Landbankng Scams


Landbanking schemes

Buying a small plot of agricultural land that is guaranteed increase in value after it is developed sounds like an excellent investment opportunity.  This enterprise is known as ‘landbanking’.  However, like any investment opportunity, you must beware of unscrupulous scam operators that are eager to take your money in return for false promises.

This is how landbanking works:

Small parcels of farmland are advertised for sale as investment opportunities, usually online or via telemarketing.  You may also see stands promoting such investments at places such as lifestyle exhibitions.  The pieces of land that are sold are often located in areas that have significantly high house prices, adjacent to urban areas or lands that are already allocated for development.  Investors are convinced to buy the plots of land on the premise that it can be resold to a developer for a sizeable profit once planning permission has been granted.

A potential investor is likely to encounter high-pressure sales techniques combined with misleading advertising when approached by some of these unscrupulous sellers.  Typically, the land that is being sold has little or no development potential and is being sold at a vastly inflated price.  They will mislead potential buyers by suggesting that permission for development is already as good as granted and that the property value is guaranteed to increase.

The reality is that the buyer may be persuaded to purchase land that will never be suitable for development and is unlikely to ever increase in value.  For example, the land might be located in a swamp or a flood risk area, or on ground that is geologically unsuitable for development.  The actual value of the property is often a mere fraction of what the unlucky investor has paid, making it highly unlikely that he will ever be ever to sell it or recover his investment.

Protecting yourself from dishonest landbankers

  • Always investigate any company thoroughly before giving them any money.  Do your own investigation and do not take the salesman’s word for anything!
  • Ask advice from a professional who is not connected to the company who is selling the land.
  • Be sceptical of any claims that your investment is ‘guaranteed’ to make money.  After all, if these investments were so lucrative, why are these companies so anxious to sell them to you?
  • Talk to the local planning authorities to see if it is likely that there will be planning permission granted for the property. 

Leave a Comment

33 comments… add one
  • Rob browning 28 April, 8:57 am

    Your article on land banking is very useful. I have been approached by Britannia land management, floor 37, One canada Square, London but I dont know if this is a reputable company or am I being taken for a ride. Do you know anything about this company?

    Reply
  • RAMESH 13 December, 1:42 pm

    A similar company, KINGSWOOD LAND LTD, is operating from a Mayfair address in Hanover Square. Beware of them.

    Reply
  • Cloughy 31 December, 1:36 pm

    I bought a plot from Property Partnership over a year ago. I can see now that this was a complete con. When you press them, you realise they are all full of hot air. Anybody interested in investing with any of these companies should steer well clear. What some of them do doesn’t appear to be technically illegal, but it is immoral.

    Reply
    • PIRATEYE 5 February, 3:08 pm

      THE PP (AKA ULTRACLASS LTD) THEY TOOK ME IN TOO, MANIPULATED ME IN A BIG WAY. I HOPE THEY CAN BE STOPPED SOON. THEY ARE LOCATED IN BROMLEY NOT LONDON

      Reply
  • Richard Lloyd 10 February, 9:06 pm

    My elderly mother was scammed 3 times by Property Partnership – they buy a large plot of land for a few grand, split into 100 plots and then sell each one for 6 grand (note that 5 grand is the limit for small claims court – devious eh?). PP will go through the whole legal process too (official Land Registry forms etc.), even though your plot is worth about 30 quid. Extremely devious, but really should be made 100% illegal – where are the regulatory bodies controlling this sort of scam?

    Kingswood Land is another one who just contacted my mother – fancy brochure, but the same slimy sales tactis as PP. We’ve registered for the Telephone Preference Service and when I phone them up to tell them that, they claimed my mother had a prior arrangement with them (when pushed, they admitted it was that her house was in the Land Registry! Unbelieveable!).

    I can’t tell you how angry these sorts of scams make me – cheap to set up (they rent a “virtual office”), rakes in the cash and it’s all seemingly legal at the moment. We had to get HSBC to start an investigation of the PP transactions and eventually got most of the money refunded, but be extremely wary of any company selling you a (tiny) plot – they are evil!

    Reply
  • Cloughy 13 February, 10:03 pm

    To Richard Lloyd. If you don’t mind me asking, what was the nature of the investigation that HSBC carried out? Was this for one of the transactions or all of them? Can you elucidate?

    Reply
  • RAMESH 13 February, 10:12 pm

    Stay clear of landbanking – as advised in the article. There are better investments about. Figures of 20% per annum [atleat] are not really true. You will probably never see your capital back.

