UPayCard Scam and Moorwand Ltd

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.

 

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