in Thailand, UK

An email trail of a carbon credit scam (part 2). Featuring 360 Invest Group, Carbon-ex, and Colemans-CTTS

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360 Invest GroupIn April 2016, REDD-Monitor wrote a post featuring a series of emails that ouline how a pensioner called Miriam was scammed into handing over £23,000 for carbon credits, which the scammers claimed were an investment. Ten days ago, Miriam sent REDD-Monitor some more emails. This post features these new emails.

The story is pretty much self explanatory from the emails. 360 Invest Group convinced Miriam to buy the carbon credits. Miriam created an account with Carbon-ex. Payments went to Colemans-CTTS, a firm of solicitors with offices in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, Manchester and London.

Once Miriam had been conned into making a first “investment”, 360 Invest Group continued the scam, contacting her regularly with more “investment opportunities”.

The sales pitch

In December 2010, Mark Ward, Senior Portfolio Manager at 360 Invest Group sent Miriam a corporate brochure:

From: Mark Ward mward@360investgroup.com
Date: 14 December 2010
Subject: Introduction to 360 Invest Group
To: Miriam
 
Dear Miriam,
 
Please see the attached file which will enable you to look at our corporate brochure as promised.
 
Kind Regards
 
Mark Ward
 
360 Group

 
Then, in February 2011, Ward decided to show off his knowledge of the Kyoto Protocol. His email includes a link to Carbon Trust, a genuine company, and another to the UNFCCC website. Of course, Ward doesn’t mention that carbon credits are not a suitable investment for individuals. He gives no information about voluntary carbon markets, or the fact that there is no secondary market, meaning that there is in effect no way of reselling carbon credits. The carbon credits he was selling were worthless.

From: Mark Ward mward@360investgroup.com
Date: 1 February 2011
Subject: The Kyoto Protocol / UNFCCC
To: Miriam
 
Dear Miriam,
 
The Kyoto Protocol set legally-binding targets for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It also provided flexible mechanisms to stimulate investment in developing countries.
 
Read more about negotiations at Copenhagen COP15 regarding its successor.
 
The Protocol’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developed countries amount to a 5% reduction from 1990 levels, to be met over the five-year period 2008-2012. They place a higher burden on developed countries because they have historically been responsible for most of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere.
 
How it works
 
Developed countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. In addition, they can use three market-based mechanisms:
 

  • Emissions trading
    Creates a ‘Carbon market’ that provides economic incentives for achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Caps are set for the period from 2008-12 for each developed country in line with their reduction targets. As well as making domestic emissions reductions, countries can trade Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) allowances – each representing one tonne of emissions – to achieve their cap.
  •  

  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
    Developed countries may also invest in or purchase Certified Emissions Reduction credits (CERs) from projects that reduce emissions in developing countries. This offers an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries.
  •  

  • Joint Implementation (JI)
    Developed countries can invest in emission reduction projects in any other developed country as an alternative to reducing emissions domestically. This creates tradable allowances called ERUs.

 
Under the Kyoto Protocol, countries’ actual emissions have to be monitored and precise records have to be kept of any trades.
 
There is also an Adaptation Fund to help developing countries (that are Parties to the Protocol) to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. The Fund is financed mainly through a 2% levy on the proceeds of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project activities.
 
By the end of 2012, a new international ratified framework is needed to deliver the large emission reductions that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says are necessary.
 
Background
 
The Protocol is linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) – but the major difference is that Protocol commits countries to action, where the Convention did not.
 
The Kyoto Protocol became legally-binding on 16 February 2005, after more than 55 Parties to the Convention had ratified the Protocol (including countries responsible for at least 55% of industrialised countries CO2 emissions in 1990). 184 Parties of the Convention have ratified the Kyoto Protocol to date. For news on the Kyoto Protocol, visit the UNFCCC website.
 
Kind Regards
 
Mark Ward

 

A carbon trading account with 360 Invest Group, and Carbonex as carbon credit broker

Having scammed Miriam into buying carbon credits, Ward contacts her with details of her carbon trading account. Which was little more than a smokescreen to convince Miriam, and the other people who were scammed, that they had handed over their money for something worth investing in.

From: Mark Ward mward@360investgroup.com
Date: 16 March 2011
Subject: On line carbon trading account application.
To: Miriam
 
Dear Miriam,
 
Thank you for choosing the 360 Invest Group for your carbon investment.
 
