Investments  

Car park investors targeted by scammers

Car park investors targeted by scammers

Administrators of four car park investment companies have warned fraudsters could be targeting investors offering to purchase or sell their car parking spaces.

Park First Freeholds, Help Me Park Gatwick, Park First Glasgow Rentals and Park First Gatwick Rentals, which were involved with the operation of car parking schemes close to Gatwick and Glasgow airports, entered administration on July 4.

Investments in the car parking schemes were sold to individuals and corporates in the UK and internationally, both directly and through self-invested personal pensions.

But the companies failed because they did not have the funds to pay all investors who chose the buyback option offered to them, which enabled them to sell back their investment following a specified number of years.

Smith & Williamson directors Finbarr O’Connell, Adam Stephens, Emma Thompson and Andy McGill were appointed joint administrators of the companies and they have now warned fraudsters have been trying to imitate them to lure investors into parting with their assets.

In a letter sent to creditors last week (September 6) the administrators stated: “The administrators are aware that some investors have received unsolicited calls/ emails from parties implying that they may be working on behalf of the administrators and/or of Smith & Williamson LLP and offering to purchase, or facilitate a sale of, their car parking space(s) in return for an upfront payment. 

“Please note that the administrators and Smith & Williamson LLP have not authorised any parties to make any such approaches to investors.

“Accordingly, investors should treat any such approaches in that knowledge.”

These types of scams are not uncommon as clients of struggling wealth management firm SVS Securities were targeted in a similar way.

At the beginning of August a court appointed Leonard Curtis as administrators of SVS and in a statement the company warned SVS clients had received a letter on August 19, 2019, allegedly signed by Daniel Booth of Leonard Curtis. 

The administrators said: "The letter purports to be from Leonard Curtis. We can confirm that this letter has not been issued by Leonard Curtis.

"For clarification this letter should be ignored and is misrepresentative."

Smith & Williamson are due to meet creditors to discuss the companies' administration in London on October 1, 2019.

amy.austin@ft.com

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