“I have been recently approached by a company called GEN Equities of Dublin who say they can help me exit the market if I invest £5000.” This is one of several recent comments that REDD-Monitor has received about GEN Equities. The company has all the hallmarks of a recovery room scam.
Once a boiler room scams you into buying an investment your name, contact details and some background about how you were scammed are compiled on a “suckers list”. These lists are sold from one boiler room to another. Once you’ve been conned, the chances are higher that you can be conned again. The investment could be in carbon credits, fine wines, land banking schemes, biofuels, coloured diamonds, self storage, rare earth metals, shares, or whatever.
Stephen Hannon from GEN Equities is cold calling people who have been scammed into buying carbon credits. He gives a too good to be true tale about being able to sell the carbon credits at some point in the future. But before this can happen, you have to hand over £5000 (or €5000) to become a client. Often another call comes from Michael Gallagher, who claims to be from VCS (but isn’t). He recommends doing the deal with GEN Equities.
Here’s an extract from an email from Stephen Hannon, attempting to persuade the recipient to part with €5000:
You have two options to open a new account with us. You may either open a managed portfolio service which will involve placing a minimum trade with the aim of building a portfolio to gain a targeted percentage return, or you may simply wish to liquidate the holdings. This would require opening a trading account on an execution only basis with an equity deposit.
Without finding out anything more about GEN Equities, there is a certain piscine quality to all of this. Once we look into the company, the stink of rotting fish is overwhelming.
The company claims to have offices in Dublin and Zürich, but a search on Open Corporates reveals no record of any company called GEN Equities Ltd:
GEN Equities’ website provides us with a Company Overview:
GEN Equities was founded in 2000 with a view to working closely with institutional investors, providing them with accurate, up to the minute data on companies and markets. Since the creation of GEN Equities we have grown from a company of only 5 market analysts into an international brand employing over 50 market analysts and working in synergy with a network of the largest and most prestigious corporations in the investment community.
But the company’s website makes no mention of who owns the company, or any names of the 50 “market analysts” working there. That’s worrisome, particularly when we can’t find where the company is registered. The only result from a Google search for Stephen Hannon and Gen Equities is a comment on REDD-Monitor. (Although there is a note explaining that, “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe.”)
Neither does the website mention the names of any of the “prestigious corporations” with which GEN Equities is working.
The company’s website was registered in July 2000. But it was registered anonymously, so we are no further towards finding out who might be behind the company.
One name is included on GEN Equities website – that of Scott Fletcher. GEN Equities describes him as a “former North West Entrepreneur of the Year, IOD Young Director of the Year & UKBN Chairman”. According to GEN Equities’ website, Fletcher has this to say about the company:
“Gen Equities provides investors with great returns on the money they lend and enhances the yield of their portfolios.”
Pretty impressive, eh? Particularly coming from someone who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours this year for services to business and the community in the North West of England. I wrote to Fletcher yesterday evening to ask whether he really said this about GEN Equities. So far, he hasn’t replied. This morning GEN Equities’ website is down. Coincidence?
UPDATE – 12 July 2014: GEN Equities website is back up.
If you have been contacted by GEN Equities, please contact Action Fraud: