Ames, a former bankrupt double glazing salesman from Essex, UK, has been exposed multiple times on this site for his duff projects on the eastern seaboard, as has the man who took over his Thai operation Richard Haughton and also Niels Colov, who promoted his projects and got a house in lieu of promotional fees.
The charges are however believed to relate to Ames’ projects in the Caribbean.
The SFO has today charged David Ames, chairman of the Harlequin Group of companies, with three counts of Fraud by Abuse of Position, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006.
The alleged activity occurred between January 2010 and June 2015.
David Ames, 65, from Wickford, Essex, has been requisitioned to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 22 March 2017.
The SFO, together with Essex Police, announced it was investigating the Harlequin Group of companies on 5 March 2013. This investigation continues.
Harlequin investors who invested via a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) following advice from an Independent Financial Advisor firm which is no longer trading, may be entitled to compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”). Further details can be found on FSCS’s website.
Ames also faces arrest in the Caribbean. A warrant has been issued after he failed to appear before magistrates on charges of tax evasion and theft.
Ames was due to appear at Kingstown Magistrates Court in Saint Vincent last June to answer four charges of theft and four charges of tax evasion, but he failed to turn up at court when summoned.
The charges, brought by the government of Saint Vincent, where his company and its flagship hotel Buccament Bay are based – relate to approximately £2 million, or $7 million East Caribbean dollars. The theft charges relate to the equivalent of around £964,000. (source. The Claims Bureau).
The news this week is not entirely one for celebration. Ames and his cohorts have swindled Britons, many of them pensioners, out of at least £300 million, but that figure has been quoted as high as £600m. Most of the cash has been spent.
The Serious Fraud Squad appears to be only investigating people defrauded between 2010 and 2015.
“The business activity of the Harlequin Group includes the marketing, sale and construction of luxury off-plan property developments in the Caribbean and other resort locations.
The SFO would like to thank investors who completed a questionnaire. The online questionnaire is no longer available, however, investors who made investments during the period of January 2010 to June 2015 can register their details with the SFO at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any concerns about communicating via email, please write to the following address:
The Witness / Victim Care Officer (HLM01), Serious Fraud Office, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London”
On this site we exposed the activities of Harlequin (Thailand) on Thailand’s eastern seaboard many times.
The company was taken over by Richard Haughton, of TMPE, a former President of The Rotary Club of Pattaya and Jomtien and promoted heavily by Niels Colov, a former Danish underworld figure, who rose to chief of Pattaya Foreign Police Volunteers, publisher of the Pattaya People Media Group, and who too was a past President of the Rotary Club Pattaya-Jomtien.
One of the projects was Emerald Palace in Pattaya. Haughton sold the properties twice, first to punters and then to the Kasikorn Bank for a 70-million-baht loan. Since we took up the case several buyers have won their cases in the civil courts. But they are still awaiting return of their investment.
The BBC pulled an investigation into Harlequin by a team on their flagship documentary affairs programme after a producer suggested to a security man working for Ames that he would be better off working for the BBC. The BBC Board decided that that was an inducement.