Peter Murray and the Insolvency and Law Scam.
Peter Murray is the owner and director of Insolvency And Law Ltd. He is supported by a small team of Marcia Abbott, Gill Clow and Britena Clarke. Insolvency And Law Ltd has been involved in some unpleasant, unlawful practices in which the team members all play a part. Marcia Abbott sends out unsolicited email approaches to investors. Gill Clow investigates investments and Britena Clarke is involved in onboarding investors foolish enough to respond to the unlawful email approaches.
Insolvency And Law also operate a number of other websites focused on attracting investors.
We have to say that Peter Murray and his team produce the worst choreographed podcasts we have ever heard. The acting is atrocious. The team members make statements to Peter and he responds with fake surprise and astonishment which always goes something like “Wait a minute. I can’t believe what you are you telling me ? That’s terrible ! Are you really saying they’ve done that ? WOW – I just can’t believe it.”.
The podcasts are designed to make it sound as if Peter Murray is hearing the story for the first time and they aim to create anxiety and concern in the listeners who will be predominantly people who invested in the company which is being targeted. There’s always a common theme of repetition as they reinforce statements along the lines of “Investors really need our help here, don’t they?” or “Investors absolutely must contact us because we’re the only ones who can help them”. Of course they’re not the only ones who can help investors. It’s all a sham designed to take money from investors in those companies.
PETER MURRAY’S BACKGROUND
The best thing we can do here is refer to a 2019 article in the Kilburn Times in which Peter Murray describes his life, ambitions and the moment where he allegedly converted from a life of crime to becoming an honest and successful businessman. However, Peter Murray is still operating outside the law and a significant part of his income is generated by exploitation of vulnerable people and the operation of a protection racket aimed at the target companies.
Some interesting points in the Kilburn Times article are:
Peter described himself as a juvenile gangster who was in and out of prison for a decade for some nasty crimes. He was convicted of gun possession and received “conviction after conviction for theft and robbery”. He even confesses to slashing another person’s face with a knife;
Peter Murray then claims to have made a fortune after he left prison becoming in his words “a self-confessed yuppie” selling “financial services” – Scam Alert ! We don’t believe a genuine and respectable financial services company would allow anyone with Peter Murray’s history to sell legitimate financial services. He doesn’t name the company or describe the “financial services” he was selling.
Sadly, the reformed Peter Murray, at the time of claiming to be both a fine upstanding member of the community and a multi-millionaire, had a “fall from grace” (as the article describes it). He ended up back in his old criminal ways. That’s a shame. Hopefully it wasn’t anything too serious because he claimed to have left his criminal past behind him and to having “made a contract with God”. Well, according to Peter, this fall from grace was that “he became caught up as a chief suspect in a murder investigation, fell foul of ‘black magic’ on a trip to Jamaica and went on a demonic pursuit of fire-arms….”. Oh dear. I’m pretty sure contracts with God don’t really allow those kinds of activities. Maybe he inserted something in the small print.
Clearly this fall from grace was not a minor transgression. It was a full-blooded reversion back to his gangster ways. When Peter decides to go back to crime he can’t be accused of not giving it 100%.
Another Peter Murray quote from the article is “Coming from where I’m coming from, if you think of my childhood, it’s always looking for areas to exploit and make something from nothing,” he said. “I’ve developed a knack of making something from nothing. I can see a business model and I can copy it and make it better.” And that leads us nicely into the Peter Murray and The Insolvency and Law Scam. Peter has taken the UK’s long established insolvency regulations and found a way to abuse them. His innovative practices are described below.
One final quote from the article: “He[Peter] believes the same skills needed to pickpocket are what he has transferred to a life no longer looking over his shoulder.” His statement got us wondering what pickpocketing skills could he be referring to which he has transferred into his respectable life today ? It seems to us that the most important skill of a pickpocket is to identify a potential victim and be able to separate that person from their money, making a quick getaway without the victim realising they’ve been robbed. They only realise that they’ve lost their money once the pickpocket has made his escape. So let’s look at Insolvency And Law Ltd to see if Peter has been applying that skill.
THE BUSINESS MODEL
Insolvency and Law Ltd targets vulnerable people who have invested in scams or in investments which are attempting to rebuild their businesses as they recover from the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, promising it can recover investors’ money by applying Peter’s alleged insolvency skills and establishing third party legal actions which are designed to make money for Peter, but not for the investors. He makes false statements to investors and charges them extremely high upfront fees. Like pickpocketing victims, the investors only realise they have lost their money much later on.
