Four men have been sentenced to over 12 years in prison for their part in a £2.4 million scheme involving the mis-selling of carbon credits to 130 investors.
Sandeep Dosanjh, James Lanston and Charanjit Sandhu had earlier admitted conspiring to make fraudulent sales through two companies, Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd between January 2012 and August 2013.
Dosanjh, who acted as a company director, was sentenced to four years and six months, while Sandhu and Lanston, who both had roles as senior brokers, received sentences of two years and nine months, and three years and three months.
The scheme involved the targeting of victims who were aged over 50 and who lived within affluent postcodes. They were persuaded to invest in voluntary emission reduction (VER) carbon credits, with promises of 100 per cent returns on their investments.
The fraudsters used fake ‘carbon market analysis’ spreadsheets to demonstrate increases in carbon credit prices over preceding years falsely. The VERs, which were claimed to be worth between £5.26 and £6.50, were only worth between 25p and 30p and could not be traded in secondary markets.
The Court heard that in the course of their searches, authorities found items including client lists, company brochures and contract notes. It was also revealed that, in addition to drawing salaries from the companies, Dosanjh, Lanston and Sandhu used profits from the scheme to splash out on luxury items such as sports cars and high-end watches.
Hayley Wade, senior investigating officer with City of London Police, said: “These fraudsters cruelly targeted often elderly individuals with the intention of defrauding them of their life savings….”
A carbon credit is a tradable permit or certificate that allows a company to emit a single tonne of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas. Companies that produce lower amounts of carbon dioxide can accumulate carbon credits as a consequence and can then sell them to other companies.
Carbon credit fraud takes various forms, including:
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