A husband and wife team have been discovered to be scamming investors out of £8m through fake hotel development projects.
Some 13 companies have been wound up after they were found to be involved in the scam. Money from 11 of the companies was to be used to help husband and wife Matthew and Charlotte Roberts convert a former convent into a hotel and music venue called The Convent Hotel & Spa in Woodchester.
The couple bought the Cotswolds property including 26 acres around in 2013 for around £1.7m.
The remaining two businesses were to raise capital for a second project in Norway to develop an ‘eco resort’.
The companies, which traded from an address in Stroud, were set up under the guise of raising around £7.8m from a number of investors.
The Roberts are both bankrupt.
The private investors were told that their investments would be fully asset backed with the companies in which they purchased shares acquiring ownership of various land and buildings at the two sites.
Investors were invited to buy preference shares in the companies on the promise of annual returns from 10% and guaranteed buybacks up to 150% depending on the length of the investment term – which could be between one, three or five years.
They were then told that their investment was high risk and having certified themselves as either ‘high net worth individuals’ or ‘sophisticated investors’, they would have no access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
However, none of the land, or buildings was found to be owned by the companies in which investors had invested.
David Hill, chief investigator with the Insolvency Service, said: “I am very pleased to see that the Court has called a halt to the unscrupulous activities of these companies. The Insolvency Service will continue to investigate and bring to a halt the activities of companies harming or about to harm the public by operating in this way.
“The companies have shown no regard for the law.”