Peter claims to be a self-proclaimed expert in both insolvency and law despite having no professional qualifications in either. At this point we need to make it clear that Insolvency and Law Ltd employs NO licensed insolvency practitioners and NO qualified lawyers.
One way that scammy businesses trick people into believing they are better than they are is to claim that they have won professional awards through recognition of their skills in a particular field. They then use those fake awards to make claims like “award-winning company”. The Insolvency And Law website and its other websites make claims that it is an award winning company. They give us a clue to the awards they’ve won because they have little rosettes on their websites. They have three rosettes. Each of them states “FINANCE MONTHLY LAW AWARDS”. They cover the years 2016, 2017 and 2018. That looks so impressive until you delve a bit deeper. These are fake awards because Insolvency And Law has paid for them. They know it and now you know it too. Finance Monthly is a magazine. It has developed a nice angle to generate additional advertising revenue by contacting businesses with ‘law’ or ‘legal’ in their titles and in return for that company making a payment e.g placing advertisements in the magazine, it issues the company with an award which the company can use in its marketing. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. It’s a scam. It’s common sense really. How can a company with no lawyers win a Law Award? Insolvency And Law even has a very tiny little statement at the bottom of its web pages which says: “For the avoidance of doubt, we do not conduct litigation and we are not solicitors or licensed insolvency practitioners. Neither do we engage in any legal or financial regulated services or other regulated activities”. So they say that they don’t engage in any legal services , but they carry three Finance Monthly Law Award rosettes on their website – Scam Alert ! They also engage in regulated activities despite claiming that they do not. In the US there is a list of ‘spammy awards’ which can be bought. Finance Monthly is on that list.
Another way of persuading investors to sign up is to make false claims of success. The one that Insolvency And Law regularly likes to make is “we have recovered £40m for investors”. When you look into it they say that “they have assisted” in these claims. It’s a clever play on words. We think Peter Murray is likely to count “assistance” as being on a creditors committee. We doubt that he has been a significant player in any large recovery action.
Here’s another false claim of success. This time regarding High Street Group – LINK TO ANNOUNCEMENT. In this announcement it states that Insolvency And Law had agreed an undisclosed settlement for its clients, but this was untrue. No settlement was ever paid, but an announcement like this certainly helped Insolvency And Law persuade other HSG investors to join its doomed recovery action. This announcement also contained an invite for investors to join a webinar on 12th October 2022 and to “Find Out More About The Third-Party Action”. It states:
Join Insolvency & Law for a Webinar: Wednesday 12th October 2022 at 7pm (GMT)
Updates on the Administration / Liquidation process and Third-Party Action with Q & A session
Hosted by debt recovery expert Peter Murray of Insolvency & Law in conjunction with insolvency practitioner Andrew Rosler of Ideal Corporate Solutions and litigation lawyer Martin Scott of Walker Morris LLP.
Quite frankly, Andrew Rosler and Martin Scott should not have supported Insolvency And Law in what was an unlawful promotion of a third party legal action in breach of the UK’s Financial Services And Markets Act. Insolvency And Law’s invite for people to “Find Out More About The Third-Party Action” was simply a ploy to allow it to continue to market and promote other services to those who completed the form.
Investors in High Street Group know quite a lot about Peter Murray. Some of them have been persuaded by his promises and have paid him an upfront fee of 3%+vat of their investment amount for a highly questionable recovery action. In our opinion those investors are going to lose that money. They should be asking for it to be returned because it is clear that Peter Murray’s primary target, a Gibraltar based company called Castle Trust and Management Services, was never going to be able to pay. UPDATE – Castle Trust and Management Services Ltd went into administration on 27th June 2023.
Insolvency and Law Ltd is operating in the UK as a claims management company. That is an FCA regulated activity. Insolvency and Law Ltd is not FCA regulated and is therefore committing a criminal offence by offering a claims management service. Its websites are focused almost exclusively on inviting investors to contact them which breaches S19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act. Marcia Abbott sends out unsolicited emails seeking to induce investors to pay Insolvency and Law to join actions. This is an offence under S19. Gill Clow investigates investments in an unregulated capacity which is an offence under the Claims Management Company Regulations. Britena Clarke is in control of onboarding clients which is also an offence under the same regulations.
There are several elements to the Peter Murray and the Insolvency and Law Scam. We will start with debt assignments.
