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Financial Advisors Online is running a carbon credit recovery room scam

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Financial Advisors Online is a company offering an exit strategy for people who were scammed into buying carbon credits as investments. Needless to say, for an upfront payment. And, needless to say, Financial Advisors Online is running a recovery room scam.

The recovery room part of the carbon credits scam involves offers to sell your carbon credits (at some point in the future) and in return for a payment (payable in advance). There are variations on this part of the scam, the payment, for example, may be described as a “deposit”, a “commission”, a “handling fee”, “insurance” or in the case of Financial Advisors Online as a “Fixed Tender Security Cost”. It doesn’t matter what the company calls itself, or how convincing, polite and friendly the salesperson on the end of the phone sounds. No reputable company would cold call you. And if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Financial Advisors Online has appeared several times in the comments following a post on REDD-Monitor about MH Carbon. In each case the company cold called people and claimed to be able to sell their carbon credits.

So let’s try to find out who is behind this company. The first problem is that a google search for the company name brings up lots of results that are nothing to do with this company, but are about financial advisers who provide information online.

A search on Open Corporates reveals no record of a company called Financial Advisors Online:

There’s a discussion on whocallsme.com by people who have been cold called by Financial Advisors Online. A comment from “Moirman” could be applied to anyone who cold calls you with financial advice. “Moirman” suggests telling Financial Advisors Online to “foxtrot oscar”.

There’s a discussion on lovemoney.com started by someone calling themselves “afc13”, who was cold called by Financial Advisors Online:

They don’t ask you to make another investment but there is what they call an insurance charge of 55p per credit, which is paid upfront into a holding account in a UK bank and then refunded when the sale goes through, supposedly on 18 December. They say this is their eighth sale of carbon credits and their next one is in February.

Financial Advisors Online referred “afc13” to scamadvisors.com, which gives Financial Advisors Online’s website a “High Trust Rating”. Sensibly, scamadvisors.com points out that, “Our rating is guide. Normal common sense needs to prevail.”


UPDATE – 20 December 2013: scamadvisors has done a “manual review” of Financial Advisors Online and now rates it as “Low Trust Rating”:


Financial Advisors Online’s website is registered anonymously. If you don’t know who you’re giving your money to, it may be a good idea to keep hold of it.

An “About Us” page on the company’s website tells us nothing useful about the company such as the names of the company’s directors and their previous experience, for example. Instead we learn that,

Financial Advisors Online were [sic] created to cater for all aspects of the commodities market and have been actively assisting investors reach their fiscal goals for over 10 years.

And,

With a diverse and extensive client base of Blue Chip companies and SME’s [sic], rapidly expanding across Europe, Financial Advisors Online are uniquely positioned to broker purchases within the Gold, Rare Earth Metals, Bio –Fuels and Carbon Offset markets.

Financial Advisors Online gives an address on its website: Rue Abbe Cuypers 3, Brussells [sic], Belgium, 1040. The Belgian regulator, the Financial Services and Markets Authority, has put out a warning about Financial Advisors Online. FSMA points out that the company is not registered in Belgium and is not allowed to provide investment services in or from Belgium. In addition,

The FSMA strongly advises against responding to any offer of financial services made by Financial Advisors Online and against transferring money to any account number this firm might mention.

If anyone is still tempted to give money to Financial Advisors Online (today’s top tip: don’t), here’s a contract from Financial Advisors Online. It’s interesting to note that although the company has an address in Brussels, it asks for payments to be made to a bank in the UK.


 
TERMS OF SALE

  • Financial Advisors Online agree to represent the SELLER on the agreed sale of 2,500 Carbon Offsets
  • The Date of proposed sale Wednesday 18th December 2013
  • The Fixed Tender Offset cost. (Insurance) £0.55 pence
  • Total Insurance cost £1,375 GBP
  • Price per Carbon Offset £9.25 pence
  • Total gross amount to be paid to the SELLER £24,500 GBP

There are no fees or commissions to be paid by the SELLER to Financial Advisors Online from the above sale.
 
