Defending myself & counter-suing property trainer Samuel Leeds
Defending myself & counter-suing property trainer Samuel Leeds
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Latest: Aug. 15, 2022
Samuel Leeds promoting questionable Rent to Rent "success"
It's been posted by a lettings agent on Property Tribes that Samuel Leeds has been once again promoting "successful" students who are not what they claim to be.
You can read here how Mer…
Defending a claim for six figure damages for alleged defamation such claim having been commenced against me by the so-called property trainer Mr Samuel Leeds.
By Vanessa Warwick, Community Manager, Consumer Champion.
Thank you for visiting my campaign page.
About me: I have a long track record of challenging exaggerated marketing claims and supporting vulnerable people who have experienced financial losses after being enticed to sign up to expensive property wealth creation courses.
I am having to seek the support of members of the public in order to defend a claim in the High Court of Justice commenced by a so-called wealth and property trainer and self-proclaimed millionaire Mr Samuel Leeds and his company Samuel Leeds Limited.
In 2009 I co-founded a property forum called Property Tribes with my husband Nick.
The forum was designed to offer up community-generated advice and opinion to prospective landlords.
Over the last few years the Property Tribes forum has been inundated with dissatisfied customers who have been in contact with “wealth creation experts” who promise, among other things, that an individual could be a millionaire in a year with little or no money.
Many members of the public have used the PT platform to air their concerns about the unregulated nature of the so-called property “guru” industry, thereby putting Property Tribes at the forefront of community-generated due diligence resources to inform and protect consumers from the dangers of engaging with these types of "get rich quick through property" promoters.
The “wealth creation” industry appears to object the service that Property Tribes has provided to the public and as a result our site has been subject to negative propaganda and smear campaigns.
Much of this negative propaganda has been directed at me personally.
Since 2019, I have been being targeted on a massive scale and this is why I have come to CrowdJustice to seek your kind support.
The individual who I believe is behind this campaign since May 2019 is named Samuel Leeds and has been the subject of a BBC expose (viewed by over 20 million people) after one of his mentees, Army Reservist Danny Butcher, got into debt after signing up to Samuel's training academy and subsequently took his own life.
This has culminated in a claim being commenced by Mr Leeds and his company Samuel Leeds Limited against me for defamation where he is seeking to recoup six figure damages.
Mr. Leeds was also the subject of a segment on Joe Lycett's Channel 4 "Got Your Back" programme (viewed by 1.4 million people) were Joe gate-crashed Samuel's event to ask why Samuel was charging thousands of pounds for freely available information.
The Telegraph also ran a number of articles:
My late husband got into debt after chasing property dreams
'Who wants a free house?': My 13-hour day at a get-rich-quick seminar
Exclusive investigation: The property 'guru' leading people into debt in pursuit of 'financial freedom'
Get rich quick schemes and the need for regulation
So as you can see from the above there has been exposure of Mr. Leeds and his marketing claims, training methods, and lack of fulfilment of what he promises his students.
Threads about Mr. Leeds started to appear on PropertyTribes from 2017. They were mostly started by dissatisfied mentees and ex-business partners. Not a single thread was started by me. These threads were constantly moderated in line with Property Tribes terms and conditions.
Despite this and all the mainstream exposure of his practices, Samuel Leeds has targeted myself as the source of all his woes.
Over a two year period I believe he has run a smear campaign against me in order to get threads deleted from Property Tribes and/or to discredit myself and it as a source of credible information.
He has also constantly tried to force an interview with me to debate the commentary about him on Property Tribes.
I believe that the first campaign was undertaken by someone claiming to be associated with Samuel Leeds and the second campaign was undertaken by Samuel himself, using his extensive social media channels. The police investigated on both occasions and I am hugely grateful for their support.
I would like to add that I am a respected industry commentator, am regularly asked for commentary by the mainstream media such as the Times, Telegraph, Estates Gazette, Guardian, and ThisIsMoney, and also provided consultation to the government on how to communicate Right to Rent legislation to landlords as well as being invited to a private meeting with the Special Advisor to the Housing Minister to share my views on issues affecting the private rented sector.
Throughout all of this 18 month campaign, which has caused me considerable distress and disrupted my life, Samuel has attempted to force contact with me, which I believe are the actions of an harasser, not someone being harassed.
Samuel Leeds has now issued proceedings in the High Court against me, largely for my fact-checking of his comments about me and my documentation of his activities against me, which was provoked by the content he created himself to disrupt my life and ruin my good reputation!
Earlier this week, the New Statesman have also published an article which mentions Samuel Leeds in a less than favourable light and identifies the issues that cause a lot of people concern over his activities:
"As with influencers' personal home renovation accounts, these users encourage an envy-driven kind of escapism, particularly for low-paid young viewers. For those with no assets, trying to find steady work in the midst of a recession, there is obvious appeal in a fantasy where they have the disposable income, time and energy to gut and refinish an abandoned building while still paying for their own home.
Those who advocate such trends speak as though their lifestyle choices are accessible to anyone, when in reality, like property investment, they are a way for the already-wealthy to make themselves richer or happier, often at the expense of those who aren’t as fortunate. ".
With regard to Mr Leeds’ claims for defamation/harassment as against me personally, I am of the belief that his case has no legal merit.
Resorting to the law appears to be a strategy favoured by Mr Leeds as he appears to consider it an opportunity to silence dissenting voices.
I am informed and believe that Mr Samuel Leeds has sent legal threats to scores of YouTubers, forums, bloggers, FaceBook groups and other individuals to get negative content removed about him from social media and also started High Court action against an autistic man who stood up to him.