To open your trading account simply click on the link below, complete the necessary fields & I will action your instruction to the exchange once you have clicked on the submit button. The terms of business are also represented on the application page for your information.
 
http://www.360investgroup.com/carbon_credits_trading_account.php
 
Warmest regards,
 
Mark Ward

 
Olga Gille, Head of Client Services at Carbonex sent a confirmation of Miriam’s carbon credit order and a contract:

From: Olga Gille olga.gille@carbon-ex.de
Date: 17 March 2011
Subject: Carbon-ex: Order Confirmation
To: Miriam
Cc: compliance@360investgroup.com
 
Dear Miriam
 
Welcome to Carbonex!
 
Thank you for choosing to use Carbonex as your carbon credit broker.
 
Please find attached a confirmation of your credit order which will be processed within 48 hours (subject to regulatory checks). You will then receive a contract note for your records detailing the proof of ownership of the specified credits.
 
We recommend you save this email and print out the order confirmation and the following contract note for your records.
 
Once again thank you for choosing Carbonex and we wish you every success with your carbon trading
 
Kind Regards,
 
Olga Gille
Head of Client Services
 
Carbonex GMBH
7th Floor
Kurfurstendamm 21
10719
Berlin
 
Tel. 0845 519 6142
 
International. +49 (0)308 8706 2242
 
Website. www.carbon-ex.co.uk
Email. olga.gille@carbon-ex.de
 
Company Registration No: B 89135
 
This email and any files transmitted with it are intended for the named recipient only and are confidential. No other person should place any reliance upon it. The recipient acknowledges that transmissions made via the Internet can be corrupted and therefore Carbon-Ex and its subsidiaries do not give any warranty as to the quality or accuracy of any information contained in this message nor can it assume any liability for the content or for its transmission, reception or storage.
 
2016-06-03-155052_1680x1026_scrot

 

Signing the contract with Colemans-CTTS

Miriam had a couple of problems with signing the contract. Olivia Jones at Colemans-CTTS helped her find the right place to sign.

From: Olivia Jones Olivia.Jones@colemans-ctts.co.uk
Date: 17 March 2011
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
To: Miriam
 
Dear Miriam,
 
Please find attached documents for your consideration.
 
Yours faithfully
 
Colemans-ctts

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 19 March 2011
To: Olivia Jones
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
 
please find attached contract dully signed Regards Miriam

 

From: Olivia Jones Olivia.Jones@colemans-ctts.co.uk
Date: 21 March 2011
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
To: Miriam
 
Thank you for your e-mail, unfortunately we can not accept the attached as the signature has been typed. We actually require you to sign the document.
 
Many thanks
 
Olivia

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 22 March 2011
To: Olivia Jones
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
 
Please accept my signature in the contest of Carbonex CONTRACT-4 DOC
regards Miriam

 

From: Olivia Jones Olivia.Jones@colemans-ctts.co.uk
Sent: 22 March 2011
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
To: Miriam
 
Thank you for your e-mail. The signature needs to be on the contract not separate. Please sign on the bottom of page 2 of the agreement.
 
Many thanks
 
Olivia

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 22 March 2011
To: Olivia Jones
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
 
Will try again thanks Miriam

 

From: Olivia Jones Olivia.Jones@colemans-ctts.co.uk
Sent: 22 March 2011
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
To: Miriam
 
Great, that’s perfect.
 
Kind Regards
 
Olivia

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 29 March 2011
To: Olivia Jones
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
 
Dear Olivia could you confirm receipt for the 2 cheques as soon as they arrive by post?thanks Miriam

 

From: Olivia Jones Olivia.Jones@colemans-ctts.co.uk
Date: 29 March 2011
Subject: RE: 1252061/2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot/Carbonex
To: Miriam
 
Thank you for your e-mail.
 
Yes I will e-mail you as soon as the cheques arrive.
 
Kind Regards
 
Olivia

 

From: Olivia Jones
Date: 31 March 2011
Subject: Ref : 1234222
To: Miriam
 
Dear Miriam,
 
I confirm safe receipt of the cheques that were sent to Barclays Bank.
 
Kind Regards
 
Olivia

 

More scams from 360 Invest Group

A couple of days after Miriam sent a cheque for this so-called “investment”, 360 Invest Group sent details of other dodgy investments: “tax free, GUARANTEED income with underlying capital growth in excess of 252%”.

From: 360invest
Date: 31 March 2011 at 15:47
Subject: alternative investment guide 2011
To: Miriam
 
Green or sustainable investments are a rapidly growing area of interest among savvy investors, with annual returns of between 15% to 30% its clear to see why.
 