Fixed Tender Security Cost is taken against the amount of Offset units per holding and is fixed at £0.55 per offset.
 
Payments are made to Financial Advisors Online nominated UK Bank.
 
The SELLER understands that any and all transfer costs/fees incurred by the SELLERS bank, are to be undertaken by the SELLER. It is the SELLERS responsibility to provide clear, accurate details of their receiving bank or currency Exchange Company.
 
Should the SELLER require payment in a currency other than Sterling Pounds, Financial Advisors Online will require written confirmation by no later than the agreed date of sale. The SELLER understands that this contract is fully binding from the date of signature. This contract must be returned to Financial Advisors Online signed and dated within 48hrs of receipt.
 

CLAUSES

  1. In the event of delays or cancellation to the agreed contracted sale date herein and where the fault lies with the BUYER (unforeseen acts, insolvency, acts of terrorism) and not Financial Advisors Online, FAOL will guarantee to sell the SELLER’s position within 90 days at no less than the price indicated herein.
  2. In the event of delays or cancellation to the agreed date of sale and a revised date is not achieved (clause 1) FAOL guarantee to pay the SELLER back a full refund of their Fixed Tender security cost illustrated within the contract plus an additional 5% fee Fixed Tender security cost. This is applicable in the event the SELLER does not want FAOL to provide an alternative sale date as stated in (clause 1).
  3. The agreed sale date is not subject to any currency fluctuation and contracted sale price is non-negotiable.
  4. FAOL reserves the right to refuse acceptance of a contract should any Anti Money Laundering laws (AML) fail to be adhered to.
  5. In the event of the SELLER cancellations, insolvency, unforeseen circumstances leading to the SELLER not proceeding with the contracted sale or death the Fixed Tender security cost is held with FAOL and used towards the BUYER’s shortfall. Subsequently, the SELLER receives no proceeds from the sale. In this instance, the Offset’s remain in terms of full ownership, with the SELLER.

FINANCIAL ADVISORS ONLINE WILL BE LEGALLY BOUND TO THE TERMS AND CLAUSES OF THE CONTRACT UPON RECEIPT OF ALL RELEVANT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS AND ANY OR ALL COSTS OR FEES ASSOCIATED.
 

Signed Signed: ………………………………
Derek Bell, Chief Compliance Officer
Date: 11th December 2013 Date: ………………………………

 
Appendix:

  • BUYER: refers to the Offsetter and/or their representatives who require to purchase.
  • SELLER: refers to the registered owner of the Offsets.
  • FAOL: Financial Advisors Online.
  • CER: Certified Emission Reductions.
  • EUA: European Unit Allowances.
  • VER: Voluntary Emission Reductions.
  • CRT: Climate Reserve Tonne.

 

 

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25 Comments

  1. How interesting that one scam gives birth to another. Really glad to know about this. Is there no end to the carbon credit scam?

  2. I have sent details of my carbon credits to many firms offering to sell them.All but one firm require an investment in order to open an account with them. The latest yesterday was a firm by the name of London Prestige Capital (Mark Ford / Lorraine Park)
    They require a purchase of £2000 of gold bullion.
    Another company is Enviro Associates and the company not requiring an upfront payment is fewealthmanagement (they have not been in touch for a while)It seems to me that all people involved should get together a list of all these companies and send their names to the fraud squad for investigation / ratification.
    Does anyone have any comments.

  3. Very interesting reading. My initial ‘scam’ was via HSL acquisitions
    (MICHAEL THOMPSON)in Hong Kong who stole £1916.47 (China Exit Tax)! ! !
    Second scam via JAMES ALEXANDER of Financial Advisors On-Line who very convincingly assured me of his honesty (hu) and stupidly I paid £833.25 ‘Insurance’ which would be repaid on Dec 18th 2013. I was somewhat shocked when Mr Alexander said my payment had not been received although subsequently my bank investigated and it had been paid to their account.
    London Prestige Capital have now contacted me re selling my carbon credits and require £1000 – in tears and dont know where to turn now.

