A company called “NLC Partners” is contacting people who were scammed into buying carbon credits as investments. NLC Partners claims to be able to sell the carbon credits. Needless to say, this has all the hallmarks of a recovery room scam.
We’ll take a look at NLC Partners’ scam emails first, followed by a look at the red flags.
Back in November 2017, one of the people scammed into buying carbon credits by MH Carbon forwarded an email from NLC Partners to REDD-Monitor. That email read as follows:
I am writing in hopes of finding the appropriate person who handles the Emission Offset Investment purchased in 2012.
We have a letter of intent from a large client of ours and are building a block of 4.5 million Units for sale. Your portfolio qualifies for sale. If it makes sense to talk, let me know how your calendar looks?
NLC (www.nlcpartners.com) is the premier platform delivering personalised connections to its clients. With a unique database of 1.1 million organisations and a team of experts, NLC makes targeted, curated and actionable connections for its clients while maintaining confidentiality throughout the process. We’ve help thousands of clients achieve sales and position ourselves around pricing, reliability and convenience, with a main focus on connecting buyers and sellers of alternative investments around the globe.
If you are the appropriate person to speak with, what does your calendar look like? If you return an email with your telephone number I can call you or I am contactable on the number below or email.
If you are not correct person who do you recommend I talk with?
Ms. Emma Green
Ms. Emma Green – Operations Specialist
9 Avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux
L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette – Luxembourg
Tel: +352 278 625 70
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email communication may contain private, confidential, or legally privileged information intended for the sole use of the designated and/or duly authorized recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient or have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately by email and permanently delete all copies of this email including all attachments without reading them. If you are the intended recipient, secure the contents in a manner that conforms to all applicable state and/or federal requirements related to privacy and confidentiality of such information.
I wrote back to the person who forwarded the email to REDD-Monitor pointing out that NLC Partners was a scam. Recently two more people forwarded emails from NLC Partners to REDD-Monitor:
As a carbon credit holder, you will be aware that the Bloomberg Carbon Credit Index (BCCIX Value: $20-$30 Billion) is launching in the second semester of 2018.
There is renewed interest on the back of BREXIT, the European governments are now backing and financing the purchase of Non-European Emission Offsets.
You are now, under new EU legislation classified as a VEFIH:
- Non-European Carbon Credit Holder;
- Invested over £1,000;
- Lock up period of four years completed;
- UNCDM GHG Certified.
Therefore the new status of your Units now gives you the access to the compliance market.
If you are willing to sell your Emission Offsets, please, reply to this email, I will create a file and have a purchaser contact you directly or if you prefer one of our connections expert can contact you.
For this service we charge 1.5% of the total amount after the sales completion.
Any other questions please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team here at NLC.
You can visit our web-page at http://www.nlcpartners.com/
On to the red flags…
The emails from NLC Partners arrived out of the blue. The company has the contact details of people unfortunate enough to have bought carbon credits as an investment because the victims’ names are on a “sucker list”. These lists consist of names, addresses, phone numbers, and background information about victims of scams.
Boiler room operations collect details about the people they have scammed. Scammers sell this information, called “sucker lists”, to other scam operations. The counter-intuitive reality is that if you’ve been scammed once, the likelihood that you can be scammed again is higher, rather than lower.
The bad news is that the carbon credits that you were scammed into buying as investments are worthless.
A search on Open Corporates reveals no company called NLC Partners registered in Luxembourg – the address given in the company’s emails:
The full address given on NLC Partners’ website and emails is 9 Avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette – Luxembourg. A search on Google maps reveals that the Google Street View car last drove down Avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux in 2009. Since then, things have changed somewhat.
On the left is the 2009 Google photo, and on the right a more recent version:
The building is now the address of a company called Technoport SA that runs a business incubator and a co-working space, and aims to “promote and support the creation and development of innovative and technology-oriented companies in Luxembourg”.
On its website, NLC Partners claims to be “situated in the Silicon Valley of Luxembourg”.
But when I contacted Technoport SA to see whether NLC Partners is actually based at the address it gives on its website, Diego De Biasio, Technoport’s CEO, told me that his company is “not aware of any company with that name”.
The company’s website, nlcpartners.com, was registered in September 2007. That might sound reassuring, except that the website was registered anonymously via WhoisGuard, a privacy company whose address is a P.O. Box in Panama.
Archived copies of the website reveal that it was dormant until early 2016. In March 2016, the website looked like this:
The first line reads, “For more than fifty years, Norwood London Capital Partners (NLC Partners) has been one of the best-known names in European private banking.” But a search for “Norwood London Capital Partners” reveals only two results – one of which is an archived version of NLC Partners’ website. That’s pretty impressive (or downright odd) for a company claiming to be one of the best-known names in European private banking.
By May 2017, the name had changed to “New Light Capital Partners”.
And by January 2018, any pretence of private banking had disappeared. NLC Partners has become a “lead technology platform that efficiently connects institutional investors with retail investors”. Which is once again, pure fiction.
NLC Partners’ recent email is stuffed full of nonsense. The first sentence mentions something called the “Bloomberg Carbon Credit Index”. But a search for “Bloomberg Carbon Credit Index” reveals no further information whatsoever. Again that’s impressive (or odd) for something that’s supposed to be worth between US$20 and US$30 billion.
The bit about Brexit is simply made up. In March 2018, Britain’s Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry announced that Britain would not leave the ETS before 2020.
There is no such thing as a “VEFIH” – at least relating to carbon credits.
The price of CERs (Certified Emissions Reductions) remains low, despite an increase (from €0.17 to €0.35 between January and July 2018), as this ICE graph of CER Futures December 2018 shows:
In any case MH Carbon was selling voluntary carbon credits (VERs – voluntary emissions reductions). There is no mechanism for converting VERs to CERs and NLC Partners’ statement about “the new status of your Units” is yet again fictitious.
If you are contacted by NLC Partners (or any other company that claims to be able to sell the carbon credits that you were scammed into buying as an investment) please report them to Action Fraud, and the Financial Conduct Authority. Do not send them any money under any circumstances.