Moron from Scam Companies “Validated Carbon Credits” and “Baron Traders Limited ” Threatens This Blog

By Richard Smith

I posted this a few days ago, about the screechingly obvious fake Gibraltar company Validated Carbon Credits, a trading name of Baron Traders Ltd and its lying “CEO” James Richards. Two comments to the post have caught my eye:

It´s obvious your posting is not only slanderous but based on pure conjecture without any circumstantial evidence whatsoever. Why is it you don´t have a “contact us” link? Did you even bother contacting the company / individuals to try and establish some facts?

This was purportedly by a lady called Karen Johnson, who guilelessly provides an email address,, which, a quick Google reveals, is a handle used by none other than James Richards, the aforementioned lying CEO. Rather than dwell on that, or on the fact that “she” evidently doesn’t understand the meanings of the words “circumstantial evidence” and “slanderous”, I responded as follows:

Hello Karen,

Since I know that James Richards is a liar, and Ellie Johnson is a liar, why on earth would I go out of my way to contact them? I’d just get told more lies.

I don’t think my post is the least bit slanderous.

Produce some evidence that I am wrong.

Evidence was not forthcoming. But you will have guessed that, dear readers. Instead, James Richards freaked out a bit and took his web site down for a few hours, as reported here, and then realised that doing that gave completely the wrong impression, and put it back up again. Twerp.

There is more: today James Richards has followed up again in the comments, using his usual name. His comment has the same IP address as the Karen Johnson comment already quoted, confirming my belief a) that he can’t be relied on to give his own gender correctly, never mind his name or his business, and b) that he is startlingly stupid. So now he’s even on record on this blog, lying about who he is. But heck, we knew he did that already.

I can’t fix his IQ, but I do wish he would decide what he’s called, and whether he’s a boy or a girl. There is quite enough gender confusion at this blog already.

I will respond in-line to his latest ungrammatical rant.

We are writing in response to some poisonous, but more importantly, completely incorrect diatribe you have written about our company. We do not know who you are or what your motives are but what you have published is completely without substance, has no evidence to back up your wild allegations and is ultimately libellous and defamatory.

You will find all the evidence that’s needed if you read the post again, James. For reference: ignoring what you’ve been told already is another very well-known sign of bad faith, just like faking your name. There is a simple way to rebut the claim that your company does not exist. Provide a URL to a register of Gibraltar companies that shows your company. You haven’t done that very simple thing. It is fairly obvious why that is. By the way, our motives are perfectly irrelevant, (and would be unintelligible to the personality-disordered anyway, so it may be doubly a waste of time talking about them, to you).

Our company is registered in Gibraltar…

No it isn’t. Read the post again. We covered that already. For reference: ignoring what you’ve been told already is another very well-known sign of bad faith, just like faking your name.

…and our Articles of Incorporation can be provided to anyone on request.

Any fool can fake a set of Articles.

We are a VeriSign trusted company and we are contactable by phone and e-mail.

You have a secure money transfer link and you have an email address and a telephone. So what? And if you don’t handle client money, as you claim later, why are you even mentioning Verisign?

However, since you are clearly not capable of finding the truth you have failed to find us registered (how much do you know about Gibraltar registered companies anyway when you are located in Canada?)

Dear readers, there would of course be an easy way to put a very minor dent my post, namely, to provide a link to the Gibraltar registry or to OpenCorporates that shows Baron Traders Limited. And yet, somehow, this simple expedient doesn’t occur to James Richards; or much more likely, it has occurred to him, but he can’t deliver. The bit about Canada is comedy genius, of course. And anyway, nothing is going to prop up his other fakery from the post – Vogue Estates, his spam about the trader who can make $300K in three months, and so on.

and you have never made any contact with us direct. Is there a reason for this?

There is indeed. Since I know that James Richards is a liar, and Ellie Johnson is a liar, and Karen Richards doesn’t exist, why on earth would I go out of my way to contact any of them? I’d just get told more lies. That, by the way, is the gist of my response to your fake alter ego “Karen Richards”, which you will have already read before writing your latest comment, James. For reference: in this kind of conversation, ignoring what you’ve been told already is a very well-known sign of bad faith, just like faking your name.

Usually when someone has a grievance with a company or individual, the first port of call is to try to address the situation direct.

I don’t have a grievance with your company. I think you are a liar and a scammer, that’s all.

If you have the courage of your convictions why are you hiding behind the internet with no way of anyone communicating with you?

You somehow haven’t noticed, but you do seem to be communicating with me, do you not, (if lies count as communication)? Just…not in private. You may wish to abuse me privately, but that ain’t gonna happen. It is precisely because I am convinced that you are a scammer, and thus, an abuser, that I am not interested in opening a private channel to you.

