Scammers have conned investors out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by selling them protected land with the promise it would be developed with houses and a shopping centre.
Six companies conned at least 43 individuals into shelling out £11,000 nest eggs for small plots of land in what they called the Pennine View Project, off Quaker Lane in Liversedge.
The companies, who all traded from an office in Merseyside, have now been closed down by the High Court, which is starting an investigation into their conduct.
They were Green Crest Homes Limited, Brand Trader UK Limited, Sutton Wells Limited, Curved Ball Limited, JCB Marketing Limited and NSS-Operations Limited.
The matter came to light after investors reported the companies to the Insolvency Service.
Investigation supervisor Colin Cronin said: “These companies persuaded members of the public to invest thousands of pounds in plots of land that they falsely claimed they were seeking planning permission for.
“The companies said this planning permission was highly likely to be obtained and would result in a significant increase in the value of the land. In reality, no steps had been taken to obtain planning permission and there was very little prospect of any being granted.”
He said the companies told investors their land would increase up to 10 times in value.
He added: “The Insolvency Service will take firm action against companies and their directors when the public are deliberately misled in this manner.
“Anyone who is approached to invest in land in this way should take time to reflect, seek independent advice and research the company in question. If a scheme sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
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