Peter Murray and the Insolvency and Law Scam – Assignment Of Debts and Claims and Demands For Monitoring Fees
The first element in the scam involves persuading investors who are owed money to assign their debts to Insolvency and Law Ltd. It is not illegal to take an assignment of a debt. There are firms which will buy debts from people who don’t have the desire or the money to try to recover their own debts. The debt owner sells their rights to a debt collection company or a claims management company for a fee. The contract often contains clauses which entitle the original debt owner (the “Assignor”) to receive a percentage of any money the buyer of the debt (the “Assignee”) is able to recover.
Both debt collection companies and claims management companies are required to be regulated by the FCA. Insolvency and Law Ltd is not regulated by the FCA. The act of buying a debt is not a regulated activity, but the act of pursuing a debt on behalf of a debt owner is. That’s why Insolvency and Law Ltd “buys” the debt and doesn’t just pursue it on behalf of debt owners. It would not be FCA compliant if it pursued another person’s debt, but it is excluded from regulation if it is pursuing its own debt. Applying for FCA regulation would be a problem for Peter Murray because the FCA regulatory process requires the beneficial owner of a regulated company to pass certain suitability criteria to ensure that the person is of good standing and the public is protected from exploitation. Enough said.
Peter Murray has “found a business model he can copy to make it better”. In the case of Insolvency and Law it doesn’t actually “buy” the debt in the way that most people understand the word “buy” to mean i.e pay money to acquire something. Insolvency and Law doesn’t pay anything to the Assignor. In fact, quite the opposite. The Insolvency And Law model is that the Assignor has to pay money to it !
It actually attempts to persuade debt owners to pay Insolvency and Law to take the claims on ! That is definitely an example of taking a business model and making it better for himself. He must get a lot of refusals. If Insolvency And Law provide a poor service to the debt owner there is no recourse for making a complaint to its regulatory body because Insolvency And Law doesn’t have one.
You wouldn’t think anyone would pay to hand over their rights to make a claim, but some people have fallen for it and paid Insolvency And Law. How on earth does a convicted, self-declared gangster, who admitted going straight and then falling back into his former criminal ways, with no insolvency or law qualifications, manage to persuade people to pay his company to assign their debt claims to his company ? It’s amazing, but he has had some success.
We have more than one copy of the contracts made between an Assignor (the original debt owner) and the Assignee (Insolvency and Law). Bearing in mind that the Assignor has already paid the Assignee a considerable sum of money for the Assignee to take the case, the contract states that the Assignee can take whatever action it feels necessary in relation to the debt, including doing absolutely nothing ! It can actually just let the claim sit there.
It also lists the fee structure that the Assignee is entitled to deduct for itself from any money recovered. One of the contracts we have seen states that the Assignee (I&L) is entitled to:
10% + vat if the debt is undisputed by the company and is paid; or
20% + vat if the company disputes the debt; or
30% + vat if the company has to file a claim e.g a winding up petition; or
40% + vat if the company ends up in administration or liquidation.
We contacted Peter Murray who at first denied that Insolvency And Law charged these sums. We then sent him the exact wording of those clauses and he was forced to admit that they were correct and responded with “So what?”.
Well, the “So what” is that final clause of 40% + vat. If the debtor company goes into an insolvency process, even if Insolvency And Law has had absolutely nothing to do with it and has just sat there with the debt allowing another creditor to wind up the debtor company, it will charge the Assignor 48% of the money that the administrator or liquidator recovers. That’s the “So what ?”. The Assignor clearly hasn’t realised that is the situation because no sane person would agree to that.
However, the contract is even worse for the Assignor. Insolvency And Law is also entitled to deduct “its costs” in addition to the potential 48% and the fact that the Assignor has already paid money to Peter Murray. The “costs” are unspecified but we can tell you that Peter Murray has a history of grossly inflating costs. The entire debt assignment contract is a means of using someone else’s debt to enrich Peter Murray. Perhaps you think that statement is a bit harsh “using someone else’s debt to enrich Peter Murray”. How about this next revelation which is the clincher.
The contract states that the Assignor is only entitled to receive money from a payment made in settlement of the debt. That’s important because we will come back to it. The original debt owner can only receive a payment from money that the debtor company pays to settle the debt or any part of it. It is not entitled to receive a penny from any other payment that Insolvency And Law might receive.
