Tag Archives: David Ames

Harlequin’s David Ames disobeys court order, fails to give evidence in court. What now for investors?

David Ames - Harlequin's Ponzi King

David Ames – Harlequin’s Ponzi King

TLW Solicitors are here to help on a no-win no-fee basis

contributed by TLW Solicitors

Following recent reports of the Harlequin Properties’ headquarters going up for sale and the company’s chairman David Ames failing to give evidence in court, those who have lost out financially through the scheme are assured that they may still be entitled to compensation.

The Harlequin Property company was set to build 6000 luxury properties in the Caribbean, financed by deposits from UK investors. With only 300 of the properties actually built and the Harlequin Group having gone into liquidation, thousands of investors have been left in debt.

Rip Off Britain

The BBC’s consumer affairs programme Rip Off Britain investigated Harlequin Property for a second time earlier this year, after an initial broadcast in 2010. Although some early investors had been able to claim back their money, the returning of more recent deposits has been ruled out by the company since it entered liquidation.

Around 3000 UK investors are thought to have been involved in the Harlequin investments scheme. Chairman David Ames blamed the problems on the 2008 global recession and claims to have been let down by developers.

Recent evidence suggests the Harlequin case has been flawed from the start, with suggestions that it never owned much of the land it intended to build properties on, and a business model that relied wholly on continued foreign investment. (BFP Editor’s note: It’s called a ‘Ponzi Scheme’. We’ll say it, even if TLW Solicitors won’t.)

Investigations into Harlequin hotels & resorts

Harlequin Property has been subject to an ongoing investigation by the SFO (Serious Fraud Office) since 2013 and two warnings by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

David Ames running from the courts: Percival Stewart v Harlequin Properties

David Ames - Harlequin's Ponzi King

David Ames – Harlequin’s Ponzi King

Both Affidavits can’t be true!

Some interesting reading from a recent court case [March 2015] in St Vincent where Dave Ames is no stranger to litigation.

Percival Stewart v Harlequin Properties (Caribbean) Limited et al

In this case  on Page 4 the judge rules on the audacious delays by Ames in filing statements…

“Mr Commissiong deposes that Mr Ames lives in England and travels a lot globally making it difficult for him to be in Saint Vincent to testify. Implicit in Mr Commissiong’s averments is the notion that for those reasons, it was impossible or extremely difficult to contact Mr Ames, receive instructions from him, or arrange for him to sign a witness statement. I make the observation that the CPR permits a party to file and serve a witness summary if he is not able to provide a witness statement, and that a witness does not need to be in the jurisdiction to sign or attest either document.”

(download court document pdf here)

Now this is totally the opposite of what lawyers and Ames claimed last October 2014 (in the group of 33 investors failed case) when the judge was told that the company was NOT run from Essex. (See Judge rules against Harlequin investors in £1.8m court case)

“The case did not centre on whether or not the investors were owed money, a point which deputy judge Nicolas Strauss QC noted ‘does not appear to be in dispute’. Instead it focussed on whether a UK court could wind up Buccament Bay, given that the company was incorporated in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

While the investments were sold through Essex-based Harlequin Management Services (South East), which filed for administration in April 2013, Strauss ruled that Harlequin’s ventures including Buccament Bay were not run with ‘bird’s eye management from Essex’. He agreed that they were largely managed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and therefore this was the correct jurisdiction to apply for a winding up petition.”

The fact that Mr Commissiong’s claim that Ames couldn’t possibly find the time to be in St Vincent for the Stewart case makes a complete nonsense of Ames’ submission to the UK court that the Harlequin business was entirely run from the Caribbean and therefore the UK court’s jurisdiction does not apply.

Quite obviously both Affidavits cannot be true and both evade bringing Harlequin and Ames to account.

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Harlequin selling Headquarters building for £525,000 – Where is the £400million taken from investors?

harlequin headquarters fraud

We’d say it was like selling off the family silverware, except there is no silverware left. Probably never was any.

After slickly removing £400 million from little old ladies and transit pensioners, David Ames and his gang are selling off their headquarters to pay the bills.

The Serious Fraud Office and the Essex Police have had an open file on the bunch since early 2013, but after two years Ames is still walking around with the rotting financial corpses of thousands of victims in his wake.

Two years should be long enough for the police and the SFO to do the job. What’s the delay?

From the Professional Adviser…

Troubled Harlequin puts HQ up for sale

Troubled overseas property investment scheme Harlequin has put its headquarters up for sale.

The warehouse and offices in the Honywood Business Park in Basildon have been listed for sale on property website Rightmove for £525,000. Harlequin owner David Ames would also consider leasing back the first floor offices at a rent of £25,000 per year, according to the advert.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Harlequin owns its Basildon offices and occupies the first floor of Unit 11, with all other space let to third parties.

“Harlequin is attempting to sell in order to discharge its liability and remove its responsibilities as a lessor.”

The move raises further questions over the financial situation of the company, which has received £400m from investors that they are currently unable to access.

Unregulated investment scheme Harlequin worked by taking deposits from mainly UK pension investors to build off-plan properties in the Caribbean, which could then be sold at a profit on completion or used to generate a rental income from holidaymakers. But out of a scheduled 6,000 properties, about 300 have been built.

… read the rest at the Professional Adviser

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

With David and Matt Ames as mentors, expect great things from Colonial Capital Group PLC

“That’s quite a team!

With quite a track record: ruined lives, pensions destroyed, homes lost. Suicides. Marriage breakups. Families falling apart as the work of a lifetime vanishes.”

The Ames Gang rides again…

These guys just won’t quit.

Last March saw Harlequin’s Matthew Ames jailed for 40 months for his Forestry for Life fraud that took £1.6million from investors. Ames stole from the rich, from the poor, from widows and pipefitters.

