A salesman who conned customers out of more than £1 million by making false claims about investing in carbon credits has been banned from running a company for 15 years.
Anthony Allen, 31, denied he sold the carbon credits as an investment, but investigators from the government’s Insolvency Agency’s public interest unit found scripts for sales staff that referred to high returns they could earn.
The investigators concluded that Allen misled customers into handing over £1.1 million for worthless voluntary emission reduction carbon credits.
The Insolvency Service explained that after years of investigations into unlinked firms selling carbon credits, no genuine market allows ordinary investors to resell their holdings.
Despite this, Allen told his clients they could generate high returns from their investments when he knew they could not.
Investors paid almost double for worthless investments
Allen told investigators: “The carbon credits were not sold as an investment, as I don’t believe it was an investment. Some customers believed it was, not due to anything we said”.
Allen traded the carbon credits through a company called Global Neutral Ltd, based in London’s prestigious Canary Wharf financial district.
He set the company up after World Future, another firm selling worthless carbon credits that he was involved with was closed in the public interest.
Paul Titherington, official receiver at the public interest unit stated that Allen only had eight months experience of selling carbon credits when he set up Global Neutral.
He then employed 12 sales staff from World future without an interview to carry on World Future’s business.
They sold carbon credits for Allen at a mark-up of between 107% and 195% of the price paid by Global Neutral.
Misleading investment claims
“The company persuaded members of the public to part with substantial sums by falsely claiming that customers would be able to easily sell the units and make large profits,” said Titherington.
“In reality there was no market to sell their units, and so the customers have lost all the money they believed they were investing. The misleading scheme operated only for the benefit of those running the company.
“As is so often the case, if an investment scheme appears too good to be true, it probably is.”