Gary Anthony Arnold, aged 30, a company director from London, has been disqualified for 12 years.

Mr Arnold was the sole director of Solitaire Alternatives Ltd (Solitaire), a company that ?cold called? members of the public, claiming to sell coloured diamonds as investments.

An Insolvency Service investigation found that between April 2013 and May 2014, investors paid Solitaire almost ?750,000 in total for diamonds, but none of them have received any stones in return for their money. There is no evidence that the company ever purchased any diamonds for investors.

This disqualification undertaking follows investigation by the Official Receiver at Public Interest Unit, a specialist team of the Insolvency Service. The Official Receiver?s involvement commenced with the winding up of the company in the public interest, after the affairs of the company were investigated by Company Investigations.

Tony Hannon, Official Receiver at Public Interest Unit, said:

?Over the years the Official Receiver has had to deal with many cases where members of the public are ?cold called? by companies offering ?alternative investment? opportunities and claiming unrealistically high rates of return.?

?Many such schemes have been run principally for the benefit of those running the company, always at the expense of the investors, who have paid substantial sums for things of very little value.?

?In extreme cases such as Solitaire, the company has been so reckless that it has just taken the investors? money for nothing at all in return.?

?Members of the public should exercise extreme caution if they are called out of the blue about such schemes. Always remember that, if an investment opportunity appears too good to be true, it probably is.?