We, therefore request that you provide this information so that our lawyers can contact you direct to address this situation you have created.

Try, you pompous, inarticulate jackass.

We will be pursuing you aggressively through the proper legal channels…

No you won’t.

…and expect a full and public apology and punitive damages.

No you don’t.

We are completely above board,…

No you aren’t.

…do not handle any client funds and work with a highly credible, long established UK company who have been active in the global carbon markets for a number of years.

Who’s that then? You mention them here and at your web site, but you never say who they are. By now, readers can guess why that is.

We introduce clients to them should they wish to invest or offset in carbon. Nothing more, nothing less. We would be most interested to know where you have evidence that we have scammed anyone.

I would be most interested to see whether you have any clients at all. It may be that you are such an incompetent scammer that you haven’t managed to scam anybody. The intent, however, is blindingly obvious.

In Gibraltar we are under the watchful eye of the FSC (similar to the FSA in the UK) and so it would not be in our interest to mislead clients in any way.

Rubbish: the FSC, (which proclaims itself to be a lot less fearsome than the FSA, actually),  has never heard of you. We covered that already. Read the post again. For reference: in this kind of conversation, ignoring what you’ve been told already is a very well-known sign of bad faith, just like faking your name. Perhaps I mentioned that already. Provide a URL to an FSC register that shows your company. You haven’t done that very simple thing yet. That tells onlookers quite a lot. Oh, and you are not “in” Gibraltar, either!

In fact, given the number of rogue companies selling carbon credits out there, it is most likely that we have lost sales through telling it like it is and not making it up in order to get a quick sale.

This is your usual threadbare, obvious, hypocritical patter. It may convince FTAdvisers but it doesn’t wash with amateurs like me.

Perhaps, given the situation you have brought about, we should also consider contacting all the entities who advertise on your site and explain that you are now at the centre of legal proceedings due to the entirely unfounded, libellous and defamatory garbage that you have published.

Go ahead, numbskull, draw even more attention to your lies. If you wish to write to some of our payday loan advertisers in that vein, that would be particularly wonderful. Just like everything else about Baron Trading Limited, we’ll believe we’re at the “at the centre of legal proceedings” when we get some independent evidence that these “legal proceedings” exist. We are agog.

Please note that Yves Smith, or Susan Webber, whatever she prefers to be called, as the Principal of Aurora Advisors, Inc. will also be receiving this e-mail.

Well, that bit is true, at last; in fact, you brightened Ms Webber’s day. In, um, “Canada”.

Clients of James Richards, if there are any, whether at Vogue Estates Limited,  Baron Traders Limited, or Validated Carbon Credits, are invited to pipe up in the comments about their experiences. If they are too embarrassed by their past association with this ludicrous deadbeat, they may wish instead to email in strictest confidence. Testimonials from satisfied customers or business partners are also of great interest.

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  1. Phil

    Remind me not to piss you off. :)

    Please, no one heed this. This is the most fun I’ve had since they outlawed bear-baiting.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Sirs;
        I have once inadvertantly ‘run up on’ a Southern Black Bear deep in the trackless wilds of Louisianna. Much as I would like to like them, this one stood up and scared the s— out of me!
        I disapprove of bear baiting on principle, but the bear was not averse to a little human baiting!

  2. SD

    Hmmm. Have you thought about adding a ‘snark’ tag to your post?

    The world is so over the top, the comedy just writes itself these days. But then, what do you expect from a company with the word ‘estates’ in it’s name? Right up there with ‘luxury’ as used to describe a one room apartment…..

  3. Tim Owen

    Paging Richard Kline to the Toronto Stock Exchange please. Seriously, we could keep you at this full time. I’d even buy you a mask and cape.

      1. Yves Smith

        No, they are two different people. Richard Smith lives in the UK and is an IT professional (spent more time than he cares to think about in the trading ops of really big financial firms). Richard Kline lives in Seattle and is a social sciences expert.

  4. Daniel Pennell

    One more reason to like Yves.

    Based on my experience, I bet this guy has some FL connection. For whatever reason Fl see,s to attract people engaged in scams.

  5. bob

    Priceless. The threat is the best part.

    Bring it. People who would bring legal action against anyone would not tell them first. The threat defeats itself.

  6. Expectation of privacy?

    The comment form on this website reads “Mail (will not be published) (required).”

    Yet you published Mr./Ms. Richards/Johnson’s email anyway. No matter how sketchy he/she may be, if we have no expectation of privacy in this forum, you should not claim otherwise on the comment form.