With a vast choice of products and different asset classes available, newcomers to this highly lucrative sector find themselves often confused.
 
So, out of sustained demand from the investment community 360 Invest group have published the best, clear and concise research guide to Alternative Investments.
 
Among other things, our guide explains:
 

  • What Alternative Investments are and the different asset classes available
  • To explain how to safely invest whilst maximising your returns from sectors such as Timber, Agricultural land, Bio fuels and other ethical investments.
  • How these investments work and how the most profitable returns are actually achieved.
  • How to use your UK Government Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) to gain 100% tax free income.
  • 5 of the best ethical and sippable investment products

 
This is a unique opportunity for potential investors to begin understanding the most talked about investment sector since the dot.com boom.
 
Already with institutional and corporate money flooding into this sector, the signs to an emerging market ‘gold mine’ are obvious to see.
 
From as little as a £5000 investment clients are enjoying a tax free, GUARANTEED income with underlying capital growth in excess of 252%. Also with tailored exit strategies of 1, 3 and 5 years, there is something for everyone.
 
Click here for your free guide!
 
360investgroup 45 beech Street London www.360investgroup.com

 
And a few days later Miriam received another email from 360 Invest Group: “Click here to earn £63,000”.

From: 360invest
Date: 8 April 2011
Subject: pre-launch eco investment opportunity with excellent returns
To: Miriam
 
Invest in a plantation of the world’s fastest growing and most environmentally sustainable form of timber; Bamboo. Vast and growing demand for this commodity means you will enjoy exceptional returns from year one (guaranteed) which in total will see your investment grow by a forecast 850%.
 

  • Increased ROI for larger investments
  • Secure land lease from US Company
  • Experienced management team, rewarded on performance
  • An element of the returns guaranteed
  • Twice the land, plants & returns of competitor investments

 
Click here to earn £63,000
 
Click to receive more information
 
The global timber market exceeds $600bn and is growing rapidly. However supply is dwindling due to unsustainable management. Bamboo grows over 20 times faster than hardwoods and can be sustainably harvested. Everything made from wood can be made from bamboo, often at better quality. It can also be used as clothing, fuel and food. Demand for Bamboo is growing rapidly and is set to explode.
 
360 Invest Group
360 Invest Group
Centralpoint, 45 Beech Street, EC2Y 8AD, London
Tel: 0203 384 5933
Lo Call: 0843 330 7382
Email: info@360investgroup.com

 
360 Invest Group didn’t stop sending their scam emails even when Miriam went on holiday.

From: Mark Ward mward@360investgroup.com
Sent: 15 April 2011
Subject: Are you contactable.
To: Miriam
 
Dear Miriam,
 
I do not know if you have access to your email whilst on holiday, if you do, would you forward a contact telephone number to reach you on as I have sent my clients some important news regarding carbon and would value an opportunity to give you the update.
 
Thanks & best regards,
Mark.
 
Mark Ward

 

From: Miriam
Date: 15 April 2011
Subject: Re: Are you contactable.
To: Mark Ward mward@360investgroup.com
 
Hello Mark,I do indeed have access to internet Regards M

 

From: Nick Taylor ntaylor@360propertyinvest.com
Date: 15 April 2011
Subject: RE: Carbon Update
To: Miriam
 
Dear Miriam,
 
My name is Nick Taylor, I am the CTO at 360 Invest Group.
 
I hope you are well and enjoying your time in 2016-04-01-163005_1232x1024_scrot ( Mark tells me you are there! ).
 
I have just returned from a huge summit on Carbon Trading and have excellent news for you. Your Credits are currently valued at 6.45GBP and show every sign of continuing to rise, and fast.
 
If ever there was the ´perfect time´ to buy, it is now. My question is this- are you still in the market for new projects that´ll show exceptional % yields? If so, I have a very strong position coming up next week…
 
Let me know if you would like to know more please.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Nick
 
Nick Taylor
Chief Trading Officer
360 Invest Group
UK Local: 0843 330 7382
London: 0203 3845 933 ( Ext. 1004 )
Email:ntaylor@360propertyinvest.com
Email:ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Website: www.360investgroup.com

 

From: Nick Taylor ntaylor@360propertyinvest.com
Date: 16 April 2011
Subject: RE: Thai Project
To: Miriam
 
Miriam,
 
See attached… The entry price is 4.76GBP and may I remind you, we fully expect to hit double figures with this one!
 
Act fast, trust me!
 