Fundamentally, this is an attack on free speech, fair comment and the right for any individual in this land to express an honest opinion without threat, rancor, or abuse.
All individuals must be allowed to “call out” individuals and/or businesses, that do not operate to an extremely high standard or do not offer a "duty of care" to consumers. If there are issues that are a matter of public interest, they must be expressed without the threat of being “dragged” before the courts.
I am fighting for the public interest and to oppose bullying tactics from individuals who appear to have the financial “muscle” to act in this way.
Still with me? Thank you!
I am standing up to his bullying tactics and have filed my defence and issued a counter claim for harassment.
I need your assistance to continue my defence and my own legal action counter-suing Samuel Leeds for his harassment of myself which will finally reveal the true nature of his ethics and business practices.
My defence as against Mr Samuel Leeds will, in my opinion, go a long way to “shine a light" on the unregulated wealth creation industry and prevent vulnerable people being “duped” into paying thousands of pounds for courses that make exaggerated claims as to becoming “financially free” through property investments with little or no starting funds and in very short time periods.
Andrew Denbigh Whyte, another ex-veteran, who got into further debt by signing up with Samuel Leeds and has nothing to show for it, is now part of a class action of over 50 ex-mentees of Samuel Leeds who are seeking refunds.
My commentary about Samuel Leeds and this CrowdJustice campaign is in the public interest.
Positive steps have been made recently with Nick Fletcher MP reading out Danny Butcher's name in parliament and asking for ex-veterans to receive more financial literacy support as they are vulnerable to being scammed when they come out of the armed services.
In the first instance, I am seeking £12.5K to fund my on-going defence and counter-claim.
Important note: If you are struggling financially, please DO NOT DONATE. Please just share this link on social media instead.
If you have lost money to a wealth creation expert with promises of easy riches who you were first exposed to on-line, please do one or all of the below:
1. Write to your MP and let them know. You can find your MP's contact details here.
2. Contact Howard Mustoe, Senior personal finance reporter at the Telegraph via howard.mustoe (at) telegraph.co.uk who has an interest in this topic.
3. Contact Trading Standards.
Thank you for reading and thank you in advance to anyone who can support me in my legal fight against property trainer Samuel Leeds.
With objectivity and fairness in mind; the Claimants refute all of the points that I am making in this page. The Claimants will say that all of the negative press generated by the mainstream media is without merit although, little appears to have been done by them to challenge this in the Courts, save for instigating legal proceedings against me.
The objectives of this page is solely to raise money to pay for professional legal assistance to enable me to present my case in court. It does not mean that you accept, or anyone accepts my view of the case - this is a matter entirely for the Court.
Aug. 15, 2022
Samuel Leeds promoting questionable Rent to Rent "success"
It's been posted by a lettings agent on Property Tribes that Samuel Leeds has been once again promoting "successful" students who are not what they claim to be.
You can read here how Merleen Gocan has been taking money for serviced accommodation and not passing it on to the landlord.
Warning - Merleen Gocan
The young man in the video - her "business partner" has been identified as Samuel John Hillerby by an eagle-eyed PT member.
If you google his name, this comes up from 2017:
A community worker from Sandy Row who set up a false bank account in the name of a vulnerable elderly resident was starting a 10-month stint behind bars today.
Samuel John Hillerby will spend an additional 10 months on licence when he is released from custody after a Crown Court judge determined that he deliberately targeted a “vulnerable” man who was partially blind man and had dementia.
Hillerby, who is originally from Belfast and whose address was given as Horizon House in the Battersea Reach area of London, originally denied charges of fraud by false representation and claimed he was helping the pensioner out.
However, the 29-year old former youth worker later admitted three counts of fraud by false representation dating back to 2014.
Additionally, on Companies House, his lettings agency is flagged as having accounts overdue, just like his business associate Merleen.
It would appear that this pair greatly exaggerated their success on their "Winners on a Wednesday" video, and Samuel clearly did not do any due diligence to verify their claims as he recommends them as R2R deal sourcers on the video narrative.
Forgive me for banging on about it, but this once again highlights why the wealth creation industry needs urgent regulation and why, in the absence of that, community-generated commentary and due diligence is vital to protect consumers and help them make wiser choices.
Aug. 2, 2022
Interview with Maxine Fothergill about social media harassment
In early July, I had the pleasure of meeting Maxine Fothergill, Immediate Past President, ARLA Propertymark, at the Landlord Investment Show in London.
Maxine was keen to talk to me about my CrowdJustice campaign as she herself had been the victim of harassment for a period of 5 years, and, when the police failed her, she had to take out a private prosecution. It cost her £70K, but she won, and she was able to end the harassment and the huge negative impact it had on her life and business.
On-line harassment is prolific across the internet, but it also occurs in our sector.
Men harass men, women harass women, and women harass men, but when a man harasses a woman, there is very often a misogynistic element, as was the case for both Maxine and myself.
Some of you may recall, that a video was made about me by Russell Leeds (Samuel Leeds' brother) and his ex-business partner, Alasdair Cunningham, suggesting that my marriage was in trouble, I was "tired" of my husband, and that "I fancied a bit of Samuel". Watch the video here from 21' 38".
That I retaliated to this juvenile and puerile commentary, describing Samuel as "repulsive", forms part of his defamation claim against me.
Harassment of people in property is nothing new.
A few years ago, there was the infamous case of a property trainer retaliating to dissatisfied customers by buying their names as domain web URLs. These dissatisfied clients, who were commenting about him on social media, were told that, if they did not delete their comments and desist from posting about him, he would create websites using their domains and publishing vile material about them that would ruin their lives and businesses.
