Unscrupulous solicitors are targeting elderly people involved in a multi-million pound investment scandal, promising to retrieve their money.
Thousands of clients were persuaded to give the Philips Trust Corporation their houses and money (PTC).
Many had been sent to marketers by their local building society, who claimed that taking out intricate and expensive financial products known as trusts would protect their fortune from care facility expenses and inheritance tax. However, the embattled corporation has now gone bankrupt.
It has also admitted to mismanaging customers’ funds and making unwise investment decisions without their awareness.
The business is the legal owner of 447 properties worth £94 million and controls 2,345 trusts. It also has £44.4 million in cash on hand.
Since the scandal began, close to 500 victims have joined a Facebook group for support.
Many people are seeking information on behalf of older relatives, some of whom are suffering from dementia.
However, suspicious individuals have infiltrated the group, claiming to have gotten their money back through an overseas firm.
They claimed they had recovered 60% of their money via no-win, no-fee solicitors Financial Intelligence and Fraud Investigation Bureau in communications addressed to subscribers (FIFIB).
The website was launched in June of last year and is nearly identical to that of Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP in California (BKLW).
Victims are asked to provide their name, address, phone number, scam type, and a summary of what transpired on the ‘file case’ page.
Karen Cawood, a Facebook group member, said she was contacted two weeks ago by two people who claimed they had received 60% of their investments back. They said they had filed reports with the lawyers and anticipated to receive all of their money back over time in identical communications.
Karen, 51, a Rotherham solicitor, joined the Facebook action group after learning that her parents, both in their 80s, had put their life savings and home into a PTC-managed trust.
Leeds Building Society had directed them to a firm called Family Trust Corporation. When PTC took over the business in 2018, the couple paid a further £4,000 to transfer the trust to them.
‘It is horrible to think that someone could take advantage of respectable, bereaved people when they are already feeling so much sorrow and uncertainty,’ says Jade Gani of Solicitors For The Elderly.
If you live in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland and believe you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.