So what does Peter Murray do ? He gives the debtor company the usual seven days to pay the debt or he will file a winding up petition. That’s OK because he is entitled to do that. Then Peter, being the nice guy he is, offers an olive branch to the company so that it can avoid the winding up petition. He tells the company it could pay him what he calls “a due diligence monitoring fee” every month and in return he will not wind up the company.
Company owners who are trying to do the best for their creditors are effectively being blackmailed. We know of a case where they agreed to pay him. Peter Murray made it absolutely clear that these monitoring fees are not debt repayments and do not reduce the debt in any way. What he is effectively doing is using the Assignor’s original debt to extort money from a company in a way that has no financial benefit for the Assignor. In fact, it makes the Assignor’s position even worse because instead of the company being able to allocate that money to pay off some of the debt, Peter Murray is emptying the company’s bank account so that it may actually be unable to pay the debt in the future. It cannot be right that the basis of Insolvency And Law’s action is that a company is insolvent and unable to pay its debts, yet at the same time it is demanding huge, unjust payments which make the company’s position worse.
You might think that a few thousand pounds a month is a fair sum, but it is not a few thousand pounds per month. We have told Peter Murray that we regard him and his staff as operating a protection racket. Demanding ‘protection money’ is a practice long favoured by gangsters.
But like all protection rackets the gangsters know how to get a victim on the hook and then turn the screw. It wasn’t a few thousand pounds a month. Within three months Peter Murray had increased his ‘monitoring fee’ demands from one company to £60,000 per month. It was at that point the company refused to pay any more. The Assignor derived no financial benefit from this in any way because Peter Murray had ensured that these payments didn’t count as debt payments.
We wrote to Peter Murray pointing out that he was extorting money in a protection racket which is a criminal offence. We have asked him several times to explain what service he provides for the sum of £60,000 per month and how he justifies making demands of that level. He has ignored our requests to justify the payment. In one exchange we wrote:
In your history of gang-related crime I’m sure you’ve been involved in protection rackets before and now you’ve found a white-collar means of continuing it. Your only explanation of why the fee was paid was: “The monitoring fee agreement was willingly entered into by [the directors]. [They] are skilled commercial operators and knew exactly what they were getting into and agreed”.
But the directors did not willingly enter into it. They were trying to save their business to protect everyone who had an interest in it and were the victims of a man who we regard as a “skilled commercial operator” to use Peter Murray’s own term. We responded to his explanation with:
“If that argument was sound there would be no criminal offence of extortion. [It follows that a gangster could use the defence of] “He’s a shopkeeper Your Honour. The protection money was willingly paid by him. He’s a skilled business owner and he knew exactly what he was getting into and agreed”.
The company has advised us that it has ceased all payments and has instructed a solicitor to prosecute Insolvency And Law Ltd for the recovery of all sums paid to it.
We saw a report where Insolvency And Law Ltd lost a relatively small case and had costs awarded against it. Peter Murray threatened to close down his company so that the victor would not be paid his costs. He had a change of heart and paid the bill, but it shows that he would have no issue with voluntarily winding up his own company if he needed to. The current claim the company is making against Insolvency And Law is much greater so we wonder whether Insolvency And Law will repeat the threat if they lose, but this time carry it out.
Peter Murray has had a long-term mutually beneficial relationship with Andrew Rosler of Ideal Corporate Solutions so we wonder if he will attempt to appoint him as the company’s liquidator if that time comes. Andrew Rosler’s involvement with Peter Murray is under scrutiny as we have written asking him to explain it. Peter Murray has gone into print to say that he has had a relationship with Andrew Rosler for more than a decade. We have been advised that at least one company director has reported some of Peter Murray’s activities to the UK Police and also made a report to the regulatory body for insolvency practitioners asking them to look into the relationship.
Mr Rosler was present on a webinar hosted by Peter Murray for High Street Group investors in October 2022. We know because we were hiding in the background. It was billed as an update on the High Street Group insolvency situation, but was in fact a blatant unlawful promotion to try to persuade investors to pay 3%+vat to Peter Murray for his questionable recovery action against Castle Trust and Management Services. We now want to look at cases involving Andrew Rosler and Insolvency And Law because there may be occasions where Peter Murray has stripped companies of cash within two years of putting them into liquidation and, if so, if he has appointed Andrew Rosler as the liquidator, we want to know whether Mr Rosler made any effort to recover those payments for the benefit of all creditors. There may not be these occasions of course, but we won’t know until Mr Rosler has replied to us and we have looked into the cases. At the moment we have no evidence of impropriety on the part of Andrew Rosler, but he certainly needs to check out his business partners more carefully. There has to be something that Peter Murray was getting out of the relationship with Andrew Rosler and we are keen to find out what that was.