There was a similar theme in the harassment done against me by "Mark Stephens" who it is clear was acting with Samuel's knowledge and approval.
These property gurus often have large on-line followings and can mobilise them against people applying critical thinking to their claims or writing about their experiences of the training, like Samuel Leeds did to me.
This "threat" of being trolled by the guru's followers often stops people speaking out against financial loss. Many of them fear being shunned by the "network of like-minded individuals" that they paid to be part of.
In this interview, Maxine and I discuss harassment and I give her an exclusive about one of the things that I suffered during Samuel's campaign against me, which has led to this High Court case against me for defamation and harassment, and where I am counter-suing for harassment:
If you have not already done so, I would be very grateful if you could visit my CrowdJustice page and show your support.
There are also further details on that page to help you understand this landmark case.
As stated in the interview, I believe this topic needs to be aired as the wealth creation sector is completely unregulated and there are few, if any, routes of redress for consumers who lose money to unscrupulous property trainers and mentors. As documented above, these individuals can often use bullying and on-line harassment threats to shut down public interest commentary that might assist consumers in making wiser purchasing decisions.
My case is acting as a voice for these people and I hope that it will bring about positive change in the sector.
Thank you for your support.
I am very grateful to Maxine for her support, and she joins a growing list of people who are publicly supporting me, including Ben Beadle, CEO of the NRLA, property influencer Chris Watkin, property website Mashroom, the Landlord Investment Project, and Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action.
Scores of others have contacted me and expressed their support privately and also made donations to my campaign.
Ironically, many people who would like to add their voice to my campaign are nervous of doing so through being fearful of receiving a legal threat themselves! Some are even nervous to donate to my campaign, but you can do so anonymously, ticking the appropriate box on your pledge.
If you are experiencing social media harassment, the police have some advice here.
July 29, 2022
"Truth" defence victorious for Colleen Rooney in Wagatha Christie case!
Colleen Rooney has won a landmark victory against Rebekah Vardy in the High Court today!
In a summary of the judgment, Mrs Justice Steyn writes: "The claim has been dismissed. The defendant succeeded in establishing that the essence of the libel was substantially true."
The legal battle was played out in the High Court over 7 days in May and there were many unfortunate revelations concerning the conduct of Rebekkah Vardy.
Mrs. Rooney will now be awarded circa 70% of her costs, which were somewhere in the region of £1million and Mrs. Vardy will be left with her costs to pay as well.
Social media is already citing it as an "own goal" by Mrs. Vardy!
Another social media response resonated with me: "Never try to destroy someone's life with a lie, when your life could be destroyed by the truth".
And so did this tweet: "Proof that money doesn’t buy plain old common sense".
This sends out a strong message to those bringing these vexatious cases that trying to shut down truthful commentary can backfire massively.
July 20, 2022
Government to implement new measures against abuse of defamation proceedings
The Government has today (20 July) published its response to its Call for Evidence on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs).
The Call for Evidence was published on 17 March 2022 inviting views on potential measures for legislative, procedural and regulatory reform. We also ran stakeholder engagement roundtables in early May, inviting evidence from legal and media professionals, civil society organisations and academics, to develop a robust policy base for reform. The Call for Evidence closed on 19 May and received 120 responses, all of which have been individually analysed and assessed.
A great many of the responses were from experts with considerable relevant experience that have reinforced the extent to which SLAPPs represent a serious and growing threat to freedom of expression and investigations, reporting and other activities in the public interest.
As such, the Government’s response will be to pursue the earliest possible opportunity for primary legislation to enable them to have a statutory basis for identifying SLAPP cases and providing effective means for deterring or dealing with them. The intention is to introduce an early dismissal process via primary legislation, and a costs protection scheme via secondary legislation and rule changes.
This is very positive news all round!
If you can make another donation to keep it active, that would be super-awesome.
Thank you for your continued support.
June 15, 2022
NRLA CEO Ben Beadle on freedom of speech in property
In this short video excerpt of a longer webinar recording, NRLA CEO Ben Beadle discusses freedom of speech in the property sector and a recent "public interest" defamation ruling that is good for commentators.
Watch the video with NRLA CEO Ben Beadle
June 13, 2022
Good day for public interest commentary ...
... bad day for those who try to silence freedom of speech.
"In the public interest" defence successfully used in high profile defamation case.
Read the judgement summary
May 29, 2022
The Five Horsemen of FURU due diligence
Undertaking due diligence in property is so important. It's one of the best things you can do to mitigate risk, and therefore financial loss.
I've talked about due diligence a lot, and will continue to so so, as I suspect that most people do not even put someone's name into google before trusting them with significant sums of money!
If you are using google, be sure to go beyond page 1 - even down to page 5 or 6 - as many companies and individuals use reputation management firms to "sink" negative articles.
There are so many free resources to check out potential people and companies to make sure they are what they claim to be.
The following five sites are particularly useful for checking out property trainers and deal sourcers - FURUS = fake gurus - and they are all free or low cost to access:
1. Companies House
I have written an extensive article on this, so will not replicate this here.
See - How to use Companies House for due diligence
The main thing to look out for is lots of dissolved companies and/or over-due accounts.
Over-due accounts is a red flag as it means that the company is administratively delinquent.
Anything red on Companies House is a clear warning sign.
If a company is not administrated property, this should be a warning sign that something else might be wrong, or that the company is in some kind of financial trouble.
Endole brings the best of software and data together to achieve a new standard of business intelligence.
It will give you a lot of the data from Companies House but also provides a financial snapshot of the health of that company.
