Businessman Matthew Ames found guilty of carrying out green investment fraud (From Southend Standard)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Matt Ames from Thundersley faces jail for running fraudulent business in Basildon
A CONMAN exposed by the Echo for selling green investment schemes which did not exist could face jail after being found guilty of fraud.
Matthew Ames' "ethical investment" firms Forestry for Life and The Investor Club were shut down by the city watchdog after a special investigation by the Echo revealed they were not what they seemed.
Ames, 38, from Goldfinch Lane, Thundersley, offered huge returns of up to 15 per cent to investors from companies trading from a converted farm barn in Dunton Road, Laindon.
The Investor Club offered investments in teak trees on Sri Lankan plantations, which were never owned, while Forestry for Life offered so called "carbon credits" generated by supposed projects to protect rainforest.
The two firms were shut down by the Financial Services Authority in March 2011 owing £1.6million, including a total of £1.2million to investors who thought they were helping to save the planet.
Today a jury at Isleworth Crown Court found him guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading after a nearly six week long trial.
Special report in tomorrow's Echo.