Capital Alternatives Limited was part of a network of scam companies that offered “investments” to the general public including a rice farm in Sierra Leone, and carbon credits from projects in Sierra Leone, Brazil, and Australia. Last week, the High Court in London found that these “investments” were illegal collective investment schemes.
In October 2014, REDD-Monitor wrote about Sterling and Bond, Voiptel International, and Velvet Assets. The companies were part of the Capital Alternatives network. The post received more than one hundred comments, some of which named the individuals involved in these and other related companies.
The Court of Appeal has upheld a February 2014 High Court ruling in which the Financial Conduct Authority won their case against Capital Alternatives and other firms. The FCA accused the firms of “promoting and/or operating collective investment schemes (CISs) in the UK illegally and without our authorisation”.
“It was the generally accepted way for brokerage firms under regulatory heat to stay one step ahead — essentially, closing down and reopening under a different name, thereby starting the process of making money and fighting the regulators all over again. It was like stepping on a cockroach and squashing it, only to find ten new ones scurrying in all directions.”
The UK Financial Conduct Authority has taken Capital Alternatives and several other firms to the High Court, accusing them of “promoting and/or operating collective investment schemes (CISs) in the UK illegally and without our authorisation”.
Last year (as usual) most of the top ten stories on REDD-Monitor were about scams and frauds. A post about Renwick Haddow’s return after the Capital Alternatives scam took top place (and is the second most visited post on REDD-Monitor, after a 2013 post about how much a carbon credit costs.) Haddow featured in three of the top ten posts in 2017.
On 30 June 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a legal complaint against Renwick Haddow. The SEC alleges that Haddow fraudulently raised almost US$38 million from investors. The SEC has obtained an emergency asset freeze against Haddow and his companies named in the complaint.
Since January 2017, REDD-Monitor has written a series of posts about Renwick Haddow’s latest investment scheme, Bar Works, a New York-based co-working startup company. Last week, Law360 reported that Bar Works “is now the subject of at least two lawsuits from investors who call it a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme”.
On 11 May 2017, four men were sentenced in Blackfriars Crown Court in London to jail for selling precious metals as investments. The metals were almost worthless. The conmen duped retail investors out of £7.75 million.