  4. Cold call by London Prestige Capital (Mr. Hamilton. After some quibbling the “gold purchase” came down to £1000 from £1500. This buy (or a direct payment of same amount) is to get you on their system and platform as a client.

    The promise is: “we will then start to pitch your VCUs through our Corporate and Retail Sales Desks. The minimum we will be looking to achieve will be GBP 3.10. and the maximum would be GBP 5.20 This can be achieved within a three to six month time frame….”

    This is a company with a number of office address and name changes the past 1.6 years with the 100% shareholder a 23 year director.

  5. Very strange – Further to my mail above on 20 dec., I have had another email from London Prestige Capital (Miss Poly Windsor) stating that my VER’s are worth between 1p & 70p at most. She also states that they do not deal in carbon trading only gold bullion but they will try and find individuals / companies who wish to retire their carbon footprint and put them in touch with me !!

  6. I have been contacted by several firms offering to sell my carbon credits, including both Financial Advisors Online (James Alexander) and London Prestige Capital (Christopher Hamilton), with essentially the same stories as outlined above about making an upfront purchase of insurance or gold “to open a trading account”. I was interested to see that Miss Polly Windsor said London Prestige Capital do not deal in carbon trading as she sent a email to me today saying:
    “Once we have the relevant information, we will then start to pitch your VCUs through our Corporate and Retail Sales Desks. The minimum we will be looking to achieve will be GBP 4.18 and the maximum would be GBP 5.16. This can be achieved within a three to six month time frame and you will be kept up to date via our monthly trading report through your designated trader”. What are we to make of that?!

  7. I think all these companies and people use fictitious names. I will ask Christopher when they next get in touch with me.

  8. Their trading platform might be fake and you will never see your gold. Gold has established market if you want to trade in gold futures then do it through public exchange, you don’t need their trading platform. If you want to invest in gold certificates then do it through your bank, most banks have that kind of investment instruments or do it in a publicly listed gold ETF.

  9. I was contacted today by Spencer Green from Robson Langley Ltd wanting to sell the new scam product Graphene.The company was Incorporated on 18th Nov 2013.Needless to say I did not stay on phone too long as these scammers have been sold my contact details.Stay clear of this company any company selling Graphene.

  10. Many thanks Chris – will look into your info
    Has anyone had any dealings with Scott wilkie and the wealth advsiory ? all their finances go through Woodside Corporate Services who are FCA registered ??????

  11. does anyone have any info on thewelathadvisory.co.uk – i contacted them after seeing their info on FSA website – are they another scam ? ? ?

  12. @Rosemary Oates (#12) – Where did you find The Wealth Advisory on the FSA website? If you could send a link that would be great. (Incidentally, FSA has been called the Financial Conduct Authority since April 2013.)

    The Wealth Advisory is run by David Martin (of Carbon Expert fame).

  13. ‘Financial Services on line’ have been one of the more convincing following on from William Perkins, Glenleigh Trading and James Eden before that.
    It seems that once you acknowledge that you wish to exit Carbon Credits your details are passed from one ‘Company’ to another. Charles Beaumont from fsol must have rung at least half a dozen times assuring me of the progress of the Dec 18 exit- the UK number worked up to early January.
    I fully agree that a concerted action group would be sensible – any ideas as to how to rally the Troops?

  14. One sucker here well and truly stitched by Finacial advisors online!! James Anderson – Main contact very smooth an convincing. Charles Barclay his boss even more convincing. Their compliance division adds to the feeling you ar dealig with a real company. Think I noticed Mrs. Anderson in the accounts epartment!! Don’t have any idea I i still own the credits albeit probably worthless! In the iterests of my testicles have not informed my other half of the scale o the loss!! Did report to the fraud police hopefully if enough people o the same they will investigate.

