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An email trail of a carbon credit scam. Featuring Carbon-ex, 360 Invest Group, Carbon-Expert, and Colemans-CTTS

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360 Invest GroupThis is a story about how a pensioner was scammed into buying carbon credits as an investment. Miriam contacted REDD-Monitor in August 2014, to ask whether her 4,000 carbon credits were worth anything. She told me that 360 Invest Group had persuaded her to buy the carbon credits and that she’d paid the money to a firm of solicitors, Colemans-CTTS LLP, in Kingston upon Thames.

I told Miriam that unfortunately her carbon credits were not worth very much at all. She’d been scammed. I suggested she should report the details to Action Fraud.

Miriam recently sent a series of emails to REDD-Monitor asking for them to be posted to “help others not to make the same mistake”.

While this scam involved carbon credits, the best advice if you are cold called with any investment offers, is to put the phone down. Here’s what UK pensions minister Ros Altmann said recently about cold calls:

Reputable financial organisations will not call you out of the blue, so if someone contacts you about your pension or with offers of a pension ‘review’ I would suggest just hang up, or delete the email.

The sales pitch

Here’s part of 360 Invest Group’s sales pitch. REDD-Monitor wrote about 360 Invest Group in August 2013. An archived version of the company’s website is available here.

Miriam received this nonsense by email from 360 Invest Group in August 2011, with the subject line, “The best opportunity of 2011”:

In a market worth in excess of 188 Billion Dollars, demand for Carbon Offsets is rising dramatically due to companies such as Marks & Spencer, Jaguar Land Rover, Aviva & the Co-Operative, to name just four, committing comprehensively to carbon neutrality with their competitors following suit, this drive for demand is consequently pushing up the price of credits fast.
 
360 Invest Group have exclusive access to 35,000 VCS from the APX European Exchange at £4.96. These same credits are currently available on the UK Carbon Trading Exchange for £14.30.
 
To reserve an allocation or simply request additional information about this SIPP Approved project click here
 
Obviously, due to the limited availability, these credits will be available on a first come basis. In addition, the maximum purchase per client is 5000 credits.
 
All 360investgroup products use UK Lawyers and Banks.

The Carbon-ex account

Miriam first had to create an account with Carbon-ex. REDD-Monitor wrote about Carbon-ex in March 2013. Carbon-ex supplied carbon credits to 360 Invest Group, Carbon-Expert, MH Carbon and other companies selling carbon credits as investments.

From: info@carbon-ex.co.uk
Subject: Account created
Date: 31 March 2011
To: Miriam
 
0845 519 6142 • www.carbon-ex.lu • info@carbon-ex.co.uk
 
Dear Miriam,
 
Welcome to Carbon-ex! We can confirm your account has been set up and you are all ready to start trading carbon credits.
 
Your login details are:
 
Email:
Password:
 
Logging in to the website at: www.carbon-ex.lu/users/login will enable you to update your user details and view your portfolio. You will also be able to change your password in the User Details section of your account.
 
If you have any further questions please contact us on info@carbon-ex.co.uk.
 
Once again, welcome to Carbon-ex.
 
Kind regards,
 
Carbon-ex
 
carbon_ex

Closing the sale: “Trust me! I’m the expert here!”

A few weeks later came a quick-fire email exchange started by Nick Taylor, Chief Trading Officer at 360 Invest Group. Most of the exchange below took place in less than two hours, in May 2011:

Nick Taylor ntaylor@360propertyinvest.com:
Hi

How are you today? All well I hope…

Are you free to take a call this afternoon, as I would like to discuss a possible investment for you in the Carbon project in Mongolia.

I await your prompt response.

Kind Regards,

Nick
 

Miriam:
PLEASE RING AFTER 4.15

 
Nick Taylor:
Are you wanting to invest in the project then?!
 

Miriam:
If one can trust China

 
Nick Taylor:
Trust me! I’m the expert here!

4.87 in, 10.50-12 expected exit price…

How much do you think you could invest if I give you til the end of May to settle a trade?

Nick
 

Miriam:
to the value of 4K

 
Nick Taylor:
OK. Can I allocate 1,000 @ 4.87 ( 4,870 ) + 0.5% comms ( 24.35 ) = Total: 4,894.35GBP

That is the smallest position available…

Mark said you are awaiting funds through a Probate, is that correct?

Nick
 

Miriam:
1000 shares is all i can afford

 
Nick Taylor:
OK, I can do that.

Are you happy for me to proceed with this??

Nick
 

Miriam:
yes,go ahead

 

The solicitors: Colemans-CTTS

Colemans-CTTS, the solicitors, handled the contracts and the payments for their clients, Carbon-ex.

From: “Nick Taylor” ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Date: 5 September 2011
To: Miriam
 
Miriam,
 
Please could you get the contract back to Colemans today and let me know when you expect to send funds?
 
Kind Regards,
 
Nick
 
taylor

From: Miriam
Sent: 05 September 2011
To: Nick Taylor
Subject: Re:
 
Just came back and found your e-mail.Will return contract and a cheque for 4K will pay the difference on the 15 09 Regards M
 

 

Taylor replied the next day: “OK that´s great, thank you!”

Olivia Jones at Colemans-CTTS confirmed that Miriam’s payment had arrived:

From: “Olivia Jones”
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
Date: 26 September 2011
To: “Miriam”
 
Dear 2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot,
 
The cheque’s have cleared and we have completed the deal, attached is the certificate, original documents will follow in the post.
 
Kind regards
 
Olivia Jones
 

Two weeks later, Nick Taylor sent an email with a link to a BBC news story:

From: “Nick Taylor” ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Subject: RE: News Link
Date: 29 September 2011
To: “‘Nick Taylor'” ntaylor@360investgroup.com
 
Hello,
 
Please click on the link below- I wouldn’t have my money with the Bank!
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15077344
 
Kind Regards,
 
Nick
 

Carbon-Expert

In February 2012, Miriam received an email from Carbon-Expert, a Marbella-based company that sold carbon credits to the public as investments. REDD-Monitor wrote about Carbon-Expert in April 2013:

Carbon-ExpertCarbon-Expert

By March 2012, Miriam was getting worried. First she wrote to Colemans-CTTS:

From: Miriam
Sent: 03 March 2012 11:10
To: Olivia Jones
Subject: Re: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
 
hello Olivia,I am sorry to trouble you,but I hope you could help:I had sent several e-mails to Carbonex.and never received a reply.Do you know how to get in touch with Nick or any others .They were supposed to keep me informed of progress and advise when to sale my shares I am a little uneasy Many thanks for your reply MVB
 

Oliver Jones at Colemans-CTTS wrote back and copied her email to her clients at Carbon-ex, but offered no further help:

From: “Olivia Jones” Olivia.Jones@colemans-ctts.co.uk
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
Date: 5 March 2012 15:52:15 GMT
To: “Miriam”
Cc: “Tania Cleary” Tania.Cleary@colemans-ctts.co.uk, olga.gille@carbon-ex.lu, customersupport@carbon-ex.lu
 
Dear 2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot
 
Thank you for your e-mail.
 
I have copied in my clients to your e-mail, who should be able to assist you.
 
Kind Regards
 
Olivia
 

Then Miriam wrote to Nick Taylor at 360 Invest:

From: Miriam
Sent: 11 March 2012
To: Nick Taylor
Subject: Re:
 
hi Nick ,I thought you were meant to keep in touch and from time to time to advise of progress with investments and when is it time to sell Please let me know all is well Miriam
 

 
Miriam received a reply from Kevin Hart, Chief Trading Officer at 360 Invest. Hart told her that Nick Taylor had moved to the USA.

From: khart@360investgroup.com
Subject: 360 Invest Group
Date: 12 March 2012
To: “‘Miriam'”
 
Hi Miriam,
 
Re your email below can you give me a call at your earliest convenience.
 
Many Thanks
 
Kind Regards
 
Kevin Hart

360 Invest Group disappeared later in 2012. Carbon-ex disappeared in 2013. Carbon-Expert is still in Marbella, and according to its website is still selling carbon credits to companies to offset their emissions. In 2014, Colemans-CTTS made a profit of £1.71 million and £3.3 million in 2015. In August 2015, the company was bought by Simpson Millar LLP.

Miriam lost a total of £23,000 to the scammers.
 

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24 Comments

  1. I really wish Action Fraud would come on here and advise us of their progress.
    I feel for Miriam as I also lost just under a 100,000 buying 14,000 credits and here nothing other than the London and Colonial wanting management fees for looking after my worthless fund.