    Reply
  • pirateye 14 February, 3:46 pm

    hi Richard, I would also like to know how HSBC got to refund the money, please would you expand. I hope I can do the same

    Reply
  • Neal 21 April, 9:51 pm

    I would also be keen to hear on and success and getting money back from Kingswood land, my father in law has recently been scammed…
    Are there any TV programmes that would take this up as a feature?

    Reply
  • Dave 3 May, 5:40 pm

    These evil bastards should be rounded up and put on an island at sea away from law abiding people. They are cunning and totally evil.
    I have been scammed by the PP and I and some others would like to meet this scum face to face.

    Reply
  • chris barouchi 1 September, 9:52 am

    This story was published around 5 years ago

    Subject: LAND BANKING IS A SCAM (the story of how it all started

    Kevin Jones, Stephen Quayle and Ian McCallum are now in Sunny Spain, and Richard Willoughby is still in the UK thinking that he is safe. All four individuals have been involved in a BIG Scam, and you have still done nothing. They have got away with millions of pounds of peoples money.

    COPY SENT TWO YEARS AGO TO THE MONEY LAUNDERING ORGANISATION

    This could possibly be the most significant letter you will have received this decade. I am about to share with you a multi million pound scam that still continues to flourish in the UK today. This scam has been protected by individuals who are abusing a major loophole in the law; this particular loophole is not regulated by law, so there is a major case of abuse going on as we speak.

    (Now I am not questioning the legality of the scheme as I have checked this out with a friend of mine at the CID. What I do question is if this partnership that you will hear about is indeed paying tax or VAT or NIC, I believe they are paying none).

    As you read on you will find out that this elaborate scam does exist, and I would like to sate that everything I share with you can be backed up with documented evidence as to the validity of the scam. The very essence of the scam involves the buying and selling of Land but before I go into detail allow me to share a secret with you of how it all came about.

    About Four and a half years ago a company was formed in the UK called (CLB), Capital Land Bank Ltd. Registration Number 04510111. The mission of this company was to buy cheap greenbelt land, divide the land into smaller plots and then offer these plots to the general public as a brilliant investment, which they successfully did.

    There is a company called Property Spy who have been successfully doing this for quite some time now, so the people behind CLB just had to copy an existing platform, and if they did the same thing, then they would obviously achieve the same result. Well, over two and a half years later they have pocketed several millions and laundered the money to Spain .

    There is no law in this country that has any legal right to pertaining to land being purchased then sub divided. Any individual can buy a plot of land, divide this land up with the help of an architect, and forward the proposal to HML registry to obtain smaller plots all with their own title deeds. Then these smaller plots are sold off in individual portions as a brilliant investment. They tell the prospective buyer that the land will eventually get planning consent and they will make 10-15 times their investment.

    First of all I would like to state that greenbelt land is just that, greenbelt and you cannot give any indication as to the date it will get planning, why? Because know body knows.

    In the beginning the company CLB raised funds by offering people they knew an opportunity to get involved on the ground floor as affiliates. Affiliates could recommend other would be punters and receive a 15% commission.

    The individuals who are behind this scam are the very same people who were the founder members of the ostrich farming corporation scam; this was closed down by the DTI.

    There are three companies who are all associated with the initial company Capital Land Bank; their details will be reviled in the letter. Currently glossy literature is mailed out to interested punters who call in from the national advertising campaign.
    Although it is an expensive exercise to send out a DVD and glossy brochures to potential buyers, it becomes apparent that when a plot of land is sold, on average a profit of some £10,000 is made every time, making this a very lucrative business indeed. All the land company does is pay the sales rep 10-15% commission, and pockets the difference.

    Usually for every 20-30 business packs that are sent out which include a glossy brochure and DVD you will find one or two people will part with the minimum required which is £12,000.

    For your £12,000 investment you will receive the title deeds to a small piece of land which will never get planning consent. You can go to the different websites and look at the site map which pertains to Scholes and Cookridge west Yorkshire . There are also plots being sold in Godalming. This greenbelt land was purchased for under £100,000. The deal was done by a man called “Richard Willoughby” who is one of the partners of a company you will hear more about called “ELP The English land Partnership”.

    A part time architect was brought in who then divided this land into small plots of around one tenth of an acre. There are some 190 little plots on this site which have sold for between £12,000 and £30,000 this will return almost three million not bad hey for an initial layout of £100,000? (The site has now been sold. Where is the three million? It’s in Spain somewhere)

    The map looks even better when you draw little houses on it with trees etc, but remember this is still greenbelt land and as yet has not received planning consent. The map looks better still when you draw the word “sold” over 60-70% of it and then “reserved” on the rest.

