TONY HETHERINGTON: I was victim of a rare earth metals investment scam operating under the name Denver Trading
Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday's ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below.??
R.R. writes:?I was victim of a rare earth metals investment scam operating under the name Denver Trading.?
Its bosses were jailed, but the firm which introduced me to the fraud was never investigated. It was Sol Emissions Limited which told me it charged 5 per cent commission, but actually took up to 60 per cent.
How can I find Sol Emissions and take the company to court?
Sol traders: Tom Markham, left, and Eddie Turford of Sol Emissions
Denver Trading was a major fraud. That is not just my view. It was the verdict of a judge and jury who decided that 600 people had been ripped off to the tune of about ￡7 million, half of which had been pocketed by the company’s sales agents. The company was run by two experienced professional fraudsters, Christopher Sabin and Tobias Ridpath.
I first warned against Sabin almost 15 years ago when he was behind a corrupt art investment firm, Taylor Jardine. I warned against Ridpath when he was flogging cheap champagne at high prices as an investment. Both were disqualified as directors.
The pair are now serving nine-year jail sentences, imposed last May, thanks to an investigation by Devon and Cornwall Police.
A local officer became concerned when an 80-year-old he knew was a victim of the scam.
The small team handling the case did not investigate sales agents such as Sol Emissions because they were outside their territory.
Sol Emissions, based in the City of London, lied to you. It claimed there was a ‘lucrative’ market in rare earth metals and that ‘the end result for at least the next five years for this commodity is that investors will be queuing to become involved in what can only be compared to a Gold Rush’.
It added: ‘It is almost certain the prices for rare earth metals will skyrocket over the next two to five years.’
In fact, despite the name, rare earth metals are not even that scarce. They are used in mobile phones and similar devices, but there is no market for ordinary investors. One who put ￡39,000 into Denver Trading found the real value was just ￡285.
The salesman you dealt with was Eddie Turford, now 24, but the owner of Sol Emissions was 33-year-old Tom Markham. Together, they now run TRM Recruitment.
No market for ordinary investors: Despite the name, rare earth metals are not even that scarce
Disturbingly perhaps, their new company advertises that financial services recruitment is ‘a core area’ of its business. Markham’s financial acumen can be gauged by the fact he also tried to sell you carbon credits that he claimed were ‘extremely desirable to potential buyers’. This was rubbish. If you had put money in, you would have lost your investment.
Turford’s judgment was no better. He told you that ‘rare earth metals are a true protector of wealth – they are not dependent on speculation’. He explained: ‘They are rare by nature. Their supply is limited.’
However, a brochure issued by Sol Emissions even admits they are ‘relatively plentiful’.
The blunt fact is that this unpleasant pair fleeced investors, lined their own pockets handsomely and are now business owners. Neither of them replied to repeated invitations to comment or explain themselves.
They may yet have to answer questions though. According to the police, information about Sol Emissions ‘is currently being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’.
Any reader who trusted Markham and Turford and lost money should contact me. I will be happy to pass on to the police any evidence I receive.?
If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email [email protected] Because of the high volume of enquiries, personal replies cannot be given. Please send only copies of original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.
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