We said we would end with an update on the High Street Group case. We have been informed that the PI insurance for Castle Trust and Management Services Ltd is limited to a maximum of £2m. Marcia Abbott of Insolvency And Law initially wrote to investors to inform them that Peter Murray was running a claim against CTMS because it had PI insurance which would cover all the investors who signed up to their action. The letter said that Peter would cap his group at £20m of investment.
She then wrote again to say that the group cap would be reduced to £15m of investment. On both occasions she urged investors to join straightaway before the group was full and they missed out. That’s a standard shady sales practice referred to by hard-sell dodgy salespeople as the FOMO strategy – the Fear Of Missing Out strategy.
So, Peter Murray’s FOMO strategy was to sign up £15m worth of investors to go after insurance of £2m. We don’t call that a strategy. We call it misleading investors into parting with their cash believing they had a chance of recovery. It doesn’t matter to Insolvency And Law because if it signs up £15m worth of investors, each paying 3% + vat upfront fee, it has taken £540,000 off them which, at some time in the future, it will claim has all been used up as their “costs” and there is no money left to refund the investors. Remember the pickpocket analogy from earlier on ?
If you doubt that Peter Murray inflates his costs we refer back to the company he targeted. Using the court’s recommended costs tables and its published court fees we estimated that Insolvency And Law’s costs for its litigant-in-person action and all that it would be entitled to claim in court would be £1,460 give or take a little. The Judge has some leniency in a costs award so let’s err on the side of caution and say that he allowed them to double it and round it up to £3,000. Insolvency And Law informed the company that its costs were £21,000 and the company, not being any the wiser, paid it. Now they have been made aware of the true level of costs they are taking action to recover that payment from Insolvency And Law.
How does Insolvency And Law acquire investors’ personal details ? That’s the question. We have written to Lyndon Vickery who runs the High Street Group Investors Facebook Group. Mr Vickery is a long-term client of Insolvency and Law and is therefore a supporter of Peter Murray and Andrew Rosler. He has had a lot of dealings with them. We have asked Mr Vickery to comment on an allegation that he has been providing investor’s personal details to Peter Murray. Mr Vickery would not allow investors to join his facebook group without providing personal details. We cite an example of an investor who posted on the facebook group that she would not be voting for Peter Murray to be appointed to the HSG Creditor’s Committee. She then received an unsolicited email from Marcia Abbott asking why she wasn’t voting for Peter Murray and inviting her to do so. She doesn’t know how Marcia Abbott acquired her email address. We have asked Mr Vickery to comment on whether Ms Abbott obtained the investor’s email address from him. We know of other HSG investors who were approached out of the blue by Marcia Abbott. They were all members of Mr Vickery’s facebook group and they had not given their email address to Insolvency And Law. We would like any investor who received an unsolicited approach from Marcia Abbott or Peter Murray relating to any investment to contact us. Lyndon Vickery has not had time to respond to our email and we will report back on his response. We frequently warn investors not to trust facebook, whatsapp or googlemail groups because you do not know if the organiser has his/her own personal agenda.
If you are a victim of Insolvency And Law or Peter Murray please contact us. We would like to know of other cases where he has misled investors and/or debt owners, or where he has overcharged people. We would also like to hear from companies which have been unjustly attacked by Peter Murray. We are especially interested in cases where he has sought to bring investors together to mount recovery actions. We have lawyers who will look into his claims about recovering money and will give their opinion on whether or not they stack up. Our advice is that if you have paid any money to Insolvency And Law you should seriously question whether it is in your best interests to promptly ask for it to be refunded.
If you have received an unsolicited approach by Insolvency and Law, Peter Murray or Marcia Abbott attempting to persuade you to assign your debt or to join a recovery action please contact us via our Contact Page. If you would like to report any matter about Insolvency and Law approaching you to join recovery actions we also recommend you contact the Financial Conduct Authority on THIS LINK.
If our opinion that Insolvency And Law Ltd is operating a claims management company is correct (which it is) it would mean that the maximum fee a client would pay is £10,000 because that is the maximum sum allowed by the FCA. If you have paid more than that to Insolvency And Law you may have a claim against the company. We would like to hear from you.
To view a more recent update on Insolvency And Law Ltd please click on this LINK
Peter Murray and the Insolvency and Law Scam.