    Before I go into further detail about the scam and money laundering operation, allow me to give you some background on the people behind this particular company. (By the way the company was liquidated just before the DTI was going to close them down). Contact Paul Simpson senior investigator for the DTI on 0161 952 4497 he will put you in the picture.

    Capital land Bank Ltd (CLB), is now trading as The English land Partnership (ELP)

    Kevin Jones
    Stephen Quayle
    Ian McCallum
    Richard Willoughby
    Peter Sage

    • Kevin Jones (The big Boss. Just served 5 years in prison for major fraud. This man is the main man responsible for another Scam which was called “The ostrich farming corporation” which was closed down by the DTI) Kevin owns The English Land Partnership the company, but cannot operate it in his name because of his criminal history, therefore he operates it at a distance. Interesting fact: He now drives a Rolls Royce. How does he do this, as he does not appear as a partner but is in the London office everyday?

    • Ian McCallum (Front Man) currently has everything in his name because Mr. Jones has just finished his parole after serving a 5 year prison sentence for serious fraud. (he was also involved in the ostrich scam, best friend with Kevin Jones)

    • Stephen Quayle (Kevin’s right hand man, also a former Ostrich Farming Scam member)) A very sharp cookie indeed, manipulative and cleaver in sending the profits of the English land partnership overseas.

    These three people above were all involved at the very highest level in the ostrich farming scam that was closed down by the DTI a few years ago.

    • Peter Sage (Investor & former partner) Details of Peter Sage enclosed. Has been banned as acting as a company director for 5 years (just finished) currently being closely watched by the police. He now owns and runs Profitable Plots.
    • (Peter Sage has sold profitable plots and now lives in Canada )

    • Richard Willoughby (Calls himself an expert on Land Acquisitions) Tells people he was totally independent of CLB, this is not true, now that CLB has been wound up he appears on the ELP website. A Land Acquisitions buyer and seller, who on the surface appears to be cleaner than a preacher’s sheet, Totally aware that all the partners have criminal records, but he does not care as he gets paid large sums of cash to keep quiet.

    This is how the scam works:

    • You take a field of greenbelt land (any size will do) which you buy for peanuts.
    • 1 acre of greenbelt land (approximate value £5,000)
    • You then divide this into smaller plot sizes of around a tenth of an acre
    • You do this by drawing up a map with the help of an architect
    • Now you have what looks like a map of little plots
    • You then draw little houses on the map to make it look nice and legitimate
    • Then you sell these plots as potential 3-4 bedroom plots at pre-planning prices
    • You then further baffle them with terminology, telling them the (UDP) Unitary development programme states that planning permission will be inevitable.
    • You tell people that although there is no current planning permission, this land is next in line to get it
    • There is NO guarantee that planning will ever be approved (Please call Leeds council and ask them)
    • You then tell people who telephone in from your advertising campaign that this is prime greenbelt land and that you have inside information that it will get planning consent.
    • You then take anything from £12,000 to £30,000 for a plot of land that has a value of lass than £500 (and the land is not even good enough to fly a kite on)
    • One person even paid over £150,000 for 10 plots and received a discount.
    • Six months later the same client paid a further £280,000.

    So back to the story

    When Capital Land bank (CLB) was first formulated, the partners approached their own contacts and told them that they were going to create a brilliant Land banking company. The affiliates could all pay as little as £6,000 for a plot of prime greenbelt land (half price) and that they could sit on it as an investment or CLB would sell it for them and they would split the commission.

    Example: The initial investors two years ago could buy a plot of land £6,000 (true value less than £400) Capital Land bank Ltd would then sell it on their behalf for £12,000 and the proposal was that the affiliate would share the profit £3,000 each. Not bad hey. But they would also guarantee that if they did not sell the land they would give the affiliate10% interest on their investment after six months.
    Do you think that this was ever honoured? Over 50+ people have been ripped off.

    A customer who came to one of their slick presentation in London recognised Kevin Jones and must have informed the DTI, just as the DTI moved in to close the company down, they liquidated CLB and all of the money and assets disappeared.
    Within one month a new company was formed called “The English land partnership” ELP same people, but this time a non limited company. Apparently the DTI do not have any jurisdiction on Partnerships only Limited companies. The trading standards however have powers but they either don’t have the time or they simply don’t care. All of the 50 plus people who invested between £6,000 and £30,000 have never received any money back. Since CLB ( Capital Land bank) no longer exists people were basically told to whistle for their money.

    Since the launch of Capital Land bank and Landbanking concept the partners have now split, and they have all gone their separate ways.

