Scams  

Pair convicted over fake green investment schemes

Pair convicted over fake green investment schemes
(Pexels/Olya Kobruseva)

Two company directors have been found guilty of fraud over fake investment schemes in Brazil which saw £37mn taken from investors.

Andrew Nathaniel Skeene and Junie Conrad Omari Bowers were charged with three counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of misconduct in the course of winding up a company at Southwark Crown court today (May 31).

The pair took in £37mn from 2,000 investors for the fake schemes.

The Serious Fraud Office said Skeene and Bowers presented Global Forestry Investments as a secure, well-managed ethical investment scheme that would help protect the Amazon rainforest and support local communities.

The company established three teak tree investment schemes in Brazil, called Belem Sky Plantation, Para Sky Plantation and Para Grosso Sky Plantation. 

The SFO said in reality the pair were “enriching themselves” with the investors’ savings and pensions.

Lisa Osofsky, director at the SFO, said: “Our international investigation exposed an intricate web of money transfers, forged documents and invented identities used to scam pensioners and savers out of their money under the false pretence of environmental protection.

“Today’s guilty verdicts on all charges marks a significant step towards achieving justice for over 2,000 victims. We won’t stop fighting fraud and are proud to have brought this matter to justice.”

The pair were convicted after an investigation by the SFO with assistance from partner agencies across the globe.

The investigation was first announced in February 2015.

sally.hickey@ft.com