  2. Colemans-CTTS was tight with quite a few of these scam companies, Select Global for one and I have seen their name link to others on this site as well. Does anyone know if the people were kept on by Simpson Millar LLP, if they did it might be worth being very careful when their name comes up in any investment.

  3. I also was scammed by 360 invest group. Kevin Heart, Anthony Crookes and others were names of the people that i dealt with.
    They were very convincing that this was an opportunity to make a good return on my investment.
    They scammed me out of £37,500.

  4. I was conned by 360investgroup. My credits did exist on a register but now they have disappeared. The register people told me to cont act the FCA which I did but to no avail. The credits may be worthless but how can they disappear from a register. I would also like to question the role of Coleman solicitors, they are giving the con men credibility, they must know it is a scam.

  5. This is exactly what happened to me. I also lost about 23000 in all. I suppose there is no chance of prosecuting these people in order to get my money back? Any contact details so I could track them down would be really appreciated.
    Thank you

  6. Given the amount of money lost by investors which must run into many hundreds of thousands of pounds. The role played by Colemans must be suspect, surely they might have known it was a scam. By acting in the way that they did they have gave the impression that it was a bona fide investment.
    It might be worthwhile reporting them to the Law society.

  7. Alan. Already reported both them and Thompson & Cooke who also acted for Select Global in the same capacity, to the SRA for their involvement. Thompson & Cooke did send me a threatening e-mail saying that if I ever connected them to Select Global they would sue me, SRA took a very dim view of that.

  8. Carbon credit sold by different companies around the world, I was sold CC by AGT and lost more than GBP 38,500, how could all of these companies sell CC and then just disappear? how did all of this start?

  9. I was in for slightly more via 360 invest group/Nick Taylor/Colemans. 360 warmed me up with other sales people first and many positive sounding emails and news references. All twisted up with lies. This is a common technique of getting your mind to accept the opportunity then ‘loading’ you up with bigger investments. They present an urgency and are polished on the phone.

    I met Kevin Hart in the London ‘office’. At least he seemed to be a real person. He had a list of excuses for the long delays. I think they were all lies also. Nick became rude when I sensed something wasn’t right and never spoke to me again. I have many emails from all of them, so do the police now.

    I spoke with all the top people/con men for hours before investing. They had slick answers for all my questions, of course. There was the recovery scam after that but I knew it was a scam by then and did not ‘convert’ anything. There was also the sharing of investors details to other scammers. I keep my phone switched off these days. Scammers don’t seem to leave messages.

    No money has ever come back from it though. The SRA may still be investigating Colemans. There is no feedback from action fraud.

    If it sounds to good to be true then it is a scam.

  10. My credits disappeared fron the VCS registry http://www.v-c-s.org WHen I contacted them I received this reply:

    We understand how unfortunate it is that you are unable to access the credits you purchased from this entity and share your frustrations. Because the holder of the account which held the credits never submitted an audit of their books to VCS, our registries will not be able to assess the validity
    of any third party documents (eg, receipts) and therefore will not be able to verify that any party is the sole owner of any particular credit. Absent the evidence that would be provided by an audit of the entity’s holdings, recordation of a VCU in
    the account of the holder is prima facie evidence of that holder’s entitlement to that VCU. Without the cooperation of the account holder, that account holder is assumed to be the owner of the credits.

    I contacted the FCA as they suggested but it was a waste of time as it is not a regulated investment.

    Has anybody else had their credits disappear or are still able to locate them on a registry ?

  11. I have written my 14,000 credits off as don’t seem to be getting anywhere with Action Fraud.
    Can’t afford to as it was my main pension fund but less stressful.

  12. I too was scammed by Select global and they must have passed my details on to Enviro. I was always a bit wary so no great amount of cash went to either, but enough to be upsetting. I can’t think how others that paid out more must be feeling.
    Like others I think we have been let down by authorities there must be some line of reclaim. After carbon credits select global came back with a sure fired way to make a profit by investing in a movie that was going to be a block buster. Fortunately I did not go for that one, and I have not heard of the movie since.
    I gave my details to Action Fraud but heard no more.