Here is a screenshot of Kingsman Property on Endole. This company recently went bust and lost over £6million of Investors' money.
See - Kingsman Property/Sam Eustace collapse
The important metric to note is "net assets". If they are negative, then that is a cause for concern. Again, metrics of concern are in RED.
If there are very few, or no assets at all, then maybe that company is not as successful as claimed in their marketing. You should also undertake this process on the other companies of the Company Director/s, as this will give you a fuller picture of their overall net worth.
If a company has significant negative net assets and little cash in the bank, then it might be higher risk to do business with them imho.
3. Trust On-line
TrustOnline is operated by Registry Trust and provides access to the official statutory Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines for England and Wales on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. Registry Trust also provides access to the Registers for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and the Republic of Ireland by agreement with the authorities in those jurisdictions.
TrustOnline is the only service which provides members of the public and businesses with immediate access to search the complete Register.
This is a really useful tool for looking for CCJs. You need the address of the individual to search on though. It is a paid-for service, but a search in England is £6.00. Money well spent!
Earlier this week I was able to use Trust On-line to check on a rogue Rent To Rent deal sourcer and found he had two unfulfilled CCJs at the address I was provided with.
Do bear in mind that Rent to Renters might have several properties that they can use as their address, so there could be more CCJs than just the ones attached to a property that you have an address for.
Unfulfilled CCJs are a big red warning flag as it's a County Court Judgement where the person has not settled with the individual who took them to court.
4. Independent Redress Schemes
Anyone working as any kind of deal sourcer where they introducer a buyer to a seller, or a tenant to a landlord, is caught by estate agency regulation. This is a highly regulated area and deal sourcers need to be a member of an independent redress scheme. This is a mandatory requirement and non-compliance can result in a significant fine.
The Estate Agents Act 1979 (here) defines
"Estate agency work" as that including work carried out by any person in the course of a business (including employees) following instructions received from a customer who wishes to buy or sell an interest in land:
(a) For the aim and purpose of introducing the customer to a third person who wishes to buy or sell an interest in land, and
(b) Following that introduction in the course of that business, has the aim of securing the purchase or sale of that interest
"Lettings agency work" is defined as things done by an agent in the course of a business in response to instructions from:
· A private rented sector landlord who wants to find a tenant: or
· A tenant who wants to find a property in the private rented sector.
It applies where the tenancy is an assured tenancy under the Housing Act 1988 (the most common type of tenancy) except where the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing or the tenancy is a long lease. Lettings agency work does not include the following things when done by a person who only does these things:
· Publishing advertisements or providing information
· Providing a way for landlords or tenants to make direct contact with each other in response to an advertisement or information provided
· Providing a way for landlords or tenants to continue to communicate directly with each other.
There are two government approved schemes that deal sourcers can register with:
i. The Property Redress Scheme
ii. The Property Ombudsman
You can visit both sites and search on their "Member List" to find out if a deal sourcer you are thinking of working with is registered with them. If they are, then you have up to £25K compensation if a deal turns sour.
Any sourcer that is not registered with one of these independent redress scheme is essentially a rogue trader, and trading illegally. They can be reported to Trading Standards.
Any business or sole trader who processes personal information must register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Data Protection Act 2018 and failure to register is a criminal offence.
You can search the ICO register >>> here.
To search all of the above might take about 20 minutes. It could turn out to be a very good use of those 20 minutes. The best way to avoid financial loss is not to enter into a transaction without undertaking intense due diligence and research.
I hope you have found the above article useful. If you have, and would like to support the work I do, I would very much appreciate you heading over to my CrowdJustice campaign page, and, if you believe it to be a worthy cause, making a donation.
May 22, 2022
Property training & refunds - don't fall for dirty tricks
When signing up for property training, you need to be very clear about your consumer rights.
That means reading the small print before you sign anything and hand over money. It's been brought to my attention over the years that the T & Cs of property gurus are often written in tiny writing, full of legal speak, and attention is not drawn to them at the time of signing up. These terms and conditions should also be displayed on their website, but often are not. (Sometimes they do not offer terms and conditions at all, which should be a very big red flag!).
If you cannot read the T & Cs or don't understand them, then do not sign anything is my advice.
Understanding your rights as a consumer also includes being aware of the refund policy of the trainer.
Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, you have 14 days after the date of signing to request a refund.
This is commonly known as the "cooling off" period.
Citizen's Advice has a useful template here that you can use to request a refund.
All good right?
There's an hack used by property gurus in property training that attempts to get round this. Many trainers get people to sign up to expensive training by inviting them onto a free "taster" or "crash" course.
It's come to our attention that the contract is often signed at that event without any knowledge of when the actual training will take place, but one thing you should be aware of is that it's very unlikely to take place within 14 days of your signing up for it.
This is important for your consumer rights.
If you attend the training course two months later and do not feel it was value for money and you ask for a refund, there's a very strong possibility, based on anecdotal evidence, that the trainer will refuse the refund on the basis that it is outside of the "cooling off" period.
However, you're legally entitled to a full refund if you got the product or you started the service less than 90 days ago and you haven't used it all up. For example you bought property training with a number of modules included but you haven't been to them all.
You're legally entitled to a partial refund if any of the following apply:
- you got the product or started the service over 90 days ago and decided it was mis-represented to you
- you used a service for a month or more - for example if you signed up to training modules and decided part way through that you were not happy with it.
That is why it is very important that you do not review a training course on TrustPilot based on the free training or take into account reviews from "taster" or "crash courses" when making a buying decision. In fact, it would be against TP's terms and conditions to do so, as you've not actually had a commercial interaction with the trainer and you've not been on the course you paid for.
However, the vast majority of reviews I see on TrustPilot are from people fresh off free training. Do bear that in mind when reading the reviews as they give no indication of results achieved from the actual paid-for training.
You also have the legal right to a refund if:
- you feel you were unfairly pressured into buying a product or service you didn't want
- you were misled about the product or service you bought, such as "you will make the money back on your first deal", or "you will receive one to one mentoring" - but that never materialises.
You might also be able to get compensation for distress or inconvenience.
Regulation 7 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 ('the Regulations') prohibits aggressive commercial practices that would 'intimidate or exploit consumers, restricting their ability to make free or informed choices.' In order for an aggressive practice to be unfair it must cause, or be likely to cause, the average consumer to take a different transactional decision.
Being pressured into buying something is known as 'aggressive selling'. Aggressive selling can include things like:
- using scare tactics to convince you that you need something, such as there are "only a few places left" or "I'm never running this course again"
- constantly contacting you and pestering you into buying something
- using guilt to force you to buy something such as you are letting your children down if you don't buy.
If you were misled into buying something, you can also claim a refund.
Misleading selling can include things like:
- giving you wrong information about the product or service
- giving you the wrong advice about what product would be best for you
- wrongly saying you need to buy extra things to make the most of your product
- exaggerating what the product can do compared to other products
- advertising something as reduced or a sale item when it wasn't ever sold at full price
- keeping important information about the product or service hidden or obscured
Even if the seller did these things by mistake, or because they were misinformed, it still counts as misleading selling.
If you think a seller might have been aggressive but you're not sure if you're entitled to a refund you should contact the Consumer Service and explain what's happened. They'll advise you on your rights.
If the seller will not refund your money, there are other steps you can take to solve your problem - these include using ‘alternative dispute resolution’, which is a way of solving disagreements without going to court.
Our experience is that, once most property trainers have your money, you will find it nigh on impossible to get a refund, so that is why it is important you know your consumer rights and can apply them to your request.
If you decide to pay for training, the best consumer protection option is to put the cost on your credit card.
If you paid on a credit card, you may be able to get a refund under Section 75.
See - MBNA vs. Malouf
Property Tribes also has this useful resource:
How to get your money back from unscrupulous companies ...
It's worth noting that a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 is a criminal offence. Unwary businesses and individuals can face significant financial penalties and prison sentences of up to two years.
Sales techniques that are considered 'aggressive' may also lead to prosecution under the Fraud Act 2006, for making 'false representations' to customers or an 'abuse of position'. Dependent upon factors including the volume of sales, number of victims and their role in the business, individuals and businesses can face significant prison sentences of up to ten years.
May 21, 2022
Property guru sentenced to 6 years in prison for investor fraud
A fraudster who swindled property investors out of nearly £600,000 has been jailed for more than six years.
John Keats-Ormandy, 42, from York, took money from people promising them income from empty homes, which would be refurbished and then rented out.
Bradford Crown Court heard he ran a scheme "robbing Peter to pay Paul" with clients including a cancer patient, carer and driving instructor.
He admitted fraud charges relating to eight potential investors in April.
Prosecutor Andrew Epsley told the court the married father-of-three claimed he had contracts with the Ministry of Justice to house people and promised would-be investors rental income.
But Keats-Ormandy, of Main Street, Sutton-on-the-Forest, defrauded them out of £592,000, including victims' life-savings and pension money, because he had no legal interest in the properties he was advertising, Mr Epsley said.
This is positive news, I am sure you will agree!
John Ormandy has a long and inglorious record of community commentary on Property Tribes, as, over the years, he's managed to get significant sums of money off investors for his various schemes.
I would like to tell you now about a personal experience I had with Mr. Ormandy.
In March 2018, I received a legal threat from his solicitors saying he had a recorded phone call and a witness to say that I had been phoning his clients advising them not to work with him and he was going to take legal action against me for harassment unless all the threads about him were deleted on Property Tribes.
I wrote back and asked him for the date of these phone calls, the name of the witness, and a copy of the alleged phone recording ... because obviously I had never done any such thing and was intrigued to know what his evidence was.
His lawyer wrote back to me saying that I was not entitled to the evidence but that it "came from a very credible source", but did give me the date when I made the alleged phone calls.
On checking my diary, I found that on that date, I was on a ship in the middle of the North Sea with no phone signal and my phone records also backed up that I'd not made any calls on the day in question.
I was able to provide the ship's itinerary and GPS plotting to prove my point.
I once again asked for the name of the witness and a copy of the alleged recording, but unsurprisingly never heard from his lawyers again.
This again shows the lengths rogue property trainers will go to, to shut down public commentary about them. I have been subjected to this kind of abuse and bullying on numerous occasions for simply being the "face" of a forum that allows substantiated commentary that is in the public interest, in the absence of any form of regulation.
That is why my legal fight is so important and I need your continued support.
May 10, 2022
High profile defamation case starts in High Court today
There's a high profile defamation case starting today in the High Court - Rooney vs. Vardy.
The BBC say that the case will cost each woman about £1million each in legal fees and that, whoever wins, will only likely recoup up to 70% of their costs, leaving them a shortfall of £300K to cover.
It is believed any damages awarded will be in the region of £40K to £50K.
Remember, these are two very high profile celebrities who are in the public eye.
I think this illustrates how grossly over-inflated Samuel Leeds' claim against me is.
He is claiming damages of £650K against me for defamation with additional aggravated damages for loss of business, despite saying in one of his own youtube videos that I had not actually caused him any damage, and had in fact sent new customers his way by commenting on him!!
