Condemned Carbon Credit Scammers – Thanks To Our Own Tony Hetherington
Two members of a criminal ring who sold nearly worthless carbon credits as investments convicted of fraudulent trade, thanks to Tony Hetherington
Two members of a massive criminal ring who sold nearly worthless carbon credits as part of investments have been convicted of fraudulent transactions after being exposed by Tony Hetherington, the Mail on Sunday consumer champion.
The convictions follow an eight-year City of London and Hampshire Police investigation followed by a three-month trial that included evidence from the Mail on Sunday.
Paul Seakens, 60, from Enfield, north London, and Luke Ryan, 33, from Eastleigh, Hampshire, were convicted last week. Southwark Crown Court has learned that they have used high-pressure sales tactics and false allegations to trick victims into trading voluntary emission credits – certificates that would allow industries to emit carbon in the ‘atmosphere.
Go green: False claims have been made to deceive victims into trading voluntary emission credits – certificates that would allow industries to emit carbon into the atmosphere
The prices of the certificates had been marked up by up to 1,000 percent and they could not be cashed.
In March 2013, Hetherington warned in his column that Seakens ran Carbon Neutral Investments Limited, which was at the center of a network of companies trading carbon credits. The newspaper’s report was produced in court as part of the evidence against Seakens. Hetherington was called as a prosecution witness.
Ryan ran one of the carbon credit sales companies, Enviro Associates, with Seakens as a co-director. Enviro brought in at least £ 368,428 to the victims.
Seakens was also linked to 73 other sales companies and police said more than £ 30million had passed through his bank accounts. He was convicted of fraudulent transactions and money laundering.
City of London Police Detective Paul Curtis described Seakens and Ryan as “greedy and malicious individuals”. Detective Inspector Andrew Symes of Hampshire Police said ‘they have caused immeasurable loss’, preying on the most vulnerable.
Carbon Neutral Investments was regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, giving investors a false sense of security. The FCA did not withdraw their authorization until four years after Hetherington’s alert.
Seakens is still on the FCA’s public register of financial advisers. He and Ryan will be sentenced on May 28.