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This Blog is dedicated to making public some of the business activities and methods of Liam Collins, David Bone Jr and their associates. In the spring of 2010, the present authors invested in Collins & Bone (C&B), who were offering an enticing 8-10% interest on the basis of buying houses for cash, renovating them and letting them out to students. We were assured that our money was secured against houses that they owned, including their own homes and the properties held by their associated company, Castle & Gatehouse (C&G). We have emails and brochures that confirm these details, as do others who invested on this same basis at around the same time. The idea worked for us for over a year, then in November 2011 they told us they were insolvent. They refused our every request for clear accounts, which led us to suspect wrongdoing. We began an investigation and then started this Blog. We found our suspicions confirmed: other investors had lost sometimes quite large amounts to C&B and its predecessor CBS, and all requests for repayment were adamantly refused. These people use and have used so many names that we found it necessary to compress them into CoBo (for Collins & Bone) and Coboco (for the whole bunch of them – there are quite a few!) Note that there is an index in the margin at the right hand side.

Friday, 13 January 2012


Before we invested in Collins & Bone, we had a number of phone conversations with Liam Collins and he sent us several brochures to read. On 17th March 2010, he sent us the following email, with the Castle & Gatehouse brochure attached:

"Dear Investor,

I hope you are well, I have attached some further information on the management structure on our company which will serve as a useful part of your due diligence process.  I hope to hear from you soon so we can start helping you to earn 8,9 or 10% on a tailored bond alternative with all the levels of security you desire in an investment.

We will keep you updated with all new products but let us know if our emails become a nuisance and we will take you off the mailing list.

 Kind Regards

 Liam Collins"

As you see, we were instructed to read the C&G brochure as part of our 'due diligence'.  We are also informed in the email that C&G is "our company." The brochure states that C&G has four directors, viz.:

"We operate a divisional structure with our four main cornerstones of business running through an in-house supply chain of nine divisions. Each partner has responsibility for one cornerstone which we find neccessary to maintain an effective single point of contact for each major revenue stream. Mark Black oversees the premium aspect of the partnership, Castle & Gatehouse limited, our £100k plus property trading business. Liam Collins manages the Collins & Bone partnership which handles investment under £100k. David Bone Jnr runs our joint ventures while David Bone Sr is responsible for our various property funds."

We don't see how a reader could come to any conclusion other than that (1) Liam Collins and David Bone Jr are partners in Castle & Gatehouse (not employees) and that (2) Collins & Bone is an integral part of Castle & Gatehouse. Furthermore, on the next page, number 5, Liam Collins is described as Sales Director and David Bone Jr as Renovations Director. We were both assured by Liam Collins that Collins & Bone was fully backed by its 'sister company,' Castle & Gatehouse. Unfortunately, we were convinced and invested our money.

In May 2010, pleased with our new investments, we were keen for some associates to benefit from this opportunity. Collins & Bone offered 1-, 2- and 3-Year Bonds with monthly interest of 8%, 9% and 10% respectively, or annual interest of 10%, 11% and 12%. Liam Collins said that they were flexible, and that they could negotiate special terms. We asked if, for the sum of £30,000, he could arrange for a 3-Year Bond at 10% monthly interest, but with a yearly let-out clause. He said he would have to consult the Board at their next meeting. The Board consisted of Mark Black, David Bone Sr, David Bone Jr and Liam Collins. Note that LC told us that he would have to consult the Board of Castle & Gatehouse about interest rates for an investment of less than £100,000 that would be destined for Collins & Bone. The Board approved the plan. Luckily, our associates reviewed the case carefully and decided not to invest!

On 18th March 2011, we received an investors' newsletter which includes the following paragraphs:

"Your capital is safe and both David and I have our own homes as collateral to protect your assets as well as 27 other assets and the trading inside our sister company (Castle & Gatehouse) also acts as security with future contracts worth in excess of £3m at present. So we have both cash profits from trading, real bricks and mortar as well as rental income from the portfolio to secure your investment. I know on the day there were a few of you who had concerns over the liquidity of the company and rightly so as many property companies have had severe problems in the recession. As explained we have an excellent product built to not only survive a recession but built to thrive in it.

The reason it works well in a recession is that there is an abundance of cheaper stock to buy, labour is cheaper and rents are higher due to lack of lending for people to get on the property ladder.  Add to this an increased number of students and it is difficult for investors to find a stable consistent yield above 4%, meaning our investments at 8-12% are still exceptional."
In the above quotation, investors are told that Castle & Gatehouse acts as security for C&B. They are not told that this is some kind of informal goodwill arrangement. If those running C&G wish to be classed as professional businessmen, they must be accountable for what their fellow directors have written and promised about the company and for their activities.  

It is claimed on the Collinsbone blog that we never contacted Mark Black and David Bone Sr. However, our records show that when we were requesting information about the Collins & Bone finances in November 2011, copies of our letters were sent to them on 17th November. There was no response from either of them. Further, we included Joe Sinagoga in our email exchanges of the 25th and 26th November 2011. We also tried to reach him several times on the phone, without success. Sally was particularly keen to talk to him because he had given her a very positive testimonial about C&B before she invested. 

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