High Court liquidates firms behind £1.5m land banking scam

Two Liverpool companies acting as “bookends” for a £1.5m land banking scam have been ordered into liquidation by the High Court.

In January the Insolvency Service, which has led the investigation, secured the dissolution of Gilbert Webb Estates for marketing worthless land as an investment to groups including recovering cancer sufferers.

The High Court has now shuttered the land-owner, JDG Properties, and a firm acting as a developer, Tithebarn Trading, as part of the scam, both of which were owned and operated by Jon Farley Elster.

The Insolvency Service investigation found that, despite claiming to the contrary, Tithebarn knew that securing planning permission for the site would be like “winning the lottery”.

JDG Properties’ assets have an open market value of between £1.5m and £1.75m, according to Elster.

Insolvency Service company investigations supervisor Chris Mayhew says: “Whilst neither of Mr Elster’s companies was directly involved in the sale of plots of land to members of the public, they were symbiotic to the land banking scheme and fortified the misselling of plots of land by Gilbert Webb Estates Ltd enabling all involved in the scheme to profit apart from investors.

“The scheme made no commercial sense and was once more calculated to part honest people from their money.”