Quite surprising considering the company they are impersonating is 101 years old.

The scam website isn’t too shabby, but it’s still a scam. We won’t publish a link to the website because it won’t be around for much longer.

Here is one of their emails:

From: Lodore Accounts <accounts@lodoreltd.co.uk>
Date: 
Subject: Company information
To:

Dear  

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.

Here at Lodore Investment Management we work with our clients so that you can take back control of your investment. We offer a variety of services to suit your needs whether you wish to grow your investment or find a suitable exit strategy

If you have any relevant documentation,  such as sale documents, certificates, receipts etc.. Then please send it in to your consultant.

Our company details are as follows:

Company Check link

https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/00166329)

Trading Address

101 Euston Road, London, NW1 2RA

Registered Office

3rd Floor, 5 Temple Square, Temple Street, Liverpool, L2 5RA

Please see our website for more information-http://lodoreltd.co.uk

Ms Elizabeth Thornton

Administrator 

Accounts Team  | Lodore ltd 

0333 344 3412
wwwlodoreltd.co.uk
101 Euston Road, London, NW1 2RA
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please notify the system manager. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee, you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this email. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

The likelihood is that one of the binary option scammers has either sold the list of investors to a scam group, or is trying his luck himself because times are hard.  There’s not so much call for scam salesmen these days because people are being much more cautious about investing in allegedly high-yielding investments.

The Lodore follow-on-fraud is just an attempt to get investors to pay over more money to the people who scammed them in the first place. Do not be taken in by unsolicited phone calls claiming that your investment money is being held in a safe place, no matter what investment you made.  It is never true. 

 

Horizon Consultancies – Kingsgate Insolvency Scam

Horizon Consultancies – Kingsgate Insolvency Scam 360 240 SOS Team

Horizon Consultancies – Kingsgate Insolvency Scam.

Three fake organisations are still operating their follow-on-fraud against victims of scam investments.  All three are being operated by the same group of scammers.

There are legitimate companies with these names, but the scammers are pretending to be those companies.  The best way to check is to look up the scam company at Companies House – LINK.  Write a letter to the company at its registered office address which is shown on the Companies House site.  Do not email and do not telephone because the scammers may have those covered, but they can’t cover the registered office address.  This is the safest way to check out a company.

In June 2021 we wrote an article on the Everest BVBA Scam – LINK and also the Kingsgate Insolvency Scam – LINK.

In July 2021 we wrote an article on the Horizon Consultancies Scam – LINK.

Since then, the scammers have continued to pester investors with phone calls, emails and requests for them to send their banking details.  Kingsgate Insolvency is now claiming to have carried out an Independent Auditor’s Report, the text of which is copied below:

INDEPENDENT AUDITOR’S REPORT

To the Creditors of Essex and London

Report on the Financial Statements

Based upon our audit, which was issued on the 23/07/21, we are pleased to inform you that during the liquidation of Essex and London we have discovered that you are the legal owner of your position(s). We have received the relevant financial statements of Essex and London and they confirm the balance of what you originally purchased. The profit and loss account and statement of changes in equity for the year ended and a summary of accounting policies and other necessary documents were filed accordingly.

Statutory Body Responsibility for Financial Statements

The Statutory Body is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with accounting regulations applicable in the UK. Allowing sufficient control as management determines is necessary to enable the presentation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement whether due to fraud or error.

Auditor’s Responsibility

Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit. We conducted our audit in accordance with the Act on Auditors and International Standards on Auditing and the related application guidelines issued by the Chamber of Auditors of London.

These standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement.

Auditor’s opinion

In our opinion, the financial statements of Essex and London give a true and fair view of its financial position and of its financial performance for the year in accordance with accounting regulations applicable in London.

Kind Regards

Peter Dorset

Chief Practitioner
Kingsgate Insolvency Limited

National House, 80-82, Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 1HW Tel: 0161 961 0021 Email: info@kingsgateinsolvencyltd.com

Kingsgate Insolvency asks the investor to forward the report on to Horizon Consultancies. That seems a bit unnecessary because the Horizon Consultancies scammer is in the same room as the Kingsgate Insolvency scammer. They could just reach across the desk and hand it over.  The Horizon Consultancies scammer uses the false name of Julian Grant, but sometimes forgets and calls himself Julian Marks.

