Over the weekend, someone called Lee Hales contacted REDD-Monitor. Hales wants to speak to investors who have been scammed into buying carbon credits as investments. I wouldn’t trust Hales, or his company Prestige Investment Group Limited, as far as I could throw them.
To start with, lets see what Lee Hales has to say for himself. Here’s the message he sent to REDD-Monitor on 17 April 2016. He sent the message shortly before 4 am – which may explain the dodgy grammar:
Name: Lee Hales
Comment: Dear Mr Chris Lang
I wish to speak with investors who have lost money in carbon credits that have proof of ownership, i have recently setup a investment company in the UK and i am willing to purchase CERs and VERs with 50% of the commission i make from the products i provide if a individual invests. Feel free to have a look at my site www.prestigeinvestmentgrouplimited.com and i will be happy to send you any information before hand. I am also happy to sign a agreement with each investor before hand for there own peace of mind. Just to advise beforw a person invests in any of the products i provide they have to sign a disclaimer and before they invest a KYC is sent to a IFA to ensure the product provided is suitable, if you would like to discuss this with myself feel free to contact me directly on my mobile on 07941657525.
Mr Lee Hales
Hales is offering to buy carbon credits from anyone daft enough to invest in his company, Prestige Investment Group Limited.
Prestige Investment Group Limited
Prestige Investment Group Limited was incorporated in the UK on 22 February 2016. So the company has no track record. Hales is the sole director.
The website was registered on 19 February 2016.
The company’s registered address is in Birmingham:
No wonder Hales uses the word “prestige” in his company’s name
The company’s website is behind a disclaimer explaining that, “The investment information you will find on this website is only suitable for sophisticated and high net worth investors”. Having subsequently looked up the definition of “sophisticated and high net worth investors” on the FCA website, I now realise that I shouldn’t have clicked the “I agree” button. Oh well.
Here are some of the “investments” advertised on Prestige Investment Group’s website:
The one year UK property bond offers a 10% return on a minimum investment of £10,000. Investing £20,000 in a “UK city centre development” would be a “Growth Product with a minimum return of 50%”. Sounds to good to be true, doesn’t it?
5 star country club resort in Brazil
Another “investment” offered by Prestige Investment Group is in a “5 star country club resort” in Brazil. While the website doesn’t give the name of the country club resort, the website uses two images to illustrate the investment:
The aerial view is of the Tambaba Country Club Resort.
The image of the house is a “Sample video render of residential villa”, on the website of CAT Technologies Ltd. The image also appears on the website of a company called Invest in Brazil. The company describes itself as “The UK’s leading Brazilian Property Investment Specialist”. The text on Prestige Investment Group’s website is the same as the description of the project on Invest in Brazil’s website.
One of the directors of Invest in Brazil, Paul Clarke, was previously a director of Amba Sun Invest Limited, and Vision Land Investments Limited. The companies were involved in a failed land investment scheme in Brazil, before they went into liquidation in 2012 and 2013.
There’s a long discussion about the perils of investing in land in Brazil, following a post on The Unique Property Blog titled, “Lose Money in Brazil”.
TM Harris was another company involved in promoting investments in the Tambaba Country Club Resort. REDD-Monitor wrote about TM Harris in May 2013, back when the company was selling carbon credits to retail investors.
Before that, Clive Harris, a director at TM Harris, worked for Brett Jolly’s Green Planet Investment Limited, selling investments in land in Brazil. When the Insolvency Service shut down Green Planet Investments, Company Investigations Supervisor Chris Mayhew said,
“Green Planet Investment was a slick land investment scheme designed to make money only for those with the company and not the 300 investors who were persuaded by false and misleading statements to invest over £14 million into an investment black hole.”
Wanted: Lead generators
Recently, Prestige Investment Group Limited was advertising for “lead generators” in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton, Newcastle, and Edinburgh. £10 per hour. No experience necessary. Work from home. Obviously not a boiler room operation, then:
UPDATE – 26 May 2016: Hales sent a response to this post, available here. I’ve corrected the spelling of Hales’ surname in the first paragraph. I’ve removed the bit about the IP address of the message being in London.