British expats in Spain caught by investment scammers

Published:  24 Dec at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
The latest financial scam perpetrated on expats living in Spain is estimated to have lost the victims millions of euros.

The scam, run by Palma-based GWD Forestry and involving investment in so-called agro-plantations, is the latest of its type to trap unwary expatriates living and working overseas. So far, some 40 victims have registered with UK-based legal and law enforcement consultants Carlton Huxley, with the total amount invested believed to be around €3.5 million. GWD Forestry is being accused of the mismanagement of investors’ cash, with many of those affected telling local media they had never received a return on their investments.

Investors are reporting they have made many attempts to contact the investment firm with no results and, to make matters worse, are now being contacted by other con artists claiming to be independent financial advisors attempting to take over GWD Forestry’s operations. Expat victims are complaining about daily calls, with some believing the self-styled IFAs are linked to the investment company in some way.

The cold-callers are offering three times the victims’ initial investments conditional on the payment of a €5,000 ‘insurance premium’, leading to concern about how the supposed IFAs knew how much each individual investor initially put in and the dates the individual investments were made. According to a spokesperson for Carlton Huxley, the calls are originating from ‘Belmont Insolvency’, and are telling duped investors the ‘now insolvent’ GWD is being investigated by the City of London Police. Neither statement is true and Belmont Insolvency is now unable to be contacted and its website is down.

A former employee at GWD’s Mallorca office told reporters those working at the firm knew something was wrong but continued taking high salaries. Another said it resembled a ‘boiler room’, with tele-sales staff selling non-existing stock and overvaluing the stock they still had. Another former employee said the firm is under investigation by the Canadian Financial and Consumer Services Commission, but the authority declined to comment when approached by Spanish media. The scam isn’t the first to involve tree plantations, with a spate of similar ‘investments’ revealed as cons over the past decade.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive