Tony Hetherington is the ace investigator on Sunday’s Financial Mail, fighting readers’ corners, revealing the truth behind closed doors and securing victory for those left out of pocket. Learn how to contact him below.
RG writes: I am sending you a string of emails I received from Loador Investment Management.
Its representative Charles Stone seems to be on the phone a very real person, but I greatly appreciate your thoughts.
Rookie: Lodore stole the identity of an agricultural firm based in the lakes
Tony Hetherington replies: My thoughts are that there is no pillar big enough to ask you to touch the deal that is on offer, nor is a spoon tall enough to advise you to live with this devil.
Lodore’s website and email say it operates from a large office block near Euston station in London. It advertises: ‘Since the mid-1980s, Lodor has been providing a variety of specialist services to help grow and sell alternative investments.’ It claims to have spent years working with clients to maximize their wealth, saying ‘we act as asset managers and we love building partnerships with our clients’.
And the company gives its registration number as 00166329 which confirms at the company house is the correct number for LODOOR LTD which has been in business since 1920.
Yet everything you have been told, and claimed on Loador’s email and on its website, is complete and untrue.
Lodor is a fraudster in London, a clone who has stolen the identity of the real Lodor, who has a registered office in Liverpool and a land and farming business based in the Lake District. Accountant Clive Plummer, who has looked after the real Lodor cases for many years, told me: ‘We are true, innocent bystanders. They are using the original company number.
The original Lodor has been contacted by three people who thought it operated a Euston investment business. Plummer reported the clone to Action Fraud and the Financial Conduct Authority, but, he says, he was not interested: ‘FCA told us to fix your problems unless it’s you who got scammed’ He is going.’
Lodore’s attitude towards you was baseless. It claimed to be a system for searching escrow accounts in banks and then locating those who could claim those funds. There is no such system, but the fake Lodore said it got £10,485 due to a failed investment you made several years ago.
The snag was that you had to pay £1,550 as legal fees to release the money. You were asked to send it to a bank account in the name of JEM Ltd, a small company established two months back and registered in a flat in South London. Needless to say, don’t part with a penny. There is no pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow.
It would have been nice to have a comment from the fraudsters about all this, but as soon as I started questioning they went to the ground, with their phones unanswered and unwilling to accept the messages.
If they’re gone forever, good riddance.
Losing Out of Weatherspoon’s Employees’ Free Share Plan
GJ writes: While in sixth form, my granddaughter worked part-time at the Weatherspoon pub, and at university she worked at two other Weatherspoon pubs until last year, when she was discharged.
When the lockdown ended, she needed a full-time job but her manager was not interested so she had to quit. She was in the share incentive scheme, and bought shares along with getting some freebies, but when she resigned she was told that she was not entitled to them.
She believes she has lost thousands of pounds.
Tony Hetherington replies: Wetherspoons and her boss Tim Martin have a good reputation for being customer-friendly, so I asked if it was true that free shares were snatched back from your granddaughter because there was no full-time job available for her.
I was given details of all his shares, showing that he bought 39 shares and gave 97 free.
But free shares have strings attached. They can’t be sold for three years, and if you leave the job within three years of being given them, your granddaughter is left with just 13.
The result is that he has received £368 as proceeds from the share sale, but on the slightly brighter side he has only forfeited £600 and not thousands.
We are looking at you: Fraudster jailed… but scammers still free
A fraudster who helped conceal the proceeds of a multimillion-pound investment scam has been sentenced to 28 months in prison, despite the Financial Conduct Authority not prosecuted for his involvement in the scam.
Stephen Allen pleaded guilty to making a deed that concealed the actual ownership of a stake in the London estate.
The real owner was Renwick Haddow, one of seven individuals named by the FCA as being behind a series of unauthorized investment schemes operating under the title African Land or Agricultural Capital.
I warned in 2010 that Agri Capital’s plan to invest in rice-growing farms with the promise of 50 per cent capital gains in the first year was illegal and backed by bogus guarantees. Three years later, in 2013, the FCA launched legal action to freeze the plan and recover investors’ money.
One of the gangsters, Robert McCendrick, tried to divert funds in his wife’s name, and in 2019 he was jailed for contempt of court. Stephen Allen is now following him to hide the ownership of Renwick Haddow’s London estate worth over £1 million. FCA enforcement chief Mark Steward said: ‘This is a serious facilitation offense. FCA will pursue those who facilitate financial crime as well as prime criminals.’
However, the FCA itself has named key individual perpetrators in the Agri Capital scandal as Marcia Hargus, Richard…