Carbon credit scammers selling worthless investments to vulnerable investors at sky-high prices were shut down by the High Court in the public interest.
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A network of 13 interlinked companies was closed by the court after hearing 100,000 investors or more were scammed out of millions of pounds by the companies.
The business operation had a monthly turnover of £5 million and spent more than £200,000 on lawyers to make sure their investment contracts were ‘water tight’
The fraudsters even trained staff at other firms about how to sell the credits.
But behind the slick façade, the operation was run to con elderly and inexperienced investors out of the life savings.
Despite repeated warnings from financial regulators about buying carbon credits, naïve investors still fall for the scam.
Carbon credit con
In the past 24 months, Insolvency Service senior investigator Chris Mayhew confirmed another19 companies have been closed by the courts after swindling nearly £24 million from over 1,500 investors.
In the latest case, Eco-Synergies Ltd bought credits for 65p each and sold then on at £630 each – a profit of more than 865%.
Carbon credits can be traded on financial markets and are licences letting a company emit a tonne of carbon dioxide.
However, the market trades are generally in huge quantities of credits between companies, not individual certificates from private investors.
“The huge uplift in price left investors no chance of making a profit,” said Mayhew.
Eco-Synergies bought £2.3 million of credits and sold them for £19 million through 12 companies, with salesmen lying about the likely returns.
“The victims in this scheme have lost their money,” said Mayhew. “If anyone is called by any of the callous salesmen and offered carbon credits, then hang up because the call is a scam,” he said.
Bogus wine investment
In a separate case, the Insolvency Service also applied to the High Court to close two wine investment businesses.
Capital Bordeaux Investments and Capital Bordeaux Investment Corporate were wound up in the public interest.
Colin Cronin, an investigation supervisor with the Insolvency Service, said: ‘The companies cynically focussed on people who had already been victims of other wine investment scams and traded as helping them to try and recover some of their original investment.”
Both companies were a front for a scam aimed at using investor cash to buy wine for their own investment, he said.
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