EcoHouse Developments Ltd

By Alan Selby
21:57, 9 MAY 2020

Conman behind scam which cost Brits £21million hunted by police in Brazil

Anthony Jon Domingo Armstrong-Emery vanished after 850 investors lost £23,000 in supposed affordable housing scheme, then company went into liquidation with debts of £21.4million

A Ferrari-driving boss behind a scam that cost Brits £21million is being hunted by police in Brazil. Anthony Jon Domingo Armstrong-Emery vanished as 850 investors who typically paid £23,000 were left out of pocket. They piled money into a Ponzi scheme run by EcoHouse Developments Ltd. It claimed to be selling affordable social housing in South America. But none were sold and after Brazilian police stepped in, the investment firm – based in Richmond, South West London – went bust.

Cops have issued warrants for the arrest of Armstrong-Emery, who has links to Gibraltar, and his sister Gabriela Madeiros.

Londoner Armstrong-Emery, 41, was last year banned from running companies for 14 years. He is thought to have made his fortune by selling homes to expats in Spain.

In Monte Carlo he was known for driving a £175,000 red Ferrari 458 Italia. And on visits to Brazil he was chauffeured in a 4x4 with armed guards.

EcoHouse claimed to be part of a legitimate government project called Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life), aimed at moving families from shanty towns to homes with water and electricity. British solicitor Charles Valentine Fraser-Macnamara was a director in the company, which was incorporated in May 2010. He was struck off after the Solicitors Regulation Authority ruled the investment was a con.

Only £5million was repaid to investors – often approached via timeshare mailing lists. They expected their money back plus a 20% profit after a year. Victims were alerted in 2013 when concerns were posted online. Brazilian police moved in and EcoHouse suspended operations in November 2014. It was placed into liquidation after a statement filed at Companies House in January 2015 recorded debts of £21.4million.

Tory MP Nigel Evans has written to the Solicitor General and the Attorney General demanding help for investors.