On 18 January 2019, Sami Raja was sentenced to eight years in prison at Southwark Crown Court. He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. Four other men were sentenced in September 2018. Between January 2012 and August 2013, they miss-sold carbon credits to retail investors through two companies, Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd.
UPDATE – 12 February 2019: On 5 February 2019, Sami Raja Consultancy put out a press release. Raja was not at Southwark Crown Court, and is not in prison. See the City of London Police’s response to REDD-Monitor’s questions here.
“Brokers” from Harman Royce phone cold called people to persuade them to buy carbon credits. The company targeted homeowners living in well off areas, aged 50 and over, promising spectacular returns.
They sold the voluntary carbon credits for between £5.26 and £6.50. In a press release, the City of London Police refer to evidence from an independent consultant that states that the carbon credits were actually worth somewhere between 25p and 30p.
In addition, there is no secondary market for voluntary carbon credits.
The money that Harman Royce raised through its scam went on staff wages, and luxury items such as an Aston Martin worth £33,000 and a £4,000 watch.
Kendrick Zale’s “brokers” also cold called retail investors and used high pressure sales techniques to persuade them to buy compliance carbon credits. In many cases, the brokers persuaded their victims to cash in Individual Savings Accounts, or to sell their investments in reputable companies.
Kendrick Zale bought carbon credits at a cost of between 67p and 87p and sold them for between £2.82 and £3.10.
In September 2013, the police raided Harman Royce’s office and seized client lists, contract notes, and company brochures. They also raided Kendrick Zale’s office, arresting Raja and others and seizing scripts, brochures, and sales confirmations.
In total, the fraud raised £2.4 million. REDD-Monitor wrote about Kendrick Zale after the company was wound up in the public interest in July 2014.
Senior Investigating Office of the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad, Hayley Wade, said,
“Raja cruelly targeted often elderly individuals with the intention of defrauding them of their life savings. He clearly felt no remorse for their actions, closing one company, only to set-up another and commit the same offences.
“The custodial sentences imposed will hopefully go some way to deterring others from committing such offences.”
In September 2018, four other men were sentenced in relation to this case:
- Michael Nascimento – Convicted on 13 February 2018 and sentenced to two years for money laundering. In September 2018, Nascimento was sentenced to a further 11 years, as a result of the offences investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority. REDD-Monitor wrote about Nascimento in June 2016, and September 2018.
- Sandeep Dosanjh – Director of Harman Royce. Sentenced to four years and six months for conspiracy to defraud.
- James Lanston – A senior broker, sentenced to two years and three months for conspiracy to defraud.
- Charanjit Sandhu – A senior broker, sentenced to three years for conspiracy to defraud. Sandhu was sentenced to a total sentence of nine years after an investigation by the FCA and other law enforcement agencies.
In March 2016, Sami Raja, Sandeep Dosanjh, and Manjeet Matharu were disqualified from acting as directors in the UK for their roles in the Kendrick Zale scam.
Heron Global Partners was a UK registered company that pushed investments in Bar Works – a company run by inveterate scammer Renwick Haddow. REDD-Monitor has written many times about Haddow and his scams.
In July 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a legal complaint against Haddow alleging that Haddow fraudulently raised almost US$38 million from investors. Haddow faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.