    From this initial company three other companies have been formulated, and guess what none of them have any experience in Land Acquisitions, they are as follows:-

    1. The English land partnership http://www.theenglishlandpartnership.com

    Address:
    1 Berkeley Street
    London
    W1J 8DJ Telephone: 0870 225 0010 Fax: 0870 225 0011

    Current Partners,
    Kevin Jones
    Stephen Quayle
    Ian McCallum
    Richard Willoughby (Possibly the biggest crook of them all)

    2. Perfect Plots http://www.buyengland.com

    The Profitable Plot Company Ltd,
    Address: Bramcote House, Ervington Court , Meridian Business Park, Leicester , LE19 1WL , United Kingdom
    UK Office 0800 043 44 45 *Outside UK Dial +44 116 282 2140
    Fax +44 116 263 1468 Sole Owner, Peter Sage (but now operates it at a distance and does not appear on the memorandums and articles of association)
    3. Hayden James http://www.haydenjames.co.uk/about.htm

    Head Office
    Manvers House
    Pioneer Close
    Wath Upon Dearne
    South Yorkshire
    S63 7JZ

    Sales Office This is a mailing address used to make the
    The Business Centre business feel important
    Empire House
    175 Piccadilly
    Mayfair
    London
    W1J 9TB
    Tel No: 0870-80-80-118
    Fax No: 0870-22-50-060
    Email: enquiries@haydenjames.co.uk

    The Two Partners of Hayden James,
    Mandy Lewis (Peter Sage’s ex-girlfriend)
    Domenic Jones (Kevin Jones’s son)

    (I wonder where these two youngsters were able to find the money to set up their own Landbanking Company as Domenic is just 23 and Mandy is aged 28 and broke.). Not now though.

    And finally, another man called “Stephen Cleeve” who used to work as the manger of The English Land Partnership has decided to set up his own company. After his initial training by Stephen Quayle, he then one morning decided to jump ship and start his own company now called “ELS” The European Land Sales Partnership. Well, you know what they say “No honour amongst thieves”

    When he parted with them he took half of their sales force, nice hey!!
    All of these companies use the same tactics and strategies to take money off people for land that does not have planning permission. In some cases they are all selling the same land which is located in Leeds (you should speak with Leeds council and see what they have to say, they have been bombarded with calls from people). Also look at the land these people are selling Cookridge and Scholes. You should also speak to the residence in that area, some of the land has been sold many times over.

    Someone needs to put a stop to this as people are loosing money. Any type of land that is greenbelt land is just that, greenbelt land. You cannot call it prime or platinum grade land because greenbelt land no matter what label you place on it does not have planning consent.

    None of these so called land companies intend on paying any kind of tax, and all the sales people working for them are self employed. Monies from ELP (The English Land Partnership) are being sent to Spain and re-invested in other projects.
    If you look into ELP’s bank account you will find that they never hold money just in case they get caught.

    On a final note: Profitable Plots and The English Land Partnership have the same land for sale, yet if you look at the website of Profitable Plots it condemns the so called plot owners association, if so then why does it have and has had the same land for sale (Cookridge, Scholes and Everton)????

    Here is the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/01_january/23/inside_out.shtml

    There are many people doing this in England , the land will never get planning permission!!
    http://www.stephencleeve.com/

    http://money.scotsman.com/scotsman/articles/articledisplay.jsp?section=Mortgages&article_id=3316174

    Reply
  • Raz 10 September, 9:40 pm

    All these land banking scheme should be avoided. Any body who was scammed by the English Land Partnership or the ELS, in particular with regards to the Wombourne site please go to http://www.wombourneplotowners.spruz.com for support. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Martin 5 May, 4:43 pm

    I was sold plots by Hayden James. I was “pitched” By a young man named Gareth once he established how much money i had to spend i was told that the senior partner of the company ( Dominic Jones ) was available did i want to speak with him. I did and he proceeded to sell the concept and advised me to invest with caution as there are a lot of “dodgy” companies about. I met with Dominic Jones a real flash looking guy spoke the story well so i trusted him and bought 3 plots.

    A few weeks later I was called by Dominic Jones direct and told i could get involved in a site on a pre launch basis but had to send £17,500 within the next couple of days, again i trusted this flash bastard and aloud him to spin me a line so i sent the money. I have not heard anything from Dominic or any one from Hayden James since.

    I heard rumors that he lived in Spain or Caracas (south America). I also heard that he had been attacked by some one who had bought land with them and felt badly done to ( i cant say i am sorry about this). I have been warned to avoid getting involved in chasing him on a personal level due to his connections to the criminal under world.

    I am looking to track him down through the legal avenues but i am yet to find a firm to represent my case. If any one has a lawyer that can help and is at all familiar with the situation let me know.