Having emailed it on to ‘Julian Grant’ (which acts as confirmation to the scammers that they’ve got an investor on the hook and they have a chance of reeling him/her in), the investor then gets a call from Julian.  As usual he is calling to give the investor some very good news.  The investor is told that he/she is in the 51% of investors whose bonds have been approved for purchase by a third party and the offer is 100% of their losses + a 20% profit.  The third party is allegedly The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.  The investor is told that all the scammer now needs is the investor’s banking details so they can wire the money to the investor’s account.

The scammers state that there are no upfront charges so the investor does not have to worry.  The investor has 5 days in which to respond or the offer will be withdrawn.

What happens if the investor complies and sends through his banking details ?  Well, unfortunately now there’s some bad news.  Horizon Consultancies contacts the investor to tell him that due to the amount of money being paid out, the bank has frozen the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority bank account.  However, they say the deal can still go ahead if the investor pays 15% of the amount to cover what they describe as ‘pecuniary insurance’.  This is apparently a basic policy which will insure the payment which they claim will be made to the investor, or the investor is told they have the option to pay 30% and get a super-duper ‘comprehensive policy’.  We’re not sure what the difference is between the two fake policies and neither, it seems, is the scammer !

The Horizon Consultancies – Kingsgate Insolvency scam has a little twist. The investor is contacted by the ever helpful fake Peter Dorset of the fake Kingsgate Insolvency and is told NOT TO PAY THE INSURANCE.  Wow, a scammer with a conscience.  However, it doesn’t last long and it’s all part of their strategy. He calls back 30 minutes later and says he’s checked it out and the insurance policy is genuine so it is OK to go ahead and pay it.  Sneaky devils these scammers.

If the investor doesn’t pay he/she gets a barrage of phone calls from all three organisations attempting to persuade the investor to pay.  Everest BVBA comes back in and it, Kingsgate Insolvency and Horizon Consultancies all call the investor.  It must be bedlam in that scam office.  They thought they were going to have a big and easy payday, but the investor is being difficult.

These scammers will try to persuade investors that the companies are registered on the Financial Conduct Authority website so they can be trusted.  It is important to remember that they are scammers who have copied the details of genuine companies.  Nothing they say is true.

If you have lost money to a follow-on-fraud you should contact your local police authority and report it.

Horizon Consultancies – Kingsgate Insolvency Scam.

 

Anthony Whymark of Apex Alternatives

Anthony Whymark of Apex Alternatives 300 300 SOS Team

Anthony Whymark of Apex Alternatives.

We have been asked by a group of investors who invested in the Essex and London Properties scam to put out a public request for information on the other scams which Mr Whymark was involved in. Anthony Whymark was the director of Apex Alternative Marketing Ltd, a company which acted as the sales agent for a number of scams and which operated under the trading name of Apex Alternatives. That company is no longer in existence.  It was dissolved in May 2018, but we have been provided with proof that the UK authorities are interested in information on Mr Whymark’s activities relating to the sale of scam investments. This is good news because it shows the authorities are prepared to go back a long way when they feel a sales agent or any other facilitator played a significant role in misleading investors.

We are aware of some of the scams sold by Mr Whymark, but there will no doubt be others that we are not aware of. If you were enticed into investing by Apex Alternatives or Anthony Whymark please contact us using our Contact Page – LINK and we will put you in contact with the appropriate authorities.

Mr Whymark is a defendant in the Essex and London Properties scam as can be seen by this court record. That case is scheduled for trial in 2022. Interestingly, we came across another name on the defendant list, Abdul Mukith, in another case and reported only last month in July 2021 – LINK to Coastal Supported Living scam article. 

Florian Pierini is another serial scammer who we have linked into a number of scams. He is one of the founders of scams such as European Property Coin, whereas Anthony Whymark was one of the main sellers of scams. Jeffrey Razaq is another serial scammer who was disqualified as a company director in 2015 until 2029 for his part in carbon credit scams. Here is a LINK to his disqualification record. It clearly did not stop him from helping to establish the Essex and London Properties scam. So we know about four on the list plus the village idiot Mitchell Mallin. Any information on the following people would also be gratefully received:

Mohammad Didar Hussain  /  Mohammed Noman Tanveer  /  R. I. Ali  /  M. Riaz.

