This month the Secretary of State for Business, Innovations and Skills presented a petition to wind up Eco Business Management (EBM) Ltd., following confidential enquiries by Company Investigations of the Insolvency Service. The petition to wind up the company went unopposed in the High Court.
An investigation into the accounts and dealings of EBM revealed that the company had been mis-selling carbon credits to investors using high-pressure sales techniques and false/misleading statements. EBM charged clients inflated prices of up to £11.95 per carbon credit, and some of the clients’ credits were cancelled with any prior knowledge or consent.
Investigators told the Court that EBM falsely ensured investors that they would be receiving a return of up to 82% on their investment in a timeframe of just 6 months to 2 years. EBM made investors believe that such returns were guaranteed because the company claimed it had lined up arrangements with other businesses that were supposed to buy the mis-sold carbon credits from investors at a substantial mark-up. When investors asked about the status of their investments they were told that the company had already entered into liquidation, which was a lie.
After the Court’s decision to wind up, Supervisor of Company Investigations, Chris Mayhew elaborated on the history and details of the case, saying that the investigation started with contacting a Mr. Aaron Whiteman, who was one of the people involved in registering the company back in Oct. 2011.
According to Mr. Whiteman, EBM did not start trading and didn’t have any records, bank accounts, or employees that he knew of. He supposedly “handed over” the company to a broker whose name and contact details he could not recall other than noting that he spoke to someone named Chris. After being asked what he thought could happen as a result of his actions, Mr. Whiteman responded that he “did not care (expletives)” as he was busy “doing other things.”
Eco Business Management Ltd. also filed dormant accounts during the timeframe they were actively selling overpriced carbon credits to the public, promising an exuberant short-term return-on-investment of up to 82 per cent. EBM also claimed that it was an established international company that was “covered” by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), although both of those claims were completely false.
EBM also made claims that it was a “leader” in the carbon finance industry, when in reality it was a small eco con that preyed on a relatively small group of investors by reducing their bank accounts rather than their carbon footprint. The investigation uncovered that a total of 22 investors had purchased more than 100,000 worth of carbon credits from the business, all while the company was still filing dormant accounts.
Mr. Mayhew went on to urge the public not to respond to ANY cold-calling investment sharks or any other kind of aggressive marketing tactics, which are often indicative of a scam. After reiterating the fact that The Insolvency Service will continue take action against rogue and dishonest companies, Mayhew then went on to give a summary of the reasons behind EBM’s winding up, which, he said, were the company’s abandonment, objectionable practices, lack of cooperation and transparency, and breaching the Companies Act of 2006.