Thursday, 4 April 2013

Scam - Profitable Plots

The world is full of traps.  There are even trap waiting for the unaware when you are watching English Premier League on TV.

Previously I subscribed to Football Channel when Starhub still carried English Premier League.  During half times, the viewers were bombarded by a Profitable Plots commercial, urging viewers to "Buy UK land" and projecting astronomical returns for investors.  Profitable Plots was a land banking firm set up in 2004 by 4 British expatriates and a Singaporean.

The TV commercial was done by some of the famous names in football, including Bryan Robson, Steve McMahon, etc.  Beside the commercial on cable TV Football Channel, Profitable Plots also held roadshows at major shopping malls and also was one of the sponsors for Liverpool Football Club when they visited Singapore.
The scheme "Buy UK land" basically means you invest in plot(s) of land in UK, then wait a few years for the land to appreciate.  The locations were marketed as being in prime positions (plots of land near Heathrow Airport) for development and would quickly appreciate in value.  When a developer purchases your plot of land for development, you could then reap profits from the sales of land.  The company claimed returns can be as much as 300% in 3-5 yrs times.

One day our group of friends stayed at the bar "overtime" after a premier league game and discussed whether it is good to invest into Profitable Plots?

Some said Profitable Plots must be legitimate as they have been advertising extensively on cable TV football channel and doing multiple roadshows at major shopping malls.

Some said Profitable Plots must be reputable as such famous names in football are representing and advertising for them.

Some of us, including me, who had less beer and were still level-leaded, were against investing into Profitable Plots.  The reasons were:

1. Profitable Plots claimed the plot of lands being in prime areas for development.  But we can't verify it.  For all we know, the plots may be swamp-land, forested-land, wasteland, cemetery, "ulu" or off the beaten track places, etc, that will never see development. 

2. The plots of lands are in UK.  It is very difficult to monitor and check development status.

3. Similarly, in event that Profitable Plots goes into bankruptcy or defaults on repayment on our investment, it will be very difficult for investors to reclaim capital.

After our discussion, none of us invested into Profitable Plots.

Later, it was finally found out that Profitable Plots was one big scam.

Instead of prime position lands, in reality, investors were putting their money into plots located on farmland, in the Green Belt, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or on the sides of hills.  These lands have no chance for development.

Sadly, an estimated 1,000 Singaporeans and 4,000 foreigners had invested with Profitable Plots.

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