The front man for the Essex and London Properties fraud was Mitchell Mallin. We covered him in previous articles and there is no way he was the brains behind the scam. From the look of him he would still need help tying his shoe-laces.

We never tire of showing this image.

We will never tire of showing these images. They’re classics. Well done Mitchell – you managed to put your shoes on the correct feet.

Mitchell Mallin was banned from holding a company directorship for 14 years in June 2021. This LINK to a newspaper article somewhat flatters Mr Mallin by describing him as “a property developer”. His company did not develop a single property.

We hope the UK authorities will extend their interest to other people involved in the establishment or the selling of multiple scams. We can give them quite a long list or they can just read our blog articles. That would give them a good start.

 

Scam Alert

Premier Capital Finance Scam

Premier Capital Finance Scam 300 233 SOS Team

Premier Capital Finance Scam.

Premier Capital Finance is running a follow-on-fraud against investors who have lost money in scam investments. We believe the people behind the Premier Capital Finance Scam are also behind the SJT Wealth scam which we reported on yesterday – LINK to that article.

Here is the email they are sending to investors.

From: info@premiercapitalfinanceuk.com
Sent:
To:
Subject: Premier Capital Finance Information Attached

Dear

We are writing to you regarding your position in the forthcoming Capital Exchange Programme, facilitated by Premier Capital Finance Ltd. We have assigned Ian Douglas as your alternative asset advisor.

Please ensure that as per the enclosed invoice, your account is settled on or before XXXXXXXXX.

Full information and contract terms are provided overleaf for your reference.

Premier Capital Finance Ltd acts in the interest of clients burdened by the strain of the aftermath of company insolvency in order to provide investors with a route out of the market. We endeavour to ensure transparency in order to restore faith in the investment markets.

Please find below the link to our website:

www.premiercapitalfinanceuk.com

Please contact us should you have any further queries on 0207 126 8231.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Ian Hartery
Director

Premier Capital Finance Ltd
Trading Address: 3 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG
Website: www.premiercapitalfinanceuk.co.uk
Telephone: 0207 126 8231
Company No.: IE544663

The first thing we noticed is that the email came from the domain name of premiercapitalfinanceuk.com, yet the details at the bottom of the email state premiercapitalfinanceuk.co.uk. The .com domain name was purchased in July 2021.  The .co.uk domain name at the time of writing this article has never been purchased so it does not actually exist.  That’s a schoolboy error and shows that these scammers are good at recycling their scam templates, but not so hot on the detail.

We have copied some of the documents they use below. We have seen these exact same documents used in several scams so this is just the same group of scammers regurgitating their standard scam under a new company name with the aim of tricking victims of scams into paying over more money.

If you ever receive anything vaguely similar to these you can be sure it’s a scam.

Premier Capital Finance Scam – DO NOT RESPOND TO ANY COMMUNICATION FROM THEM. IT’S A SCAM.

 

Scam Alert

SJT Wealth Scam

SJT Wealth Scam 300 233 SOS Team

SJT Wealth Scam

SJT Wealth has purchased a list of investor details and has been writing out to those investors enclosing a particularly crappy brochure (see brochure link below):

SJT Wealth Scam Brochure

Just to be absolutely clear – this is not an advert for people to invest in this rubbish.

It’s hardly surprising the brochure is so bad. They bought the domain name of sjtwealth.com only twelve days ago. They are clearly desperate for money and wanted to get their scam out as early as possible.

It’s quite interesting because on the same day investors received this brochure, they also received an apparently unconnected approach from an organisation calling itself Premier Capital Finance. Premier Capital Finance is a follow-on-fraud. They are targeting the same investors offering to recover their money from the original scam. It’s clear to us that it’s the same group of scammers simply trying a different approach. They’ve sat down and said “Let’s run the standard recovery room scam, but also try our luck at getting them to invest in something new so we’ll need two fake organisations”.

We will write a separate Scam Alert on Premier Capital Finance.

