A web of 13 companies involved in a £19m carbon credit scheme has been wound up by the High Court following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.
The firms sold carbon credits to the public at prices inflated by as much as 869 per cent.
The web of companies was controlled by Eco-Synergies, a wholesaler of Voluntary Emission Reduction carbon credits, which it supplied to other companies to market to the public.
The firms took £19m from investors for carbon credits which cost Eco-Synergies just £2.3m.
Insolvency Service company investigations supervisor Chris Mayhew says: “Eco-Synergies was at the centre of and controlled this web of companies in this patently bad scheme to sell carbon credits to the public for investment.
“The credits were sold at such inflated prices that an unnatural increase in value would be required before investors could break even let alone see a return on their investment.
“Investors including vulnerable individuals and often repeat victims who were urged to buy more and more credits have lost their money.”
Eco-Synergies supplied the credits to the other companies at a mark up, telling them they could expect returns in excess of 60 per cent.
A brochure sent to the firms from Eco-Synergies claimed it had a monthly turnover of £5m and had spent £200,000 on legal fees to ensure its systems and contracts were “watertight”.