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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.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


The best exposition we have found as to what an IVA is and how it works is here:

The article points out that 

"An IVA is a contractual arrangement with creditors and can be as flexible as an individual's own circumstances; they can therefore be based on capital, income, third party payments or a combination of these."

So far, Collins & Bone (Coboco) have not produced any form of IVA plan to show investors. They are making emotional appeals via emails and personal phone calls for support, without producing any figures. 

With an IVA, agreed payments are made to creditors at specified intervals over a period of from 5 to 7 years. Anyone who has dealt with Coboco will know that the chances of their keeping any kind of agreement on repayment for that length of time are very slim indeed. Just look at the incredible build-up of their debts! (Around £4 million!) If the repayments to creditors are not made on time, on more than one occasion, the partners would be liable to bankruptcy. In the event of the failure of an IVA, creditors would have to endure a long drawn-out process of legal wrangling, involving yet more expense to them and leading inevitably to bankruptcy. So the most  efficient way of sorting out Coboco's complex tangle of debt is bankruptcy now.

The Wikipedia article also states:

"IVAs may be popular with people who have large amounts of assets which they wish to protect." 

We have no idea what Coboco have in the way of assets and even if they were to tell creditors about them, their track record shows that their word is not to be trusted, since they say whatever they think best suits their purpose at the time. This is another way of looking at the benefits of bankruptcy: the partners will be accountable to authority and creditors will be able to see what's behind all the pressure that Coboco are applying to them.

Here are some questions that Coboco need to answer effectively before any investor should even consider supporting an IVA.

[1] What proportion of the debt would the IVA cover? 100%, 50%, 30%?

[2] Would the partners be responsible for managing the properties with an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) supervising? If so, we warn investors that the partners' record in every aspect of property management has been abysmal. We don't see how an IP would be able to insist on the business discipline that would be needed for commercial viability.

[3] An IVA normally excludes the debtors' homes from the assets. Would this apply in the present case? If so, what about all the promises made by Coboco that investors' money was secured against all their properties, including their homes? (We have these statements in writing).

[4] The article in W'pedia warns that the IP's fees may absorb much of the possible benefit to creditors. Can Coboco state clearly what the IP's charges are likely to be in the present case? (Given the extreme tangle that the partners' finances are in, they could hardly be expected to come cheap).

NOTE: An IVA is considered to be the best solution to debt problems in a high proportion of cases. However, where serious mismanagement and deceit are involved and the debtors refuse moreover to clarify their accounts, it must be perfectly obvious that bankruptcy is the only way forward.

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