Two directors from Essex who operated a business that sold ‘scam’ bonds that claimed to back global water projects, and took over £800,000 from investors, have been banned from holding directorships for 11 years each.
Michael Lee Livesey and Ross Perry, both aged 41 and from Basildon, were directors of Global Water Group, which claimed to sell ‘ethical’ investments bonds that supported water projects around the world.
The company advertised online, with the business described as a “high-level network of investors in, and advisers on, issues related to water supply whose members include heads of state, leaders in the global water industry, leading universities and academic institutions, wealth management firms, philanthropists, pension funds and high net worth investors.” Between 2017 and 2020, investors purchased bonds worth £800,000 and for some, this was a significant proportion of their life savings.
Investigations were made when Ross Perry – who took over from Livesey in October 2019 – put the business into liquidation in May 2020. On examination of the business, the liquidator was unable to identify a single genuine investment. It was also found over £200,000 had been withdrawn in cash from the company’s bank account between 2018 and 2020, and a further £100,000 payment had been made directly into Perry’s personal bank account.
The company is understood to have had debts of £888,000 but only £85,621 was found in its bank accounts. Livesey and Perry are now subject to 11-year disqualification undertakings, which run to 2032.
Dave Elliott, the chief investigator of the Insolvency Service, said: “This so-called ethical investment scheme was a scam, pure and simple. Sadly, it has robbed a number of elderly people of a large chunk of their life savings. This case should demonstrate to any other directors who may be tempted to misuse third-party funds that the Insolvency Service will investigate, and we will also support a criminal prosecution if necessary.”
Meanwhile, Essex Police have confirmed: “We are investigating a suspected fraud and money laundering allegation in relation to the conduct of a business trading as Global Water Group Limited.”