The current ceiling for damages awards in libel actions in the UK is £300,000 as per Mr Justice Warby’s decision in 2017 in Barron v Collins which will appear low in comparison to other areas of law.
These claims do not attract high value settlements as the purpose is to achieve restoration to an individual's reputation and vindication, which can be achieved by way of apology or, if following a trial, a reasoned judgment which can be pointed to, with damages as only a part of the remedies available.
Samuel Leeds' damages claim against me is more than double the highest ever damages award in UK defamation history!
If any of the cases Samuel Leeds is bringing get into court, they will be the defamation trials of the century and attract a lot of media interest.
Worth remembering, that, whatever is said in an open court cannot be defamatory and can be shared in the public interest.
Part of the agenda behind Samuel Leeds' harassment of me, for which I am counter-claiming, was to force me to interview and debate him in public. Well, it would appear, if he carries on this legal case against me, he is getting what he wanted as I will be debating him in an open court room.
April 14, 2022
Samuel Leeds didn't think it through ...
Just a quick heads-up that an interesting discussion is developing on Property Tribes:
Time for the "Big Boys (& Girls)" to Step In?
I think it shows what a positive difference all these legal cases will ultimately have on the wealth creation industry and how much awareness is being raised of the issues within in.
This will continue to resonate long after Samuel Leeds is no longer on the scene.
Happy Easter and thank you for your continued support.
April 6, 2022
Property guru pleads guilty to 11 counts of fraud
A property guru who sent me legal threats in 2018 has pleaded guilty to 11 counts of property fraud and will be sentenced on 20th May.
Property guru John Ormandy guilty of fraud
Good to hear that these charlatans are being held to account!
April 4, 2022
Fact checking Samuel Leeds' latest social media posts
Samuel Leeds has created social media posts and videos claiming that "his greatest internet troll" has received a criminal conviction for malicious communications against him and his family.
What I can tell you categorically is that the conviction has NOTHING to do with me or the case that I am currently involved with.
March 29, 2022
Rent to Rent poster boy goes bust for £1.5m
I wanted to share with you the breaking news that a Rent to Rent poster boy has gone bust for £1.5million.
It's not a Samuel Leeds' student, but it's further proof that the "wealth creation industry" needs further regulation and redress.
March 14, 2022
The use of NLP in property guru marketing funnels
For this up-date, I thought I would share a new thread on Property Tribes which discusses the use of NLP - neuro-linguistic programming - in property guru sales & marketing funnels.
A student recently turned the tables on a guru and used NLP to get a refund!
NLP can be used for good, but it can also be abused for financial gain.
A video has emerged of "mantra chanting", which is part of the indoctrination process. Watch the video. It is quite chilling to see a room full of people joining in this "cult like" behaviour.
It's also interesting to note the comments appearing on my CJ page. People are using it to call out those property trainers who they have lost money to!
Since my last communication, I have been contacted by two individuals who have lost money to Glenn Armstrong and his side-kick Christoz Wild.
These people are like whack-a-mole. They just keep popping up!
That's why I need your continued support to bring attention to the financial loss that is occurring every day of the week. Please either share my campaign and/or drop me another few pennies to keep my campaign alive.
Your support of my campaign is greatly appreciated. The fight continues and I am so grateful to have you all on board and supporting me and providing a platform for positive change and greater awareness, which I hope will assist consumers in making wiser choices about property education.
March 2, 2022
"No money down" rears its head again!
A conversation happened on Property Tribes last night which brought back unpleasant memories of when the Samuel Leeds mentee started his campaign against me, back in 2019.
Like the above thread, last night's thread started as an innocent question about buying property with no money, to which I responded.
The poster then became gradually more aggressive towards me as he clearly did not like hearing the truth that property is a cash rich business.
From the poster's commentary, it is clear he has been indoctrinated into some guru group. He even advises me to watch Samuel Leeds' videos as I am clearly not up to speed with how easy it is to become "financially free" with little or no money!
Read the thread and note his utter belief in the idea of "no money down" property investment
On another note, I've recorded a panel debate to preview the Property Investor Show.
It's all about the importance of due diligence in property and you can watch it here. This is such an important topic. Please share on your social media if you agree.
Feb. 21, 2022
Momentum is building!
It's amazing to see my fund pass £22K. I cannot thank my supporters enough!
Momentum seems to be growing as more and more people speak out against the wealth creation sector and how guru marketing hype misleads consumers.
Well known North East landlord, Dislexic Landlord, has joined the fray, calling on the NRLA to seek regulation of this sector after someone she knows personally has been negatively impacted by it:
Property training creating financial hardship
Meanwhile, Youtuber "The Anxious Investor" has posted this video:
The more people that speak out or create content fact-checking misleading marketing claims, the more awareness there is!
Thank you again to everyone who is supporting my campaign, whether it be by donating and/or sharing on social media.
Together, we ARE making a positive difference!
Feb. 11, 2022
My fund passes £20K!
This is a wonderful milestone and I am so grateful to my 500+ supporters!
I just came across this quote and it seems very apposite:
"The greatest object in the universe, says a certain philosopher, is a good man struggling with adversity; yet there is still a greater, which is the good man that comes to relieve it"- Oliver Goldsmith
Thank you again for your continued support. It means the world to me.
Jan. 31, 2022
Samuel Leeds using lawfare to shut down commentary
Dear CJ backer,
I just thought I would up-date you with the news that Samuel Leeds is now taking High Court legal action against youtuber John Holstead!
Watch the video from 19.40 onwards.
This confirms my claim that Mr. Leeds uses lawfare to shut down anyone who challenges his claims about his property wealth and success, or who writes less than flattering reviews of his training, which consumers are entitled to do.