    Or at least carve out an exception, such as, “Your email will not be published, unless you write something that angers the writer, or unless you are, in the sole determination of the editors, a slimeball.”

    1. Foppe

      Cute false dichotomy there.. I would humbly suggest there’s a bit of a gap between “no expectation of privacy” and “an absolute right to privacy, come hell or WWIII”. Frankly, I am fairly certain that Richard will manage to act appropriately.

      1. Expectation of privacy?

        Yes, who needs rule of law, when we can simply trust a single benevolent authority to act in our best interest on a case by case basis?

          1. Expectation of privacy?

            That’s exactly what I was thinking. Adieu, worthy Yves, and unworthy collaborators. This 4-year reader and frequent commenter won’t be back.

          2. Yves Smith


            I see a grand total of 8 comments from your IP address, three of them on this post, with the earliest in September of this year. Oh, and three different handles and three different e-mail addresses, the latest clearly fake.

            I see you can’t interpret written forms. The form means that your -email address won’t be published when you post a comment. It has nothing to do with private e-mail correspondence.

            As Barry says, embrace the churn. If you can’t interpret a simple form correctly and use it to attack a fellow blogger, you are better off going somewhere else.

    2. Philip Pilkington

      *Whispers* I’ll bet Expectation of privacy? didn’t use their real email when publishing that comment.

    3. Richard Smith Post author

      A degree of inattention to the content of the post has led you to accuse me of violating the privacy of someone who doesn’t exist.

      Call me cavalier if you will, but I am prepared to cut myself some slack on that.

    4. Yves Smith

      What are you talking about?

      This looks like an effort to attack Richard’s and my integrity, and is pretty off base.

      There is no general promise of confidentiality re e-mail correspondence anywhere on this website. We do generally get permission before publishing correspondence, unless we know the person (as in they would not mind) or we anonymize it (as in use the quote but disguise the identity).

      In general, anyone who uses the Internet should assume e-mail correspondence is public. The only exceptions you can kinda rely on is when you instruct existing close contacts. And even then, they may have a fat fingered forward!

      Richard made a NARROW promise of confidentiality IN THE FUTURE to clients (not the scammer) who e-mail me at the yves address. The scammer e-mailed me (not as Yves, but by my real name as the chief, cook, and bottle washer of Aurora Advisors) BEFORE Richard made this offer. There is no way I have any confidentiality obligation to him.

      So why, pray tell, are you mounting a weak defense of a scumbag?

      1. ChrisPacific

        As I write this comment there is a note next to the e-mail address field saying the following:

        “Mail (will not be published) (required)”

        Richard explicitly said in the first three paragraphs that the e-mail address was taken from one of the comments, which means that it must have been entered into that field. In brief, you said you would not publish it, but you did.

        I absolutely agree that receiving e-mail places you under no obligation to keep it confidential. If you’d presented this as a response to an e-mail communication, and left comments out of it, then I’d have no problem with it, and I don’t think it would have weakened Richard’s argument at all.

        I am not trying to defend the ‘scumbag,’ but I do think that the comments and e-mails may have provoked an inappropriate response out of temper, which may have been one of the things they were intended to accomplish.

        1. Yves Smith


          The language you point to in the form is clearly meant to indicate that the information provided in the e-mail address will not be posted along with the comment. This is very standard on blogs. I do not read it as a commitment to keep e-mail addresses confidential. That goes beyond any meaning I attribute to that bit of standard WordPress comment field information.

          Even though heretofore we have not had any reason to publicize an e-mail address, nor do we expect to have reason to in the future, you are attributing to it a much broader meaning than it has. You ought to know, at a minimum, that any publisher can be compelled by judicial order to disclose information about people who comment. So why should you expect that field to provide a broad right to confidentiality when legally, I cannot provide that?

          More important, Richard got the e-mail address via Google. So this e-mail address is already public!. That is a standard out in all confidentiality agreements, something which is public cannot by definition be treated as confidential. Anyone who does deals is familiar with the standard terms of confidentiality agreements, and this e-mail address is simply NOT confidential or private. You can’t make something that is public private by trying to claim it is private.

          And in this case, as Richard points out, the e-mail address does not, in fact, go with the person “Karen Johnson” but in fact belongs to the scammer. It is further, if minor, evidence of his effort to make him seem “bigger” than he is. So to his point, there is no real person’s privacy at issue here. James Richard wrote me using yet another e-mail address, BTW.

          Moreover, you seem to forget he threatened litigation. This puts him in the Barry Ritholtz “Fear my wrath, mortals” zone as far as I am concerned.