Back to SJT Wealth, here is the email investors have been receiving:

From: n.collins@sjtwealth.com
Sent:
To:
Subject: SJT Wealth Introduction – Emergency Cash Out

Dear

As discussed, please find our current introduction brochure attached to this email.

The emergency cash out option provides clients with a quick and easy way to exit the market. This option is usually reserved for clients that have struggled to successfully retrieve their funds from an alternative asset.

As opposed to the clients continuously paying fees for the additional documentation required to achieve the full amount of funds, we simply release what we can from the account, based on the work that has already been completed.

This option is a guarantee, which is why many clients choose it. We aim to achieve at least 40-60% of the funds being held in escrow for you. You will be notified of the exact amount before the emergency cash out option is completed.

Best regards,

Nick Collins

SJT Wealth

0207 097 1640
www.sjtwealth.com
International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2BN

I’ll be honest, we couldn’t work out what the fictitious Nick Collins was actually saying. We came to the conclusion that he’s using the triple B approach  –  Bull**it Baffles Brains.

Be warned. If you receive an approach from the SJT Wealth scam DO NOT RESPOND.

 

Merydion Hotel Freeholds

Merydion Hotel Freeholds 500 333 SOS Team

Merydion Hotel Freeholds.

We first notified investors in Merydion hotels that they had been the victims of a scam in June 2020.  Some of them refused to believe it and accused us of being the scammers.  They then picked our brains for a while and some of them were persuaded to go off to do their own thing whilst others decided to work with us.

Everything we told them has been proven to be correct.  Unfortunately, as a result of the actions of some Merydion investors we have changed our policy and no longer provide any detailed information on recovery options to non-clients.  We always advise investors not to blindly follow leadership of any investor they do not personally know.  Quite often some room owners are sales agents who are on the side of the scammer.  They accept a room as payment instead of commission because they don’t want their commissions to show up.  Sometimes these people take the lead in groups in order to ensure there’s a lot of talk and no action taken against the scammer. Information is then fed back to the scammer.  It always happens.  There’s always one person who will look after number one.  That is why we keep tight-lipped about what we know and we do not share it unless it benefits our clients.

Michael McMahon, the initial owner of the Merydion hotel freeholds through his UK companies, has a tendency to use the services of convicted criminals.

For a period of time until his death in December 2020, Michael McMahon’s Client Liaison Manager was Tony Hilton.  You can read about his conviction in this newspaper article – LINK.

After his death the position was taken over by Sam Doyle.  You can read about her conviction in this newspaper article – LINK.

Michael McMahon has recently been working with former accountant, Geoff Langdale.  We’re expecting to see some of his creative accounting fairly soon.  You can read about his conviction in this newspaper article – LINK.

Michael McMahon and his hotel companies are toxic to genuine law firms.  He has been taking advice from struck-off solicitor, John Hardman.  LINK to the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority website. 

Michael McMahon’s hotels have not just defrauded room investors.  They have left a trail of debts involving tradespeople and couples who paid deposits for weddings.  Michael McMahon has ignored requests for refunds from many couples desperate to move on with their lives and book their weddings at another venue. They are doing their best to recover their money through the courts, but scammers like Michael McMahon do not worry about CCJs or legal threats.  He has two fears.  The first is having his companies closed down so that a thorough investigation can take place into the money trail.  The second is losing the cash and assets he has hidden away.

We have a very good idea of how much Michael McMahon has stolen and we also believe we know what he has done with it.  That information cannot be made public.  However, what we can say is that in March and April of this year Michael McMahon secretly incorporated several new offshore companies.  He then filed documents shortly after at the Land Registry recording that the ownership of the freeholds of three of his four hotels had been transferred to these new offshore companies.  The freeholds are, according to these filings, owned by companies incorporated in a country which does not recognise insolvency action.

In other words, three of McMahon’s current freehold-owning companies based in the UK will be empty and have no assets.  He clearly believes no action can be taken against his new companies because that jurisdiction does not recognise insolvency.  We have been monitoring this for a while and have a strategy in place for our clients.