Regards,
 
Nick
 
Nick Taylor
Chief Trading Officer
360 Invest Group
UK Local: 0843 330 7382
London: 0203 3845 933 ( Ext. 1004 )
Email:ntaylor@360propertyinvest.com
Email:ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Website: www.360investgroup.com
 
Siam Cement

 

The brochure that Nick Taylor attached to the email was not produced by 360 Invest Group. It was produced by a company called Climate Friendly that sells carbon credits to businesses to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Friendly’s brochure describes a project by Siam Cement in Thailand. The company uses biomass instead of fossil fuels to power five of its cement plants and sells carbon credits generated by the reduction in emissions.

Siam Cement’s project generated real, certified carbon credits. But 360 Invest Group was selling them at an inflated price and there was no possibility of re-selling them.

Of course, none of this is to suggest that Climate Friendly and Siam Cement have any link with 360 Invest Group’s scam. I’m sure they were blissfully unaware that pensioners in the UK were being scammed into buying these carbon credits as investments.

The Recovery Room scam

By August 2011, Nick was working a new scam. The recovery room scam – 360 Invest Group will find someone to buy your carbon credits. But only if you hand over even more money.

From: Nick Taylor ntaylor@360propertyinvest.com
Date: 30 August 2011
Subject:
To: Miriam
 
Hi Miriam,
 
I hope you are well.
 
I see that you responded to a recent mailshot that we sent out… Does this mean you are still looking to invest in new Projects with good % returns?
 
Please let me know, I have some new ideas coming up in the next few weeks.
 
Regards,
 
Nick
 
taylor

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 30 August 2011
To: Nick Taylor
Subject: Re:
 
I am considering .Can you send more details in re:that managed fund you recently advertised?what does it mean 10%fixed return ,and for how long ?M

 

From: Nick Taylor ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Date: 30 August 2011
Subject: Re:
To: Miriam
 
That is something we are looking at for future investing that´ll take on Carbon investments that our clients hold.
 
What we are still focusing on is Carbon given that prices are still on the rise and will not slow down til 2013-2014 by which time we will have sold out.
 
How much could you raise in the next 2-3 weeks? I have something that will yield 45-50% over the next 12-18 months.
 
Nick

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 30 August 2011
To: Nick Taylor
Subject: Re:
 
JUST ABOUT 5K Regards M

 

From: Nick Taylor ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Date: 30 August 2011
Subject: Re:
To: Miriam
 
Right so if I can get you 1,500 @ 3.65 could you take it? I will allow 2 weeks for you to make the payment if so…
 
Let me know ASAP as it´s nearly all sold!
 
Nick

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 30 August 2011
To: Nick Taylor
Subject: Re:
 
Before I say yes can you repeat what is the project about,please?M

 

From: Nick Taylor ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Date: 30 August 2011
Subject: Re:
To: Miriam
 
See attached…
 
Try and buy more than 1,500 as we should be offered in excess of 7.00++ on this investment.
 
Regards,
 
Nick

 

From: Miriam
Sent: 30 August 2011
To: Nick Taylor
Subject: Re:
 
yes,I am interested,Will be able to buy 1,500 .I have no more disposable cash Regards M

 

From: Nick Taylor ntaylor@360investgroup.com
Date: 31 August 2011
Subject: RE:
To: Miriam
 
Excellent!
 
I shall arrange 1,500 @ 3.65 right away for you.
 
Regards,
 
Nick

 
By February 2012, Miriam was getting worried that she hadn’t heard anything from Mark Ward about her investment in carbon credits.

From: Miriam
Date: 16 February 2012
Subject: Re: The Kyoto Protocol / UNFCCC
To: Mark Ward mward@360investgroup.com
 
Hello Mark, a year passed since my investment and I did not receive any update from you.I would be grateful if you could advise incl the right time for exit Thank you Miriam

 
She also wrote to Colemans-CTTS and to Nick Taylor. She received a reply from Kevin Hart, the new Chief Trading Officer at 360 Invest Group. Hart told Miriam that Nick Taylor had moved to the USA.

Miriam has not sold any of her carbon credits. She asked REDD-Monitor to publish her emails to “help others not to make the same mistake”.
 

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Leave a Reply

  1. This is the first time that I have seen a clear statement that carbon credits are not suitable for individuals and there is no way of reselling them and they are worthless. I invested in Atlantic County carbon certificates through a Thomas Corrigan at Chartis Mutual. Is there any information on the prosecution of Thomas Corrigan and other operators at Chartis Mutual who operated this scam in conjunction with Carrington LLP?