    Thanks

    Martin

    N.B The partners of Hayden James are Katherine Lewis and Dominic Jones.

    Reply
  • Paul 27 May, 12:02 am

    Dominic still lives in Edenthorpe Doncaster I found him on the electoral role and witnessed him going into the house

    Reply
    • lynda zhang 2 September, 11:07 am

      Paul, do you have evidence if Dominic Jones and accomplices?

      Reply
    • Lewis Jones 27 February, 2:47 pm

      He lives in leicster now (im his son)

      Reply
  • Jon Sims Williams 7 June, 5:03 pm

    I see you say that you got HSBC to investigate a property partnership ‘investment’ and got most of the money back. CAn you give me any further idea how this could be done as I lost a lot of money through them?

    Thanks

    Reply
  • Paul Bryant 20 March, 9:58 am

    I have just had an houre phone call from a guy called James Burton from First Choice Property flogging plots in Brazil. He starts off the BRIC countries and football and Olypic prospects and then tries to flog off up to 3 plots at £5000 a piece. He then hands you over to some other hard sell guy and then gives you 3 days to decide. I was glad to keep him on the line for an hour as it stopped him scamming someone else. BEWARE FIRST CHOICE PROPERTIES. They have a content free web site.

    Reply
    • Wayne Westhead 1 May, 11:08 am

      I must be a real gullible idiot, I was ripped off to the tune of 150k by First Choice in Properties (FCP) hard sale was by a bastard calling himself Jeffrey Benedict and his side kick Lucas Goldman sold me plots in Mundau Village – Fortaleza Brazil. Reported them to Action Fraud 8 months ago they passed my case onto City of London Police but have heard nothing back from them. I notice now the FCP website is now removed. Totally gutted and disappointed I’ve heard absolutely nothing back from the police.

      Reply
  • Ali Ezeoke 3 April, 5:39 pm

    Just got off the phone with a fellow called Michael from First Choice Property selling plots of land in Mundau village and Fort Aleza both in Brazil. Each 250sqM plot cost £5000 and expected to rip a 25% profit in a year. He will be calling back but he would not be getting a shilling from me.

    Reply
  • will 30 July, 10:41 pm

    same from a dennis cartwright, strung him along for nearly 1 hour then said im out

    Reply
  • will 21 August, 8:48 pm

    these cheeky chappies are still plugging this one to me despite my
    ‘customer from hell’ responses to their calls. I guess the developer
    will be offering peanuts for the plots if it even gets to that stage
    – the punters will have to accept or get nothing back.
    even sent me the buying forms which cost them £6 in postage – result!
    remember, if it smells like **** that’s probably what it is!

    Reply
  • Jon Sims Williams 24 August, 4:59 pm

    Has any one managed to get Capital Gains Tax losses from losing money on this sort of scheme? I didnt get anything for my money before Property Partnership went bust.

    Reply
  • lynda zhang 2 September, 10:58 am

    Martin, did you pay by credit card? I bought 2 plots from Hayden James Land Acquisitions in Nov 04.

    please contact me.

    Reply
  • paul 3 November, 3:08 pm

    please get in touch. I am getting a group together to take criminal action against dominic and kathryn lewis. the weasel dog at gee mail dot c. o – m

    Reply
    • lynda 2 December, 4:20 pm

      Have emailed you Paul.

      Reply
  • Gigs 12 November, 8:31 am

    I also got a call from First Choice Properties for a 250 sq. m. plot in Mundau Village, Brazil for 5000 pounds before 2-3 month. I grilled them for an hour or so and then i said i don’t have money right now to invest. Then after 3 months again i am getting call from them by saying the same plot’s price is rised to 5600 pounds and JW Marriot is going to buy a land near to it. I will grill them like a hell this time and obviously won’t give a single penny!

    Reply
  • Chris Barouchi 2 December, 4:05 pm

    Katherine Lewis and Dominic Jones are an item – they have two children together. Katherine Lewis real name Mandy JLewis ex girlfriend of Peter Sage who was also a partner of ELP but left to set up profitable plots. http://www.petersage.com

    Reply
    • Lewis Jones 27 February, 2:45 pm

      Nope your wrong he has threee children and i am the eldest im 14 and i must say you guys really hate my dad but honestly i dont blame you hes an ass but he has changed

      Reply
  • pirateye 16 June, 9:15 pm

    Sorry to hear. Loads of us in the same situation. Mine was in 2010. Slowly I’m trying to get my life back together

    Reply
  • P 25 August, 11:21 pm

    Lewis (dominic’s son). Thanks for the message. I’d like to speak to your dad about a refund. How about he contacts me. theweaseldog@gmail.com

    Reply