Panama is open for business (3): Silva Tree reforestation scam

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And we have another great example of how just about any foreign swindler can set up shop in Panama: The Christian Science Monitor reports today how a company called Silva Tree is falsely claiming to be a certified carbon offset project, making claims as to a "guaranteed" return on investment (there is no such thing in reforestation) and they claim to have 350 hectares planted with trees while they own only 200 hectares of land. Sounds familiar? It is familiar. This is exactly the type of crap that frauds like San Cristobal and Prime Forestry were disseminating.

So who are these Silva Tree people? It's three people, Maurice Sjerps, Patrick Visser and Keren Katz.

Patrick Visser turns up some really interesting results by just doing a simple Google search. It appears that Mr. Visser was previously in the business of ripping off people in the Spanish real estate market and dabbled in the wonderful world of timeshare sales. A quote from one of his supposed victims:

It was obvious that we had been duped by a cunning and devious fraudster. The police told our lawyer that they had received several other complaints of fraud and theft by Patrick Visser and had started an investigation, but they also failed to locate Patrick and the investigation appears to have been closed. It seems that soon after the complaints came in he ceased operations in Spain and fled.

So, how long do you think it will take before this Silva Tree business goes down as well?

7 thoughts on “Panama is open for business (3): Silva Tree reforestation scam

  1. Why is it that people have to post bad things about myself, my company and not check them. Do your proper due diligence and you will find that I have never been associated with fraud or theft. We have a legal opinion available to that extend and anybody can request this.

    Furthermore are these reports extremely damaging and coudl jeopardise the entire project. Do you really want to do this? We are setting up the plantation and we are creating lots of employment. We are building a Lab for seedling production and all this can be checked by going to our website and checking our photodiary. A project like this can not be set up in one day, nor 6 months.

    We will of course have our lawyers send letters to this site again, asking to remove this content, just like we did with the blackmailing site ripoffreport.com and we will see whether it will indeed be removed or not. If not we know what category this website belongs to.

    Well done for making the world a little bit worse again.

  2. It is indeed correct that the CS Monitor investigating is based on non-truths and this can be checked. We currently own over 300 HA in the Chepo area (check the land registry, although this might also be a con). We have ordered 150,000 seedlings from WPI. Check with them. We are contructing a Micro-Propagation Lab. Go to the site to check, if you are in Panama. We have approx 50 people working there right now and are constantly recruiting. Go to site and you will see this.

    We did indeed plant about 15 Ha as a test to see whether we could plant in the dry season. This has only worked marginally and as such are now gearing up to plant 250-300 HA during the wet season. Go check this with Ing. Herminio Gonzales of Eco Management. (might of course not really be a forest engineer)

    As you can se, all I am asking is that you do your proper Due Diligence on our project before you publish them online. Ripoffreport is a proper “blackmailing site” and this is publicly known.

    Please do not jeopardise the project and the employment we are creating in Panama. If you live in Panama go and see the project. We are aiming to set up a 3000-5000 Biomass project in Panama this year and we would create an incredible amount of work with that. Contact us for any confirmation documents required.

    I would call you direct, but there do not seem to be any contact numbers on your site.

  3. One final comment: There was indeed a mistake in our marketing material and we are NOT verified by VCS yet. This has now been rectified in our Brochure.

    We have now finished the PDD and it is being translated into English for submission to Rainforest Alliance. We have been in contact with VCS for a long time already and this can also be verified.

    If Christian Science Monitor would have informed us where the mistake was we would have corrected it straight away. The Credits are not even part of the investment, so why we are getting this scathing report is beyond me. If you really want to help Panama and assist in the fight against illigal logging and support employment creation you know what to do.

  4. Can you please stop bullshitting? That’s not a mistake, that is what is called a fraudulent misrepresentation. Like some other bogus claims such as “guaranteed results”. Really? Over 20 years? Guaranteed by what? Oh, by a promise to buy the wood? So what if there is no wood, or not enough wood, or low quality wood – in short, any of the normal risks found in reforestation? Answer: You guys can’t guarantee shit.

    And “straight away”? It was on the site even after the CSM article came out!

    Apparently you have your own people tell that publication you own 200 hectares but somehow planted 350 already. And now you say you are “gearing up to plant” 300 hectares you own. You guys can’t even count or get your story straight?

    So please, cut the crap about “helping Panama” and how you create jobs. Neither the reforestation business nor Panama are done any favors by what is clearly a bunch of irresponsible amateurs at best.

  5. Pingback: Silva Tree's Patrick Visser joins list of hustlers trying to sue us | Bananama Republic

  6. I knew Patrick Visser is Spain. All I can say is what a load of balony! Just because someone was involved in timeshare (which is an aggressive sales business, as is resort real estate) does not mean that they are involved in anything untoward. After all Hilton and Marriott make untold millions every year on this. Maybe they have some unhappy clients or former employees too.

    This is a perfect example of the Internet going nuts over an absolute non-story.

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