Meanwhile, his showcase "castle" project, Ribbesford House, is deteriorating to such an extent that it has been highlighted as being "lost to the nation" by Historic England!
In a recent video, when asked how the project was going, Mr. Leeds replied that he "was just waiting on planning permission".
However, a search of the public planning records at Wyre Forest District Council show that no planning applications have been received for Ribbesford House and this was confirmed by the Conservative Officer, who I contacted for clarification.
All of the above once against showcases why it is imperative that I defend this claim and hold Samuel Leeds to account for his fabrications and falsifications to sell expensive property training to vulnerable and naive people.
As one of my CJ backers commented when leaving a donation:
"I’m surprised Mr Leeds wants to go down the legal route. You can ask him, under oath, to back up all his claims of wealth and property success. Lying to the court is perjury and a serious criminal offence".
If there is anything you can do to further support my campaign, such as making another donation, and/or sharing it on social media, I would be eternally grateful.
This is a chance to change the wealth creation industry for the better and stop people losing life-changing amounts of money!
Thank you for your continued support.
Jan. 13, 2022
A small victory!
I just want to let you know of a small victory for those people who are standing up to Samuel Leeds.
You may remember that youtuber Jon Halstead had his video removed after Samuel sent a copyright strike to youtube and also threatened him with legal action:
Jon challenged this and provided evidence that his video fell under "fair usage" terms and it has now been reinstated!
It's had over 100K views, which is why Samuel wants it gone.
I came across a great quote recently:
"Truth does not mind being questioned, but a lie does not like being challenged".
This, in my opinion, is why Samuel Leeds threatens legal action to anyone who challenges him.
Today, on facebook, he's claiming to be the "greatest property influencer in the UK"!
Well if you believe, like me, that his influence is negative on our industry, please could you please share my campaign on social media again?
Thank you for your continued support. It's appreciated more than you know!
Jan. 7, 2022
Why this stand against Samuel Leeds is so needed
Happy new year! I hope you had a peaceful and relaxing festive break.
I wanted to share with you a distressing comment on a youtube video where Samuel was interviewed. It sums up why the "wealth creation" sector MUST be regulated.
This is why Samuel Leeds must be held to account.
In response to a video interview with him, a mentee responded:
"Samuel: ' What have I done that's bad?'
1. You lie
2. You disrespect people
3. You encourage people do make financial decisions purely for your own benefit
4. You target young kids, clueless about investing and property like myself, and you preach about how easy it is for them to become financially free if they bought your courses.
Once they fall in the trap all the love, compassion and Christian values are gone. Not only what was promised was not delivered, but the Academy becomes a way of selling even more courses.
5. You don't care about anything that happens once someone bought your course. You don't care about people struggling in debt, you don't care about the mental damage produced.
You say you want to make sure you get the right people on the academy, but all you care about is money. One of the categories of people "right" for your Academy is clueless kids that can potentially get in debt to pay for your Academy.
What happens after they get in debt you don't care. This was exactly what happened to me.
6. Can you explain how is getting into debt to pay for your Academy a good debt?
7. When I mentioned my debt and how difficult it was to keep up with the payments the only thing I heard from you was that is not your fault that I was I debt.
I can think of many more particular ones. Can also provide examples and evidences of my experience and how I got treated by you and your team. I know you actually believe your lies, but the truth is you did a lot of bad things to many people like me in the name of help, financial freedom, charity, & Christianity".
I am sure you agree with me that that young person is struggling and has been mis-led about what can be achieved in property.
I want to stress again how important this legal battle is in getting more protection for consumers from these self-proclaimed wealth creation "experts".
Right now, many naive, desperate, and vulnerable people are thinking of how they can improve their lot in life in 2022.
Please donate and/or share if you can.
All the best for 2022 and thank you for your continued support.
Dec. 24, 2021
Samuel Leeds threatening youtuber with legal action
As mentioned on my CrowdJustice campaign page, Samuel Leeds likes to silence anyone who fact checks or challenges him with legal action.
Youtuber Jon Halstead is his latest target. Jon posted a very balanced and non-defamatory review of how he found Samuel Leeds' training Academy.
As a paid up client, Jon is entitled to have an opinion on how that training worked for him.
Samuel got the video removed by youtube based on a copyright breach, as Jon had used a few seconds of Samuel's own footage. Jon has also received legal letters from Samuel's solicitors, Ellisons, threatening him with legal action.
Jon has courageously created a new video called "Samuel Leeds might sue me" to tell his story of how he is standing up to this bullying:
Dec. 21, 2021
Interview by industry influencer Chris Watkins
Industry influencer, Chris Watkin, interviewed me recently about my legal battle:
Chris Watkin made this comment to go along with the video.
"There are no shortcuts or quick wins to anything in life, including investing in property. So many landlords or potential landlords have had their fingers burnt and I am passionate that property training needs some form of regulation. Therefore, when I caught up with Vanessa at the PropertyMark Conference, I wanted to highlight the cause”,
Those of you on LinkedIn might like to join and/or share this discussion started by Chris Watkin.
Join LinkedIn discussion about regulation of property trainers
Thank you to Chris for his support of my case.
Dec. 18, 2021
Shining a light
Please see my new article:
Shining a light
Dec. 17, 2021
The toxic rise of social media "property experts"
An excellent new article here by The Landlord of Property Investment Project fame.
The toxic rise of social media property experts
Thank you to everyone who has found there way here via this article, and I really appreciate your support!
