Carbon Credit Fraud - First London Prison Sentence

Environment investments are being marketed as a risk-free way to make easy money. The fundamental idea of carbon trading was that companies are able to trade a certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the mass of another greenhouse gas with a carbon dioxide equivalent .  “Rational investors” are undoubtedly tempted to buy products that can be traded to companies in a legitimate market. However, it is indeed too good to be true… Though the aim of this scheme was to give firms a financial incentive to go into green technologies, Carbon Credit Trading has become one of the most notorious scam of 2013.

According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, “The reality is victims are handing over their savings for worthless vouchers from an unregulated market, with individual losses running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.” Recently, the police imprisoned a pair of criminals, Ian MacDonald and David Downes who has been behind the boiler room operation, a cheap, rented office where salespeople ring hundreds of people every day using high pressure sales techniques, which targeted and exploited thousands of people, many of them elderly and vulnerable.

Scammers such as MacDonald and Downes cold call their victims, normally by telephone, trying to sell them investments which would supposedly lead to huge financial returns, and even pressurizing them to buy the carbon credits and shares. Besides, these fraudsters are cunning enough to give you details to make them appear authentic and thus trustworthy. They may have your personal information concerning your previous investments or circumstances. Furthermore, the scammers are relentless; they will not call you once only, but will unceasingly try to contact you to persuade you to ‘invest’ more.

Even if the culprits were sentenced in this case, while much of the money has been recovered and returned to victims, there is still the probability of scammers still determined to make you their victim. Do not be hoodwinked by scammers disguised as reputable businessmen, stockbrokers or investors. Always seek legal advice before committing to any investment, no matter how low the risk, and high the return, might be. After all, it is your own precious money that you are parting with.