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A company calling itself “Novus Capital Markets” is running a recovery room scam

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2016-07-12-100437_1002x1001_scrotYesterday, “Fallguy” left a comment on REDD-Monitor. Fallguy is one of many people in the UK who have been scammed into buying carbon credits as an investment. In his comment, he wrote about a recent phone conversation he had with Brian Carter from Novus Capital Markets. Carter was inviting him to get scammed once again.

Here is Fallguy’s comment in full, followed by some of the red flags that Novus Capital Markets raises:

I was called today by a Brian Carter from Novus Capital Markets concerning my carbon credits. He said that my detils had been passed from “Central Reservations” where details of holdings bought through companies now in liquidation are available to “regulated brokers” for sale and return of proceeds to the investor. He said they would evaluate my holding and then require a returnable payment of 20% of the valuation to cover verification, agency fees, and conversion of my VER and CERs to EUA. On sale of the holding they would charge the buyer 5% and return the proceeds to me along with my 20%. He claimed that EUAs were fetching £7-£15.
 
I asked for the company FCA number but he gave me “his”, BCX01567, claiming that he had worked at HSBC. On checking the FCA register I found that there is a clone company with the same name.
 
Can anyone advise on this Central Reservations operation? I guess it could be Central Registrations. I have heard someone from Oakmount use a similar term but have been unable to discover anything about it.
 
Presumably I have been approached by the clone.

“Novus Capital Markets” cold called Fallguy

red flag Brian Carter cold called Fallguy and told him that he had his details from “Central Reservations”. But there is no such thing as a central reservation or central registration for carbon credits. And no legitimate company would cold call you with financial advice.

The reality is that Carter got Fallguy’s contact details from what the scammers call a sucker list. These are lists of people who have been scammed, with information about who they are, their contact details and what they were scammed into buying. Sucker lists are traded between the scam companies.

If you are cold called, the only safe thing to do is put the phone down.

“Novus Capital Markets” is not a regulated broker

red flag There is a company called Novus Capital Markets, which registered in the UK in 2005. But the company is no longer registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.

In any case, the FCA put out a warning last month about Novus Capital Markets under the headline “Novus Capital Management (clone of a former authorised firm)”. I’m not sure why the FCA uses the name Novus Capital Management. The warning gives the clone company’s website as novuscapitalmarkets.com.

The clone company Novus Capital Markets is not registered anywhere.

Novus Capital Markets’ website was registered less than two months ago

red flag A search on who.is reveals that novuscapitalmarkets.com was registered on 19 May 2016. The website was registered anonymously.

Here’s a screenshot of the website:

Novus Capital Markets

The website gives no information about the company, or who is behind it.

Novus Capital Markets cut and pasted the text on its website from Stephens Inc.

red flag Here are two more screenshots. The first is from Novus Capital Markets “About Us” page. The second is from a US-based financial services firm called Stephens Inc. The only difference in the text is that Novus Capital Markets has replaced the name “Stephens” with “Novus Capital Markets”. (Click on the image for an archived version of Novus Capital Markets’ website.) I’ve informed Stephens about this.

2016-07-12-113335_1002x1001_scrot

The “50 years of brilliance” is Novus Capital Markets’ own invention. The text on Novus Capital Markets website is taken from Stephens Inc’s website:

2016-07-12-113347_1261x1008_scrot

The carbon credits sold to retail investors are worthless

red flag Brian Carter told Fallguy that Novus Capital Markets could convert CERs and VERs to EUAs. I’m sure he said this in a confident and convincing tone, and didn’t bother to explain what he was talking about. Had he done so, it would likely have been fictitious.

CERs are Certified Emission Reductions, which are carbon credits issued under the UN Clean Development Mechanism. These are compliance credits that can be used by rich countries to meet the emission targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. CERs can be traded on the EU Emissions Trading System. The current price of CERs is $0.39.

VERs are Voluntary Emission Reductions, which are voluntary carbon credits. These are generated outside of the UN system. There are various certification schemes for voluntary carbon credits such as Verified Carbon Standard, Plan Vivo, and The Gold Standard. The average price of VERs in 2015 was $3.8tCO2e. The price of VERs varies, depending on the type of project that generates the credits and how long ago the credits were generated.

EUAs are European Emission Allowances, which are pollution permits that can be traded on the EU Emissions Trading System. The current price of EUAs is €4.58 (considerably less than the £7-£15 that Brian Carter told Fallguy they were worth.)

Unfortunately, the carbon credits that have been sold to retail investors are worthless. Last year, REDD-Monitor published a Guest Post by a carbon trader with 30 years experience market experience and 10 years experience in carbon markets. The post started as follows:

In my professional opinion the credits sold to private individuals in the boiler room cases I have reviewed are worthless, I am not aware of a single individual in my 10 year career within the carbon markets that has sold on, for any economic worth, the VERs purchased from “boiler rooms” as investments.

Novus Capital Markets wants an advanced fee

red flagNovus Capital Markets is running a recovery room scam. Scammers contact people who have already been scammed, and tell them they can get their money back. Here’s how Action Fraud describes this sort of scam:

The person who contacts you will not be who they claim to be, nor will they help you recover the money you’ve already lost.
 