After Michael McMahon had incorporated these companies, he wrote to room owners asking them to surrender their leases so that the hotels could be sold.  He did not tell them he had transferred the freeholds of three of the hotels to the offshore companies.  He promised that the proceeds of the sale would be shared amongst the room owners.  He then pretended that he had every intention of selling the hotels when, in fact, he had already transferred them.  We knew he had no intention of sharing the proceeds and we informed him that we knew what he was up to.  The money was always going to be sent offshore beyond the reach of creditors.

Once a scammer is sitting on a large pot of money it is always much more difficult to take action.  He has the potential to out-fund any action taken against him.

The situation for our client group is not as bad as it appears because we have irons in the fire.  We do not know whether other creditors are in the same position.

To view our previous article on the Merydion Hotels Scam please click here.

Merydion Hotel Freeholds.

 

Lee Bramzell IVA Non-Disclosure

Lee Bramzell IVA Non-Disclosure 500 333 SOS Team

Lee Bramzell IVA Non-Disclosure.

We recently wrote an article about the Lee Bramzell IVA in which we said it was passed with 79% of the vote. LINK to article here.  We were wrong.  An IVA needs 75% of creditors to support it in order for it to succeed.  The actual votes cast in favour of the IVA at the meeting was 75.24%.  That’s what you call winning by the skin of your teeth.

The difference was due to the fact that some key supporters of Lee Bramzell did not cast their vote.  These were led by Lee Bramzell’s long-term ally and business partner Emmanuel Ezekiel.  He represented Scott Cole, St James Investment Trust, Gary Weber, Weber Investment Properties Ltd and Sharon Woolf (J.B.W Pension).  A fine and trustworthy body if ever there was one. Very long-term and close associates of Lee Bramzell.

The feeling amongst some of those who opposed the IVA was that this group had been informed in advance that the IVA was going to scrape through so did not need to cast their votes.  We have been advised that some of Ezekiel’s group, including Mr Ezekiel himself, have charges over Mr Bramzell’s assets.  Had they voted it would have affected their ability to enforce those charges.  It was important to them that they knew whether or not the vote would pass without their votes.

The opposition group feel that some creditors who also had charges were tricked into voting to support the IVA believing that Mr Ezekiel’s group would do the same.  The deceit never stops where Shepherd Cox directors are concerned.  The 79% figure we quoted was because Purnells stated that the Ezekiel group said that “they would have voted in favour of the IVA”.  But the fact is that they did not vote, thereby preserving their privileged position. There must be quite a few creditors who feel they’ve been royally stitched up by Lee Bramzell’s closest creditor friends and those who rallied them to support the IVA.

We also described in our previous article about the Lee Bramzell IVA Non-Disclosure.  He did not inform Purnells of the existence of a winding up petition which, if upheld, would have serious repercussions in terms of Mr Bramzell’s ability to make the payments he estimated he could make to creditors.

We wrote to Purnells and referred them to our article.  Purnells then wrote out to creditors informing them of the existence of the petition and that they had now spoken to Lee Bramzell who advised them that one of his staff had sent him an email containing the petition on the day before the hearing.  Well, that’s true, but it is a very selective account of events.  It appears from the Purnells letter that they had not, at any time, been informed of either the threat or the existence of a winding up petition.

We have seen emails confirming that Mr Bramzell was informed a petition would be filed against SCH Sunderland.  The first email was sent on 18th July 2021 and was acknowledged by Mr Bramzell.  He was then sent a copy of the draft petition on 21st July which was also acknowledged by him.  He was sent the final petition on 26th July 2021.  It appears that Mr Bramzell didn’t declare that sequence of events to Purnells either. We believe the petition has a strong chance of being successful because the debt fell due pre-Covid and had already been part-paid.

We weren’t impressed by the sentence in the Purnell’s letter which read “For whatever reason this information was not provided, by anyone, to the Joint Nominees until after the creditors meeting”.  There is only one person who is legally obliged to inform Purnells of any development which affects the IVA Proposal and that person is Lee Bramzell.  If the petition was sent to Mr Bramzell in order to test his honesty with creditors then he failed miserably.  It does not bode well for the future.