Matt Ames was an equal opportunity swindler who dressed well and talked with such easy confidence that people immediately trusted him. And, hey… didn’t his family develop the acclaimed Harlequin Resorts? Yeah… shouldn’t be any problem with investing in Forestry For Life. Even James Middleton was in the picture! (Oh… you don’t know James? Ah… you might be more familiar with his sister Kate and brother-in-law William: as in “our future King and Queen”.)

One of Matt Ames’ colleagues at Forestry for Life was Kevin Neil – then on the rebound from seeing the High Court shut down his two property firms in the public interest – Agri Ventura PLC and Farm Venture Ltd. Neil was also the main figure in the CleanTech NRG financial collapse.

Three of Kevin Neil's CleanTech victims

Three of Kevin Neil’s CleanTech victims. Despite all Mr. Neil’s current directorships and past failed companies, we couldn’t find a photo of Mr. Neil. Can anyone assist?

The Mirror UK called Neil’s business a “Landbanking scam” and reported…   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Real Estate, Royal Family

Newly revealed report details Harlequin Resorts due diligence disaster

Dave Ames Harlequin Ponzi

If you can’t see fraud and Ponzi schemes here… you aren’t looking!

According to a due diligence chart posted online, Harlequin Resorts’ The Merricks development in Barbados did not file financial accounts for seven years between 2006 and 2013.

During that same period The Merricks took in £47,946,581 in payments from victims ‘investors’ but only spent £7,971,246 for land and construction costs.

That leaves £39,975,335 outstanding, or… a better way would put it: that leaves £39,975,335 MISSING.

How many Ministers of Government received ‘campaign donations’ from Harlequin during this period? How did our government protect investors and Barbados’ reputation during this period?

Why did the Barbados government allow this to happen? Seven years without required filings and Barbados politicians were content to line up for photographs with Harlequin’s David Ames? What the heck were they thinking?

Or… were our politicians simply delivering the service that they had been paid to deliver? With no Integrity Legislation and no Freedom of Information laws, Bajans will likely never be able to prove who the villains are.

The Harlequin Resorts chart is nothing more or less than a confirmation that Harlequin was and is nothing more or less than a gigantic Ponzi scheme.

More and more the questions are shifting from Harlequin to the UK and Barbados authorities charged with maintaining the law…

The question has become: Why have the authorities not acted to arrest and charge David Ames and his co-conspirators?

Comments are open!

You can download the due diligence report at Barbados Free Press here, or download it from FileTea.

 

 

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Harlequin house of cards continues to fall

Dave Ames Harlequin Ponzi

David Ames – Harlequin CEO and Ponzi Scheme King!

Where does one start when considering the sad tale of ‘investors’ who trusted their life savings with the predators working to sell never-to-be-constructed resort units for Harlequin?

These predators (called ‘financial advisors’) received 9 percent of the sale price off the top – and that came from the client’s 30 percent deposit! The clients were not told that about a third of their deposit was going as a sales commission, because that would have been an instant indication to most folks that something was terribly wrong.

Harlequin bastards. Most of the ‘financial advisors’ were unregulated, uninsured and totally unqualified. The ‘investment vehicles’ were different corporations in different countries – obviously created for the sake of confusion, hiding money and avoiding liabilities. Often Harlequin sold units on land that it did not own.

The scams could only have been pulled off with the cooperation of elected and appointed government officials in the different countries.

Harlequin’s ‘business model’ (I use the term with a rising anger) was totally unsustainable and is proof that the whole Harlequin scheme was an intended scam from the start. Like any Ponzi scheme, Harlequin collapsed because payments to previous investors relied upon finding sufficient new suckers to swindle. Once the cracks start to appear and new investors shy away, these types of frauds unravel very quickly.

And so it was, and is, with Harlequin…

UK Financial Ombudsman Service sides with Harlequin victims

The recent Financial Times Advisor article ‘Financial Ombudsman Service – FOS decision on Harlequin must be tip of iceberg‘ tells the story of the next chapter well. One of the profiting scam artists, Harris Knights, has been ordered to compensate a ripped off couple in full…

“… the ombudsman has ordered Harris Knights to take ownership of the Harlequin investment and compensate the couple in full.”

Thailand Court sides with Harlequin Victims   
Continue reading

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Secret Harlequin Resort legal documents ‘found on London train’ – here they are!

Harlequin Fraud Office

Dear Barbados Free Press,

We were just coming of a train just outside London and we found a box of documents relating to “Due Diligence” of a company or companies called Harlequin, they appear to be developing resorts in the Caribbean so we feel this is probably a good place to show what we found, especially for anyone out there who might be interested in investing in Harlequin.

There are many files to upload so please bear with us.

This is a 70 page redacted interim intelligence report from Regulatory Legal Solicitors, it makes for pretty grim reading, we did not redact it, the documents are exactly as we found them on the train.

This is an interesting witness statement from Jim Baker contained in the due diligence documents apparently left on the train, by a guy who resembled Simon Terry, but it was dark so we could not be sure.

Seems to be a lot of people suing Dave and Carol Ames in the Courts in the UK, wonder why this was in the Due Diligence, Seems like Jim is saying that Harlequin are worth nothing.

Yours very truly,

Anonymous!

Editor’s Note

Okay, okay… we’re a little behind on things. Might have had a couple of lost nights in the tradition of Dick Van Dyke. (Loved him in Mary Poppins, nevermind the worst phony cockney accent in film history!) The “found on London train” comments and documents were all sent using one of those anonymous proxies, so we really have no way to tell who sent them to us or from what country.

We’ll upload the documents when we can below. We’ll do a few now and get to the rest in the morning right here…

Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Real Estate, Uncategorized