If you respond to their offer of help, they will ask you for various fees, such as release and administration fees. If you pay these fees, they will keep coming back to you with another fee that has to be paid, before your money can be returned.
 
If you ask them to take the fees from the money they claim to have recovered, they will give reasons why this isn’t possible. For example, your money is under the control of a court and can only be paid back to you personally.
 
The fraudsters may also ask you to provide details of your bank account so they can pay your money into it. They will use this information to empty your account.

Novus Capital Markets’ phone number is a dead give away

red flag Novus Capital Markets’ website gives the following phone number: 0207 164 6597. A search for the number takes us to a comment on REDD-Monitor. The number is the same as that used by another scam company: Carter & Carter.

 

If you have been cold called Novus Capital Markets (or anyone else who claims they can sell your carbon credits or asks for an advance fee, regardless of the story they spin) please contact Action Fraud and the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

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15 Comments

  1. The same company contacted me a few days back concerning my Carbon Credits. I am aware that all such
    calls are scams but the worrying thing is a search at Companies House gives the company or at least one with same name as genuine and of several years standing.

  2. Novus Capital Markets sent me an unsolicited professional looking letter dated 5th July 2016 stating the following. They are obviously using postal communication as well as telephone calls to solicit carbon credit victims.

    “We write to you with regards to a carbon credit investment in your name with a company by the name of “CarbEx”. This company has now gone into liquidation and we have been employed as a third party liquidation service of whom can aid in retrieving your funds back.
    We are pleased to introduce our company to yourself and our corporate sale of asset scheme that we can offer you. An example of the contract has been enclosed for your perusal stating the terms and conditions of our asset sale. (Nothing was enclosed).
    Novus Capital Markets Ltd act in the interests of clients faced with the effects of insolvency in order to provide investors with the effects of insolvency in order to provide investors with the route out of the market. We endeavour to ensure transparency in order to restore faith in the investment markets.
    Please contact our senior advisor Mr George Anderson who is handling the exit and retrieval for all clients of “CarbEx”
    Yours sincerely
    Andrew Howell
    Operations Administrator
    Novus Capital Markets Ltd”

    Having researched Novus Capital Markets Ltd and discovered they were a clone of a deregistered FCA company, I have contacted the FCA contact number and gave them details of the letter, but have not taken any action to respond to the letter as they are obviously a recovery boiler room operation. I now know that there is no way of reselling carbon credits which are worthless.

  3. Snap
    I have been contacted by the same firm who despite me saying I would never pay money up front continues to pursue me until I stopped taking their calls

  4. Some time ago I noticed that there is a large number of organisations active in “reforestation” aka monocultures of eucalyptus etc based in the UK: is this a business model of the City of London ? In our region this is unknown.

  5. And still they scam..

    The latest “company” to contact me with an offer to sell my carbon credits calls itself Central Reservation Services, a name used by other scammers who have contacted me over the past months (others include Pentagon, Talbot Asset Management and Premier Asset Management). The caller’s name was Frederick Peterson. I was intrigued as I heard references to Central Reservations before but have been unable to track them down. It appears that there is a company “Central Reservations Services Ltd” in Spalding but the caller claimed to be calling from their London office at 15 St Botolph St. Using Google Earth I took a look at the Spalding address and it looks like a bungalow with workshops behind. They don’t seem to have a website and I cannot find a telephone number for either the London or Spalding addresses.
    The story is the usual one, ownership of the credits needs to be verified and then converted to EUAs before sale, for which an up-front payment is required. Another call to Action Fraud, I think.

  6. Thanks for the info fallguy -Just taken a call today from a Fraser Warburton of Central Reservation Services, tel 02071646652 saying he can sell my VCU’s but needs 10% upfront to convert them into EUA’s which he says are saleable …if only it were true!!!
    I told him I’m not prepared to put good money after bad but quite happy for him to sell them and deduct his 10% from the sale. BUT he can’t do that ….what a surprise!!!

  7. I too have been contacted by Fraser at Central Reservations Service Ltd email info@centralreservationslimited.com Tel 0207 998 3294 Their website is down at the moment. Telling me they can sell my CER’s via a company in Luxembourg with no up front fee at all…waiting for contract – then told date of sale now full up so I’ll have to wait for another date (till they close down probably!) Fully aware this is a scam just interested to see how they are playing things…

  8. Thank you fallguy for your 22/3/17 comment. Central Reservations have been calling me about recovering funds lost through binary options via scammers called Alliance Capital Markets (whom their last caller claimed were now in “compulsive” liquidation!). The same 15 St. Botolph Street, London was quoted as their address so I went to check. Reception had never heard of them. More scammers. Don’t touch them!

  9. I have also been to 15 St Botolph St in search of Central Reservations Service, with the same negative result. However, I believe they now claim to be operating from the Marble Arch Tower, 55 Bryanston Street, W1H 7AA.
    Frederick Peterson sent me a contract for the sale of my credits (once converted to EUAs) to a Matthew Lansbury in Belgium: he even sent a sheet showing a mugshot of said Mattew Lansbury but unfortunately a Google Images search revealed this to be a stock shot used on several websites, including jonathankeiler.com.

