Investors lose £7.6m on eco resort development scam

Investors lose £7.6m on eco resort development scam



A former company director has been given the maximum disqualification of 15 years for causing investor losses of at least £13.3m through both selling interests in land and a money circulation scheme.

Under the sole control of director Ian James Hamilton, 38, whose last known address was in Newbury in Berkshire, Industry RE Ltd (IRE) was found to have sold interests in land in Dominica that the company never owned.

IRE had subcontractors cold-call members of the public selling “alternative investments”, which included persuading investors to pay £25,000 for an interest in an eco-resort that it claimed would be built in Dominica in return for an 80% return on their investment within two years.

However, the company did not tell investors that it had not acquired the land on which the resort was to be built.

Mr Hamilton later told investors that the company had relocated to Dubai and gave a number of purported explanations for the delayed payments.

Despite this, Mr Hamilton has failed to provide the Insolvency Service with any information or company records to support his version of events.

The Insolvency Service found that investors paid at least £7.6m towards the scheme but have not received any return.

The company also ran a money circulation scheme in which most investors believed they were purchasing carbon credits that would be repurchased within 12 months for a 30% return on investment.

IRE paid customers £8.6m that included what it claimed to be investment returns, but instead were deposits from other investors.

Investors lost in excess of £5.7m as a result of the scheme.

Tony Hanon, official receiver of the Insolvency Service’s Public Interest Unit, said: “The company persuaded members of the public to part with substantial sums by falsely promising investors extremely high rates of return.

“In reality, the scheme operated only for the benefit of those running the company, principally the director, Ian Hamilton.

“As is so often the case, if an investment scheme appears too good to be true, it probably is.”

The scams operated between 2009 and 2013.

IRE was incorporated in July 2009, where liquidators were appointed in October 2013.

The firm was registered at Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HN.


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