"Victims reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from 'brokers' at Kendrick Zale."
Sami Raja, aged 32, of Grays, Essex was jailed for eight years at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, January 18, 2019, for his involvement in the mis-selling of carbon credits which totalled £2.4 million.
He, along with four others, mis-sold carbon credits to unsuspecting victims through two companies, Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd, between January 2012 and August 2013.
The other men involved in the fraudulent scheme were sentenced in September 2018.
It was heard that victims of Harman Royce would receive telephone calls from “brokers” of the company when it was actually Raja and the other men.
They would persuade them to invest in a voluntary emission reduction (a type of carbon credit) while using false names.
Brokers at Harman Royce used the contact details of the clients to target their victims, who were usually over 50-years-old and living in wealthy postcodes.
Over a period between January 2012 and October 2012, 130 people were charged between £5.26 and £6.50 per carbon credit, totalling a loss of £1.5 million.
Evidence from an independent consultant revealed the real trading price for carbon credits during that time was between 25p and 30p.
Victims were told they had to keep their investment in carbon credits between four months and 10 years. They would then receive a “contract note” which detailed the investment sum and how many credits this reflected.
The money paid to Harman Royce was used to pay staff wages and buy luxury items including a £4,000 Rolex and an Aston Martin worth £33,000.
Between May 2013 and August 2013, brokers at Kendrick Zale were found to have sold more than 300,000 carbon credit units to 28 investors totalling £900,000.
A police spokesperson said: “Similar tactics were used by Kendrick Zale. Victims reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from ‘brokers’ at Kendrick Zale who used high-pressure sales techniques to persuade them to invest.
“In many cases, investors were persuaded to cash in Individual Savings Accounts or sell existing shares in reputable companies.”
Many of the investors were persuaded by Raja to cash in Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) or sell existing shares with highly regarded companies to buy Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).
In August 2013, police officers began investigating Kendrick Zale after Essex police provided information and due to its office in St Mary Axe, City of London.
Officers executed a search warrant at both company offices in September 2013 where Raja and the others were arrested. Items such as scripts, brochures and sales confirmations were seized.
It was heard that victims were provided with a bogus carbon market analysis spreadsheet, claiming to show the monthly changes in carbon credit prices between 2007 and 2012.
Hayley Wade, senior investigating officer of the City of London Police fraud squad said:
“The set-up of Kendrick Zale just months after clients of Harman Royce had been defrauded shows the callous nature in which these fraudsters operated.
“Raja cruelly targeted often elderly individuals with the intention of defrauding them of their life savings.
“He clearly felt no remorse for their actions, closing one company, only to set-up another and commit the same offences.”
Raja was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
The four men who accompanied him were jailed in September 2018.
Sandeep Dosanjh, aged 30, of Essex, was jailed for four years and six months after pleading guilty to counts of conspiracy to defraud.
Charanjit Sandhu, aged 28, of Essex, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud and was jailed for three years. As a result of Sandu’s offences which were investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), his total sentence was nine years.
James Lanston, aged 28, of Kent, was sentenced to two years and three months after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud.
Michael Nascimento, aged 41, of Kent, was found guilty of three counts of money laundering and was jailed for 11 years. As a result of the offences investigated by the FCA, his total sentence was 13 years.
Sami Raja was sentenced to eight years in prison for the charges he was found guilty of.
Wade added: “The custodial sentences imposed will hopefully go some way to deterring others from committing such offences.”