In contrast, Luqa Ltd sent an email to Purnell’s just before the hearing which was circulated to creditors. Lee Bramzell sent out a detailed response to that email two hours before the hearing. He had to deal with the Luqa email because it had been circulated, but he had chosen to keep quiet about the winding up petition. He could easily have added a line to his Luqa response stating that he had recently been served with a winding up petition over SCH Sunderland.

Surprisingly, instead of stating that the IVA had failed for due to the Lee Bramzell IVA non-disclosure of important material potentially affecting his ability to make payments, Purnells decided to uphold the vote and is asking creditors if knowledge of the petition would have affected the way they voted.  Errrr…. isn’t the IVA process clear ?  Debtor discloses all relevant facts – creditors vote.  If debtor covers up the extent of his debt or does not disclose all relevant information, the vote for the IVA should be failed.  Non-disclosure is a criminal offence. You can’t just ignore it like it’s a minor issue.

To add further insult to 240+ ordinary hotel room investors who lost more than £15m at the hands of Lee Bramzell, Purnells decided to allocate them £6 worth of voting rights.  £15.2m of claims against Lee Bramzell were reduced to a value of £6 for voting purposes.  This was in stark contract to Nick Carlile’s IVA where the full value of £15.2m was allocated for voting purposes. 

Purnells took legal advice on whether they could do this and they admitted that the advice was that each of the six Shepherd Cox companies’ claims could be valued at £1 under insolvency law “unless the Chair decided to put a higher value on them”.  Their words.  The Chair had discretion to recognise the losses of 240+ investors which averaged out at around £63,000 each.  The Chair of the Nick Carlile IVA allowed those claims at full value.  The Chair of Lee Bramzell’s IVA chose to value every £63,000 loss at 2.5 pence each.

Purnells will be paid £50,000 over the next 5 years if Lee Bramzell’s IVA goes through.

 

SFO Investigation Into Room Sales

SFO Investigation Into Room Sales 350 225 SOS Team

SFO Investigation Into Room Sales.

Yesterday the UK’s Serious Fraud Office announced an investigation into the sale of hotel rooms and care home rooms by Gavin Woodhouse.  See LINK for a BBC Report on the investigation.

Quoting the report:  “The SFO said it is investigating suspected fraud and money laundering in relation to the conduct of business by Gavin Woodhouse and individuals and companies associated with him” [our bold].  We assume that may include Robin Forster of the MBI companies, Qualia Care companies, and Property Alternative Holdings companies. Mr Woodhouse and Mr Forster are long-term associates having both been directors or shareholders in each other’s companies.

We hope the investigation will include the people involved in the subsequent recovery room scam where investors in Gavin Woodhouse’s companies AND Robin Forster’s companies were encouraged to pay money for highly questionable ‘legal services’. The solicitor and law firm had no experience of insolvency and acted for clients who had sold the scam, using them as introducers.  The people described as investor co-ordinators were primarily those involved in some way in the sale of the rooms to investors.  The solicitor, law firm and investor co-ordinators all declined to comment on who was being paid out of investor money. We hold emails from this group which made false statements about being room owners themselves when they were not and exaggerated the skills and experience of the solicitor.

We will be contacting the SFO, as will others who have been concerned about the recovery room element, to request that it investigate other similar room scams such as Carlauren Group (where the same recovery room group offered its services), St Camillus (where once again the same recovery room group offered its services), Shepherd Cox Hotels where rooms that did not exist were sold, and Merydion Hotels where Michael McMahon, the founder, is currently exploring ways to get himself out of his scam operation. One of Mr McMahon’s companies, Merydion Corporation Ltd, was recently closed down by the Secretary Of State on the grounds of being involved in money-laundering and tax evasion.

We hope that this is just the start of a crackdown on all parties involved in room scams.

SFO Investigation Into Room Sales.

 

High Street Group and Bondreview

High Street Group and Bondreview 400 300 SOS Team

High Street Group and Bondreview .

Last month Safe Or Scam took over the management of the bondreview site – LINK to website following the retirement of the previous owners.

Some people have questioned why there are no articles on High Street Group on that website.  We do not know the full story behind it and have no interest in the reasons, but it was a condition of the takeover that we agree to not publish anything on that site relating to High Street GRP Ltd, Gary Forrest or High Street Commercial Finance Limited (“High Street Group”).