  13. My name is Lee I have also been scammed out of £268,000 investing in carbon credits with a company called Green Trade. This is all I had left from a negligence claim, which left me disabled.The first that I knew of it been a scam was when Action Fraud got in touch with me, they told me that they had ceased all their assets and that they had been detain in custody.There was also another company involved called Oakmount to whom I paid the money they were supposedly the custodians of my credits, I have been trying to contact them for four months but just keep getting the answer machine saying that the person at that extension is not available. I am also constantly ringing London Police,who are meant to be dealing with the case only to be told that they are no further forward because they don’t have the resources. Everyday I am at my wits end and don’t know where to turn.

  14. Lee, Unfortunately Action Fraud is the wrong name for this department, should read Inaction Fraud, after filling out forms, phone calls and e-mails with them, there only reply was “Thank you for the information you have provided, this will be filed for future reference” and London Fraud Police are even more inactive than that. Having given them the private address of a scammer that was less than 30 miles from London they claimed that this was out of their jurisdiction and could not do anything.

  15. Interested to hear if anyone who invested carbon credits in a SIPp particularly with liberty SIPP

  16. I have been contacted by a company called Talbot Management who say they can sell my carbon credits in an auction on 20february. Covers what I paid for them but I have to sent a 10% fee upfront – capital exchange fee – which they say is fully refundable 7 days after I receive the sale funds. Contracts coming in post. Is this possible

  17. @Jennifer Sortain – Talbot Asset Management is running a recovery room scam. You can read more about recovery room scams here.

    Here are the red flags:

    1. Talbot Asset Management cold called you. No legitimate company would cold call you with financial advice.

    2. They are asking for an upfront payment.

    3. The unfortunate reality is that your carbon credits are worthless – I know this is bad news, but it’s better than being scammed again.

    4. The company registered its website just over one year ago. It was registered anonymously.

    5. On its website, the company claims to have been around for 95 years. In fact, the text is cut and pasted (with a couple of changes) from a US firm called Baird Funds.

    6. Talbot Asset Management has contacted several other people with similar recovery room scams.

    Please report this phone call to Action Fraud – 0300 123 2040.

  18. Jennifer Sortain

    DO NOT PAY unless you like to have your money stolen. As Chris says the firm are a bunch of scammers looking to lie, cheat and steal from people like you.

    EVERY call you receive in the future about investments, advice, buy backs and so on will be from a scammer. There will be NO exceptions.

    If you need any advice please post here, we will make sure you keep hold of your money and it out of the hands of lowlife scum like the people calling you right now.

  19. for Jennifer Sortain. I too have paid small amount, in early March, to Talbot in connection with Bull Markets Solutions Ltd promised return of monies quickly, but met with request for more up front before return. Have you or anybody received money back from Talbot Asset Management ?

  20. A very similar story to my own. I was scammed out of £37,500. 360 invest and Alternative investments.

  21. Hi,I also got scammed by this company luckily l only parted with £5000 hard earned cash which l will never see again.These people have got no morals at all and must have scammed countless numbers of pensioners.

  22. Well I think that 360 invest are up and running again back to their old tricks and it’s not only the United Kingdom I have had a call from them and I just clicked on the ad on my Gmail account and hello few days later I get a call from the company and it was woman who talks about how it works and says that you get a expert advice on the money you invest in the company and I’m in new Zealand and I think the person who i spoke with nick Taylor expert in ripping off old people and stealing there hard earned money i hung up on the fella nick Taylor wouldn’t let me talk i had to listen to his lies and then when I said that I was not interested i spoke with the woman rep and she wanted me to reconsider my descion in not going with then they are out there again scamming people first account they sent me was a Hong Kong city Bank UK and then the young lady rung me and said that the account details were the wrong ones I was put on to nick Taylor and I just hung up on him as he was rude and the young lady just kept calling and calling and email me all the time are they a legitimate investment company will obviously not but they are really going global as far as new Zealand so just I will inform you that they are back up and doing the same thing ripping off people again

  23. Yes this is all very familiar to me. I had the misfortune to speak with Kevin Hart on numerous occasions and paid £4960 for 1000 VCS at £4.96 each. Same deal, carbon credit contract held with Colemans ctts. Apparently they had “carried out Money Laundering and identity checks before issuing the contract. Looks as if my hard earned cash is in someone else’s pocket.

  24. For Peter Mcgregor – could you give some more details about the names used by that ‘investment’ firm – was it the original Nick Taylor? Who was the lady? What was the firm name, address, website, phone number?
    What advert did you click?

    Thanks