Con artists flock to the emerging green markets, as investors beware

As the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the economic downturn continue to plague the nation, people are turning more and more to the green market for solutions and alternatives, yet at this point in time, most of these investment opportunities are simply fraud schemes.

Over $11 million were made by con artists running a fraudulent operation that hundreds of investors bought into this year. The operation was very sophisticate, with openers, closers and a sales manager, fooling some very experienced investors into thinking that they were putting money into a legitimate venture.

Openers were skilful salespeople who made first contact and pitched the investment opportunity to prospective victims. Closers would serve as both lucrative clients reeling the investors in, and as salespeople sealing the money transfers. The stocks bought were unregistered. A 20% commission was earned by the con artists who brought in new potential investors.

Large sums of money invested into the unsuspecting company used as a shield for the scheme were then transferred into the con artists’ personal bank accounts.

Hundreds of thousands of investor dollars were also used to buy luxury cars, eating at prestigious restaurants and a wedding for one of the con artists held in Italy that reportedly cost more than $40,000.

Every crisis, whether economical or energy-related tends to attract countless fraud experts, who are all looking to take advantage of the frustrated investors who want to make a profit in the difficult times.

The point and aim of most of these operations is too hike up the price of the stock under pretension of usefulness, and then pull out as soon as considerable sums of money is put into the fraudulent market.

Green schemes are now one of the top 10 criminal acts of the year, and their rising through the ranks, as clean energy becomes more popular, and the recession persists. They may be predominant, yet avoiding them is just as easy as making wise investments into legitimate companies. A simple reliance on scepticism, and patience is required.