          1. ChrisPacific

            OK, thank you for clarifying (and for taking the question seriously).

            Sorry if I wasted your time – I know it can be a pain to craft responses to this kind of thing. However, it did help set my mind at ease on the matter and hopefully may have done the same for anyone else reading comments on this.

        2. Richard Smith Post author

          For goodness’ sake: the email addresses of commenters are kept hidden in the comment stream in order to protect commenters from the activities of spammers (who would otherwise scrape the blog for email addresses).

          So you think James Richards and his faked avatars should benefit from a practice designed to protect people from people like James Richards?


          1. ChrisPacific

            I don’t really care whether or not James Richards is protected – what concerns me is whether I am. In other words, what circumstances might justify the e-mail address of a commenter being revealed, and could any of those circumstances apply to me? I don’t qualify under the one that applies in this case (since I’m not a scammer threatening you with legal action) but maybe there are others.

            Yves has (more or less) answered this question in the comment above so I won’t post anything further on this. Just wanted to be clear that I’m not on a crusade for scammer’s rights or anything of the kind.

  7. Geoff

    Har. Canadianism is just a more virulent form of communism. Clearly this Rock of Gibraltar is fresh-off-the-Mayflower-Christopher-Columbus true blood Merkin ( that’s a gender-specific wig, to you ) and he can have you sued fer unamerkinism on his/her say-so.

    1. rotter

      no doubt. American scammers affecting plumy, fakey British accents is a cliche going back at least as far as the Marx Brothers Film making career.

  8. psychohistorian

    Thank you Richard.

    We need to keep laughing at them and the biggies at the top until they are gone

    1. sheepdog

      Why aren’t we laughing publicly at the 1% who proclaim they speak for god? Why aren’ we laughing publicly at our ridiculous political representation? Why display anger when laughter and ridicule is so much more powerful? Let them know that we know the emperor has no clothes.

      1. psychohistorian

        This forum is our publicly until we can replace the current “public” (in name only) media owned by the .001 covering for the 1%, the deluded aspiring to be 1%ers and the hypocritical faith breathers who currently hold court there (I am told…shying away from that bad energy myself)

      2. Steve

        Laughter will stop criminals?

        Or Wikileaks will stop criminals?

        I am to this day extremely disappointed that the Wikileaks controversy didn’t lead directly to a public understanding and appreciation of ‘regulation’, and, subsequently, to extremely aggressive demands for re-regulation (i.e. the restoration of our special government-based public-interest-focused police/investigators that receive whistle-blower complaints and, after formal investigation, bring formal complaints/charges to the justice department, and force the justice department to act). In any decent civil society Whistle-blowers MUST be able to appeal to an authority, a government authority, to expose criminal behavior. What, if not law enforcement, is government for?

        This whole Wikileaks controversy was a joke and a travesty. What were people thinking? Wikileaks (a self-designated free-market private authority?) could somehow force criminals to stop what they’re doing by simply appealing to the media and the public, while somehow having the means to hide the identity and protect the whistle-blowers? Somehow Wikileaks was a solution for pushing back against the massive corruption epidemics spreading throughout our (Western) society? How stupid? How perverse? What then is government for? Wikileaks is somehow a privatized solution for law enforcement? Shame the criminals into good behavior?

        I desperately waited for William Black to write an article arguing that Wikileaks was a natural result of deregulation (i.e. letting criminals run wild by closing all avenues to recourse for victims and witnesses of work-place and public/private crimes). If the Wikileaks ordeal had led to the restoration of regulation then we-the-people would have won a major victory. Instead, Wikileaks was silenced (and prosecuted?) and the criminals won a major victory by keeping the debate focused on demonizing Wikileaks.

        Please William Black, it’s not too late. When Assange goes to trial, you need to explain clearly to the OWSers that it was deregulation that led to the need for (and the perversion that was) Wikileaks.

  9. Geoff

    Merkin Muffley: Well, how do you think *I* feel about it, Dmitri? Don’t say you’re more sorry than I am, I am capable of being just as sorry as you are.

    1. walter_map

      Verisign does perform backgrounds checks, but Verisign can also be scammed. I myself am looking forward to the results of the investigation.

  10. tz

    There has been problems with the certificate authorities for SSL, but verisign should have requires something – or perhaps they use a different CA.

    1. Skippy

      VeriSign Trust Seal, you can buy the seal, hell free trial.

      Symbolism is a poor substitute for factual knowledge of an entities past, presemt, or future state of affairs…methinks.

      Skippy…look ma….I’m legit!