  15. I too have been called by London Prestige Capital who claim to have a sale for Carbon Credits arranged to a Chinese Haulage Company and require ,e to contribute to a surety bond to stop me pulling out. When I mentioned the adverse reports in REDD Monitor he said it was a misunderstanding with a couple of people who later realised this and became clients of his. Do any of you who have written here agree with this statement?

  16. Chris, I have been called today be a company called Sterling & Bond claiming to be able to sell my AGT carbon credits but I will need to match any amount in buying VOIP minutes that they invest in with a promised return of 12% over 18 months.

    What do you think?

  17. I was also contacted by Sterling and Bond and decide to do some research. Firstly, what on earth is http://www.voipinternational.ru the product they are selling? Are they selling internet usage? Must be a scam. the who is says the site was made 8/5/14. Red flag!

    Reading the brochure they send mentions red lead business services. the director is a man called Victor Falade. google him and this article says he is a former employee of capital alternatives http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2013/03/danger-green-investment-from-c.html

    on this message board http://www.safeconcerts.com/forum/threads.asp?forum_urn=124&t_urn=37225&pgt=4 he is linked to Diane Szalay…

    Szalay Dubai – a guy called Gabor Szalay was associated with Capital Alternatives in Dubai according to this poster http://cag-brokers.pissedconsumer.com/capital-alternatives-group-aka-cag-brokers-are-selling-fake-carbon-credits-diamonds-and-palm-oil-with-no-intention-of-liquidating-your-investment-20131210462821.html

    Gabor also runs Provident Real Estate apparently http://ae.linkedin.com/pub/gabor-szalay/13/74/575. it doesn’t mention capital alternatives there, but does say smoething about brabo – a company he directs that talks about alternative investments…

    Every Gabor Szalay article is heavily linked to a man called Steve Graham – I found this very funny… especially the coments http://cag-brokers.pissedconsumer.com/cag-brokers-in-dubai-selling-fake-carbon-credits-and-diamounds-20131124459580/3.html

    I have been unable to find anything positive on the people mentioned in order to provide a balanced argument.

    It is more than likely that Sterling and Bond is a restarted Capital Alternatives and therefore it is a chance that this is a scam.

    probably a Ponzi scheme

  18. Mohammed, I have been approached by them too – from their Dubai office (?). I would be very wary as they too fit the profile of the above mentioned companies. Haven’t been able to find any confirmation of their supposed registration and license numbers…

  19. Hi Chris,
    I am talking to a gentleman who says his company can sell carbon credits to their corporate clients. Can you tell me if they are a genuine company?
    Here is the latest email:
    Dear Mr. Baj Kang,

    My apologies for not being in contact with you today. I have been in a
    various meetings and am about to go into my final one of the day. I do
    not have a response as yet from our corporate client regarding helping
    you exit a few of your carbon holdings but I will chase them up again on
    Monday and will then call you on Tuesday, after the bank holiday, and
    give you an update.

    Have a nice long weekend and I will be in contact with you on Tuesday.

    Thank you and kind regards,

    Matthew.

    Mr. Matthew Carr
    Corporate Investment Director

    Bernd Otten Invest
    Corporate Services
    Master Samuelsgatan 60
    Stockholm 111 21
    Sweden

    Tel: +(44)845 591 9663
    Web: http://www.berndotteninvest.com

    Bernd Otten Invest is a trademark and trading name of Christian Bernd
    Otten.
    EEA authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm
    reference number: 471125).

  20. hi guys, is anybody knows if the people worked a AGT still in Dubai? i will go shortly to Dubai and I want to catch them. if some one have any info about them can you please shared.
    thanks

  21. Are these people really who they say they are (msrpr)? They want an advance payment of the amount of your credits payments in order to seek recovery from the original carbon credit company of your credits payments by chasing the directors/owners of the company. They offer to return 50% of the recovery amount and to deduct from their fee the original advance payment.