  2. So sorry Miriam. Your story is a carbon (sorry for the pun) copy of what happened to my wife and I. We lost about the same amount, caused a marital rift and depleted our pension savings.
    I wish I could find out where these people are so I can visit them personally.
    If anyone else reading your story knows how to contact these people, if you can classify them as human? I would really appreciate it.
    Is there anything I should do to try to recover the money or take it on the chin and advise others to try not to go down the same route.
    I have been trying for many years to catch up with these scam bags promising that would sort it out and promised that I would get our money back some how.
    Unfortunately, my wife passed away last month.
    Having read your story it has made me more than ever to seek out these xxxxxxxx and make them pay for all the heart break they have caused myself , my dear wife and others like your good self.
    Please keep me up-to-date with developments and if I can help in any way , Please contact me through this forum.
    Good luck.

    D

    Wn

    I

  3. This reminds me of a scam that was common a while ago, I think mostly in the 90s, that was all about buying diamonds for reselling. The problem, as people who sell diamond jewelry find out, is that diamonds have a very low selling price, even if they’re in perfect condition, as the market is controlled by DeBeers.
    As I understood it, these firms are selling VERs for reselling? At least CERs could be resold, although at a loss, considering the drop in prices. I can only hope that the people who were trapped in this scam can get some of their money back through judicial means, but it’s hard.

  4. @Ricardo Coelho – Some of the same companies that sold carbon credits as investments also sold diamonds. For example, Gemmax, which is part of the Carbon Neutral Investments stable.

  5. @Jacey123 – Thanks for this. I’ve been banging on about carbon credits not being a suitable investment for a while now – here are a couple of posts:

    April 2013 – Why you should not buy voluntary carbon credits as an investment: A carbon trader explains

    June 2015 – Guest Post: The carbon credits sold to private individuals as investments are worthless

    The Financial Conduct Authority issued a warning about Chartis Mutual Group last year. I couldn’t find anything about any legal action against the company though.

  6. I was surprised to see how early these scams were beginning. These emails are from December 2010. The FCA didn’t start taking action until late 2012 (I believe).

    I wonder what horrible scams are currently out there, brewing under the surface.

    Sorry to hear the stories of Miriam and David, as well as David’s loss. There must be 1000s of these personal stories out there.

  7. Seems like the boys from Select Global are out chasing investors again under the name of Aldridge-Cartwright Limited, pertaining to have over 50 years experience mainly working in the Middle East and Asia in a company that is not even registered with Company House. So with those addresses sounds like the Aldridge/Start partnership is up and running again
    Thompson & Cooke look like they are going down the pan for their involvement in the carbon credit scam with Select Global, court case in November
    Colemans-CCTS also fronted Select Global’s REM scam as well as the 360 invest.
    Just a note on above e-mails from Nick Taylor, he uses the exact same phrases, word for word, as Nick Start did when at Select Global.

  8. Well I think that they take advantage of people who have worked hard all their lives and have scumbags like those people who tell you to invest and investment companies that are the legitimate companies don’t contact you unless you are doing it for example through your bank doing investment the broker doing either a short term or long term depending on the risks you want to take low risk medium risk or high risk but I think people who are like these scumbags using carbon tax credits etc I really felt for the old lady who has worked all her life to be scam by them they should be locked up and if you say that your not interested or hang up on them they just keep emailing or ringing you trying to convince you to trust them they are experts in stealing from elderly people and hard working people I know that people are online who just want to scam and Rob people of all the money they have saved

  9. I too fell for the ‘charms’ of 360 Invest Group (as well as several others, MH Carbon, etc) This week I have been contacted by Herald Investment Trusts who say they can sell my Carbon Credits, the only catch is that they need a copy of the Carbon Credit Certificate which I do not have ( has any one ever received one of these in the good old days?). They can of course arrange for one as long as I pay some ‘refundable’ money up front.
    Has anyone else had dealings with this firm?

  10. @David Walker – Thanks for this. I’m sorry to hear that you were scammed.

    Your contact details are now on what the scammers call a “sucker list”. That means that from time to time you will contacted out of the blue by people claiming to be able to sell your carbon credits. This is part two of the scam – the Recovery Room.

    There are many examples of recovery room scams in previous posts on REDD-Monitor.

    The person who called you does not work for Herald Investment Trusts, he’s only pretending to do so.

    If you could leave the website address, or phone number from whoever it was that rang you up, that would be useful. Thanks!

    And please report the phone call to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040.