  10. I have just been scammed by the Central Reservations Service Limited. I first received a phone call from “John Roberts” over a week ago, he explained how he can recover my funds from the binary option account. First, I did not believe them at all, but the guy kept on explaining how he will be able to do this etc. He said I would need to give them 15% of the money remaining in my account and explained why. Still, I was not convinced. So, he said that he will be sending me all the information about it in the post. I waited and finally got it in the post. The letter stated that the 15% that I will be paying is refundable and it even comes with a guarantee of services.

    After I got the letter I called him back (this time I actually believed them stupidly). And after another long conversation with him convincing me that the company and himself is legitimate, I finally paid. After I paid he called me back and said that he got the fund, to be honest at this stage I felt like I was really getting my money back. The next what happened was that he called me and said everything is going well and for the confirmation I would need to speak to the director of the firm. I spoke to the Director and suddenly he said that actually they had a meeting with “Escrow?” and it came to light that there was more money in that account which means I had to pay more for the difference. Though, this time he said that I should buy the insurance with it (it was around ‎£1200).
    I honestly just wanted this to be over so I just paid and he promised me that I will get my money back to next day between 9am to 11am.

    Fast forward to 9 am the next day, I have not received my money nor did he call me as promised for the confirmation. So, I called the company number (02079983294) and the ‘receptionist’ answered and I asked to speak to ‘John Robert’ or the director but he said that they will come at 11am. So, i waited and called back at 11am, the person who answered the phone told me that they are busy and at a ‘meeting’. At the stage I kind of knew that I got scammed but another voice in my mind still says to keep trying. After this, I actually decided to report the incident (fraud) to my bank and then they also asked me to contact the Action fraud team (the police bodies), which I did. They have also told me to check the legitimacy with the Financial Conduct Authority, the result is that they are most probably a recover room scammer. The lady was saying that she could not find the company and its address in their search engine. So, as I was talking to the advisor at the FCA, my phone rang and it was those guys. I picked up and now I was talking to a completely different person (he claimed to be an account of some sort), he then told me that the payment I made yesterday was successful.
    Then I said I can’t see the money in my account what is going on? He then asked me to give him more, quote ‘the money in the binary option account, and they money is in an secure Escrow account, which you need to pay 2024 for it to be released back into your account” I know at the point that this has been all a lie.

    So DO NOT BELIEVE these people!!!

  11. Yet another company wanting to exit me from the carbon market called yesterday. Caller was from Innovia Finance in Manchester (he said) and called himself Charles Knightly. Said he got my details through the company I bought the credits from being dissolved (several years ago).

    Has anyone dealt with this company? I can find companies with similar names in Wigtown (Cumbria) and Castleford (Yorkshire) but I was given an 0161 850 6018 telephone number, which is Manchester area.

    Another recovery room scam, I fear.

  12. @Fallguy – Yes, Innovia Finance is a recovery room. They cold called you, and they claim they can sell your carbon credits. I can only repeat the advice in the post above:

    If you have been cold called Novus Capital Markets (or anyone else who claims they can sell your carbon credits or asks for an advance fee, regardless of the story they spin) please contact Action Fraud and the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Do not under any circumstances send Innovia Finance (or anyone else who cold calls you) any money. Incidentally (not that it’s particularly relevant) there is no company called Innovia Finance in Manchester.

  13. I have recently had a call from Immovia Finance the caller said his name was Charles Andrew. Reckons I have money in an Escrow account. When I said I didn’t have the account he assured me I did and I could withdraw the money if I wished. When I said I did he asked if I wanted a cheque or bank transfer. As I was not prepared to give out my bank details I said I’ll take a cheque. He said no problem and it costs nothing to withdraw the money and close the account, however the cheque would be delivered by courier and I would need ID. Now I needed to give him an ICC number to start the process and it should be on my carbon credit certificate or in the paperwork. I’m pretty sure this number doesn’t exist and that’s were a payment will be required. Well Chuck is going to be disappointed when he calls tomorrow.

  14. Hi Chris,
    I regret that I have also fallen to a Company under the banner of Innovia Group ( Finance 2) ltd.
    Diligence supported the validity of this conglomerate ( they produce polymer notes amongst other areas).
    The presentation was of an Escrow Account in my name which this branch of the Group were closing down, these were funds due to me from ‘ previous Broker failure’ – very plausible as it has happened!
    Funds required for Escrow release code fee, Tax and administration ………..I had contact numbers and cell phone message threads together with headed paper…….
    NAMES : George Palmer / Kevin Mitchell / George Martin ( who is the genuine CEO ).

    I only discovered the true nature when contacting an address through Companies House as part of the Innovia Group is being consolidated by Global Parent CCL group.
    Unfortunately the headed Notepaper is a copy and the scam has worked on the back of real companies being consolidated.

    I have also been approached yet again with Carbon Credits to be sold in Dubai – has anyone heard of S-J Holdings ( Sutton Johnson Holdings based in Dubai ).

    These scum are determined and becoming ever more manipulative….If anyone wishes more information please post back.

    Good luck and please keep the Site going.

    Kezza.