  11. scraping_by

    Ah, yes. The superiority of “The Market” over “Regulation.”

    I always have a mental image of The Friedman Smirk every time one of these slick deals show up. Socially responsible flim flam? The freedom to be hoodwinked? Thieves over government?

    The Kyoto protocols were put together by globalists for the sake of globalists, by the merchants for the merchants, by the lackeys of the elite for the elite. It’s no real surprise when a Grand Scam calves into cheap scams.

  12. Jeff

    Yves Smith, every day that goes by, we like you better and better.

    Gutsy, informed and a dream dinner party
    companion. Sorry we missed the deadline, a check is forthcoming to keep up the great and necessary work that
    you do.

    Maybe President Kucinich can name you Treasury Secretary?

  13. Christophe

    Richard, if you haven’t sent the outclassed scammer into an apoplectic fit at being so publicly outed, please do keep us updated on any new bursts of ineloquence coming from him or any of his ubiquitous pseudonyms. Humor is a precious gift; thank you for sharing it so liberally with us all.

  14. Jeff

    Speaking of Carbon Scams, there is an outfit that will take our money, allegedly plant trees somewhere and most importantly provide you with a bumper sticker that loudly proclaims…

    “My cars CO2 is balance by Terrapass!”

  15. CaitlinO

    It’s a strange CEO who has so much spare time that he can respond personally to posts on a blog outside his industry, to create fake personas and handles, to register multiple throw-away e-mails and to lack a seasoned assistant to clean up his abysmal grammar.

    Just saying.

    1. Yves Smith

      Scamming is a high margin, low overhead business that leaves a CEO with lots of time on his hands!

  16. walter_map

    You’d be amazed at how many scammers like this are out there, unless you have email, and then you wouldn’t be surprised at all.

    The more successful ones have bought up most of the US congress.

    1. psychohistorian

      walter_map says:

      “The more successful ones have bought up most of the US congress.”

      The global inherited rich, of which I rant about occasionally, hire sociopaths to hire and direct the global financial system, national banksters and government puppets that we see displayed all over “Western Democracies”.

      Please folks, let us not lose sight of the puppet masters and their rules this time as we tinker with social cohesion and structure.

  17. Yan Herreras

    Dear Yves and fellow contributors,

    Whenever you have time It could be helpful if you could look at the carbon credits exchange that is supposedly being set up in the US, Matt Taibbi had a piece on it(I think July 2011)a while back on Rolling Stone where it was stated that Goldman Sachs was the main shareholder in the exchange. Thank you for the good work! Cheers from Spain.

  18. indio007

    Carbon Credits , generally appears to be one of the biggest scams ever.

    Let me ask a question, is something that is manufactured out of carbon like say graphene considered carbon production?

    Do I need carbon credits so I don’t get a nasty surcharge for making carbon fiber?

    Carbon is one of the most abundant elements on earth and will soon (next 2 decades) be integrated into just about everything.

    I’ve seen no evidence of any exemptions for manufacturing usages.

  19. Chris Lang

    Richard, this is brilliant. Is there any chance of you taking a look at another dodgy-looking carbon trader? An Australian called David Nilsson turned up in Peru earlier this year and tried to get indigenous people there to sign over the carbon rights to their forests.

    I’ve written a bit about his activities on REDD-Monitor:, and (The third link explains why Nilsson’s name is replaced by the word “CENSORED” in the first two posts…)

    I have the distinct feeling that you would quickly discover lots more… Nilsson is still hoping to set up a carbon trading project in Peru, over a very large area of forest.

      1. Chris Lang

        I’ve not switched hosts (mainly due to inertia on my part). Nilsson isn’t very clever. He commented on REDD-Monitor using his own name, which made the argument that I wasn’t allowed to use his “personal information” (i.e. his name) somewhat pointless.

  20. Parvaneh Ferhadi

    He may be a scammer, still he pales in comparision to the ones from Wall Street and Washington D.C.

    Besides, Carbon Credits/Certificates are a scam to begin with, so there is no surprise that it would attract free-riders.

    The laughable party here is FTAdvisers who can’t be bothered to do some basic background checking and fact checking on someone making allegations.

  21. Up the Ante

    “James Richards has followed up again .. His comment has the same IP address as the Karen Johnson comment already quoted, confirming my belief a) that he can’t be relied on to give his own gender correctly, never mind his name or his business, and b) that he is startlingly stupid [it startles one][love it]. So now he’s even on record on this blog, lying about who he is.
    .. I can’t fix his IQ, but I do wish he would decide what he’s called, and whether he’s a boy or a girl. ”

    good humor

  22. Trenton Pfund

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