Since the takeover we have been contacted several times by an intermediary seeking reassurances that we would honour our pledge.  It seems that High Street Group do not trust us not to publish.  They are apparently concerned that we have not publicly declared our position.  Therefore, we now publicly declare our position in this article.

Safe Or Scam will not re-publish previous bondreview articles relating to High Street Group on the bondreview site, nor will we publish new articles written by Safe Or Scam or any third party relating to High Street Group on the bondreview site. 

That should be enough for them.  We gave our word to the previous owners and we stand by it.  This was the only condition. No other scam or defaulting investment is excluded and never will be.

However, it has been made clear to High Street Group that this promise does not extend to this website.

We have written articles on High Street Group before (here’s a LINK to our previous article) and will do so again.  In fact, we expect to write one in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled for it.

High Street Group must have been concerned that the original bondreview articles painted them in a bad light which they felt was unjustified.  We think it unlikely any article could damage High Street Group any more than they damage themselves.  The failure to file accounts for more than two years, the resignation of the independent auditor on the grounds that it was unable to verify figures quoted in the draft accounts despite repeated efforts to do so, the suspension of bond interest payments to investors, the refusal to repay long overdue capital to investors and the recent allegedly successful attempt to deny investors their lawful right to take action to recover their investment capital, does far more damage than a few articles reporting on those facts.

The vote to remove all Events Of Default from the Bond Instrument was, according to High Street Group, carried by the necessary majority.  That vote is to be challenged.  It was organised with the assistance of the inappropriately named “Security Trustee”.  An organisation which was described in marketing material as being in place to protect the interests of investors.  Clearly that is not the case.

Where can you find the Security Trustee ?  Try looking in Gary Forrest’s trouser pocket.  In fact, trouser pockets are where you will find most “Security Trustees”.  They’re employed for two reasons.

1. To provide false reassurance to investors; and

2. To protect the party which pays them.

High Street Group and Bondreview .

 

Lee Bramzell IVA Approved

Lee Bramzell IVA Approved 500 333 SOS Team

Lee Bramzell IVA Approved ……… or is it ?

On the afternoon of 29th July 2021, the latest IVA Proposal of Lee Bramzell was approved by the creditors who had been accepted by Purnells Licensed Insolvency Practitioners – LINK to Purnells website.

However, as is becoming standard practice with Mr Bramzell the IVA was not without contentious issues, allegations of misleading creditors and the usual failure to disclose all relevant facts.

This was compounded by the fact that creditors ended up split into five groups.

Group 1 was the Lee Bramzell supporters who had done very well out of their long-term relationship with Shepherd Cox and Lee Bramzell, many of them right from the very beginning.  That group did not want Lee Bramzell to be made bankrupt because that could have brought their transactions into the limelight.  There have been allegations of favourable treatment, funds being siphoned off, high commissions to introducers etc.  This group is characterised by the Ezekiels and their allies, the introducers (those who ran organised investor pitching events) and the facilitators (those who helped establish the SPVs through which people could invest).

Group 2 was the parties involved in the administration of several of the hotels and against whom Lee Bramzell states he is preparing a legal claim e.g Tony Murphy of Harrisons, Elliot Webster of Luqa Ltd, and Peter Shakeshaft of FHG and Minories B Ltd.  Luqa Ltd sent an email to Purnells for circulation to creditors alleging that Lee Bramzell had not disclosed all relevant issues and was misleading the creditors.  It was sent on 28th July 2021, the day before the hearing.  Lee Bramzell replied to it on 29th July 2021 and it was then sent out by Purnells to creditors two hours before the hearing.  Nice move.  We will return to the disclosure issue because it may well have relevance as to whether or not the IVA approval is to be challenged.

Group 3 was the bulk of creditors who really didn’t know who to believe.  There were so many accusations, denials and counter-accusations, that creditors were being asked to vote on the basis of not knowing what was fact and what was fiction.  Could Lee Bramzell really rise like a Pheonix and repay them, or was he blagging and they would end up with nothing, or was a bankruptcy the best option so that they would at least get something out of it ?  It’s no wonder the majority of them lent towards the Phoenix scenario and supported the IVA proposal.  The decision was based on hope more than judgement.