Dec. 16, 2021
Discussion with NRLA CEO, Ben Beadle
Yesterday, on the final "Landlord Lens" webinar of the year, which I host with NRLA CEO Ben Beadle, we discussed the wealth creation industry.
Dec. 15, 2021
Ethan Leeds - Samuel's father's in on the harassment act?
On the 20th May 2019, I managed to get a malicious website called vanessawarwickexposed.com removed by the company hosting the site, as it was an abuse of their terms and conditions.
The following day, the 21st May, 2019 Samuel Leeds' father, Ethan Leeds made a very telling post on facebook asking about how to stop websites being taken down:
Quite amazing timing/coincidence don't you think?!
If you read my previous up-dates, I've now evidenced harassment from 5 males associated with the Samuel Leeds business:
Further evidence that Samuel Leeds' business is very much a "family affair".
Dec. 10, 2021
James Armstrong of Acquerir - evidence of harassment
James Armstrong is Samuel Leeds' brother in law and runs a company called Acquerir which offers "investors" a 66% fixed return on monies "invested" with them ( ( ... yes, let that sink in ... an interest rate of 66%.)
On the 20th May 2019, one day after the anonymous malicious communications campaign started against me, James Armstrong miraculously stumbled across the newly created website "vanessawarwickexposed.com" and shared in on Samuel's facebook group.
In a long and morally superior diatribe, he wrote how I was "chief inciter" of hatred against newbies trying to get onto the property ladder, that I "blatantly fabricated" arguments about Samuel Leeds, and that I "lacked the fortitude" to debate anything with Samuel Leeds.
(No evidence of the above claims was provided).
He then went on to suggest that I "step up" and meet with Samuel for an interview, and then helpfully provided a link to the newly created malicious website ... thus echoing the harassment for me to meet Samuel in person for an interview, the shared mission of all Samuel's own activities against me.
Mr. Armstrong finished with a long testimonial for how wonderful Samuel's training was without disclosing that he was his brother in law.
Samuel Leeds' business seems very much a "family affair".
Dec. 7, 2021
Russell Leeds and Alastair Cunningham harassment evidence
I'd like to invite everyone reading this page to see how Samuel Leeds' brother and CEO of his company, Russell along with his business partner Alastair Cunningham, participated in the harassment campaign against me by creating a video:
Russell Leeds and Alastair Cunningham harassment of Vanessa Warwick
Watch the video from 15 minutes onwards. The video was subsequently edited to remove some of the more harassing content, but there is still plenty left.
That the CEO of a business and another male associated with the business should join in with such harassing and juvenile content is quite extraordinary and speaks volumes about the morals and ethics of that business.
This pair tell multiple lies about me, and then conclude that I have a sexual obsession with Samuel Leeds. The video is humiliating and caused me distress, as you can imagine.
Although he is CEO of the company, when I rang Russell Leeds on the 19th May 2019 to ask for his support in stopping the malicious communications campaign against me, he said that he was unable to assist and that I had "to speak to Samuel". It seems strange that a CEO did not have any control or did not exhibit any desire to stop the company's brand being associated with malicious activity.
The above video is further evidence of the Leeds harassment campaign against me.
Dec. 3, 2021
You did it!
Yay! My initial target has been reached and exceeded!
Thank you to every single person who has supported this. I am so grateful.
I also got coverage in Property Industry Eye this morning.
I will now continue campaigning for my "stretch" target.
Thank you again for your generous and continued support.
Dec. 2, 2021
You are making a positive difference
My dear CJ backers,
Thank you so much for your continued support.
I wanted to let you know that I believe this campaign is going to have a far-reaching and positive impact on protecting consumers because Samuel Leeds is not the only trainer promising what I call "a ticket to see a Unicorn".
The more people that are aware of what is happening here, the more awareness there will be of the dangers of unregulated property courses that cost many thousands of pounds - often which would equal the deposit on a BTL.
This is the first legal case of its kind that I am aware of, and I am committed to seeing it through and holding Samuel Leeds to account for his bullying and harassment of me.
If he can do this to me, what chance does a young and vulnerable person have of standing up to him and getting redress if they find out they have been mis-sold or do not receive what they paid for?
I am close to reaching my first target now, and a large portion of donations have come from sharing on social media, so please could I ask you if you could share again for me on twitter, facebook, Linked In, other property forums and groups etc.?
Also, if all my wonderful 240+ backers donated another £10.00, we could reach the target today!
This campaign is not just about me, it's about the thousands of people over the years who have lost life-changing amounts of money to property trainers and ended up with nothing to show for it, some people being in an even worse of position than before they met that trainer or mentor.
This could be your parents, your brother, your sister, your best friend ...
In his blogs, Samuel Leeds described me as a person who had failed at anything I had ever attempted in life, and that I was a sad, jealous, and bitter woman who envied his life and success.
Well, the above is completely false on all counts and I know that the people who matter know this.
Thank you all for having my back on this. Your support is appreciated more than you know and will make a positive difference. I am determined that it will.
Nov. 28, 2021
This campaign will be a force of positive change
Thank you so much to every single person who has donated to my CJ campaign. It means more than you know. You have raised £4K in less than 48 hours!
Whilst I am facing anxiety over this, I believe that I have been put in a very privileged position to change the "wealth creation" industry for good.
I am learning all about how to run a CrowdJustice campaign, and I will be providing a free support service to anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps.
Many people of limited financial means lose money to the "get rich quick in property industry" and they don't know the routes of legal redress or think they cannot afford legal advice to get justice.
Now they can, through this amazing CJ platform. This is a game-changer for vulnerable people of limited financial means who have been sucked in by promises of easy riches and have lost what money you did have! You now have a way forwards for legal redress.
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