Group 4 was those investors who felt that they had been misled from the moment they gave their money to Lee Bramzell.  They wanted to hold him to account.  They wanted bankruptcy and an investigation.  They also wanted to know the truth about the involvement of the Group 1 creditors and whether there had been any dishonesty. If there had, then the Group 1 investors could potentially be open to legal action.

Group 5 was those creditors whose claims Purnells had declined to recognise at full value.  Predominant amongst those was the administrator of six Shepherd Cox hotel companies who was acting on behalf of the creditors of those companies i.e more than 200 room investors who have claims of around £16m.  Had Purnells recognised those claims the IVA would have failed miserably and Lee Bramzell would be bankrupt.  You can’t fight voting power of £16m+.  Purnells chose not to recognise those claims at full value, thereby supporting the person who appointed them.  We believe the IVA approval may well be challenged on that point.

Before we move on we should mention the fact that an IVA Proposal must be truthful and include all issues which may have a bearing on the proposer’s ability to deliver on his commitments.  An IVA Proposal is a legal document and as such, to falsify or fail to disclose information is a criminal offence.

In Mr Bramzell’s IVA Proposal and in the period between issuance and the hearing, Mr Bramzell informed creditors of some developments e.g new IVA amendments and he answered creditor questions.  He declared at the time of signing the IVA Proposal his FHG Group owned five hotels (down from ten in the original IVA).  The remaining hotels were:

The Bridge Hotel & Spa;

The Three Ways House Hotel;

The Wroxton House Hotel;

The Olde Barn Hotel;

The Comfort Inn Sunderland.

He declared that Luqa Ltd had approached the bank lenders at The Bridge Hotel & Spa and The Three Ways House Hotel to take over their positions and that this might result in those hotels being repossessed by the senior lender.  That would reduce the portfolio down to three hotels.  He had already declared that “he was preparing an action” against the Group 2 parties.  Creditors should have recognised that “preparing an action” is not the same as having started an action.  Preparations can easily be halted once an IVA Proposal has been approved.

However, it has come to our attention that neither Lee Bramzell nor Purnells advised creditors of an important development which would detrimentally affect the calculations of potential returns to creditors.  A winding up petition has been filed against the Comfort Inn Sunderland.  That petition, if successful, would result in the loss of this property from the FHG portfolio.  FHG could effectively be down to two properties only. The petition has not been filed by a Group 2 creditor and there is no question of this creditor being subject to any “preparing an action” proceedings by FHG because it is clear that the creditor has a valid claim.

The Comfort Inn Sunderland is described in Lee Bramzell’s IVA Proposal as “A former Premier Inn, which was rebranded by Shepherd Cox. Again, significant revenue streams from parking and located next to the new Northern Spire Bridge in Sunderland”.  Significant revenue streams which are now under threat.  The loss of that hotel would significantly impact on the ability of Lee Bramzell to meet his commitments to creditors. It should have been disclosed.

We have been informed that the petition was served on him on Monday 26th July 2021.  Ample time for creditors to have been informed prior to the hearing.  That information was not disclosed to creditors and the question is “If creditors had been informed of an insolvency action against this hotel would it have been enough to make 2% of them change their vote and decline to support the IVA”?  The IVA was approved on a 79% in favour, 21% against count.  An IVA needs 75% approval to be passed.  We think it would have had a material effect on the vote because creditors would have seen that the FHG portfolio was falling apart. We do not know whether there have been any actions taken against the remaining hotels, but if this petition was not disclosed then perhaps there are other issues which have been covered up.

So, who suppressed this information ?  Clearly Lee Bramzell did.  Did anyone else in a position of authority decide not to advise creditors ?

At the beginning of the article we made the statement “Lee Bramzell IVA Approved ……. or is it”?  We believe this non-disclosure of an important factor is likely to result in an appeal and the IVA approval being rescinded.  That is assuming Purnells does not take action itself to declare the vote invalid.  We await developments.  It’s never simple and straightforward where Lee Bramzell is concerned.

Lee Bramzell IVA Approved …… or is it ?

To view our previous article please click HERE.

 

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