Art Futures Groupoverpriced chinese contemporary art buy / lease scam

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After completing an online survey about purchasing art from Hong Kong, with leases in place, I purchased 5 paintings between May 2012 and October 2013, all offered with corporate leases in place, returning 6% per annum.
AFG's salesman, James O'Dell, pushed hard over the phone, not allowing me to talk, and railroading me into buying. I never thought to check current values of the artists works (big mistake) nor to question the ongoing lease of the art, which was my way of seeing a sustainable income for the future.
AFG tout themselves as 'experts' in art broking, and will handle exit strategies when the time is right.
I was offered 5 years storage and free insurance on each piece, photos, sales contract, provenance and where the art would be stored.

A few months before the 1st painting's 2 year lease contract was about to end I started to ask what was going to happen with a new lease. Emails went unanswered for months with weak excuses why. Statements were made that the works might not re-lease. To cut it short, NONE of my paintings, nor the 3 paintings my sister also purchased, re-leased and are currently sitting in storage in Hong Kong.
As AFG claim they are in the business of corporate art leasing, it stunned us that suddenly AFG couldn't lease our paintings again!
The managing director Jon Reade, after several emails, offered to re-lease the works at the same amount, which we declined, and nothing further was done.
After numerous emails, I demanded to see records of the paintings movement between artist, storage (for inspection), then transport to the lease client, and transport back into storage as suspicion that the paintings never were leased in the first place.
I also requested up to date prices for similar works by same artists, to check if the promised 20% gain per annum was realised on AFG's current price list. Of course there was no gain after 4 years.
I was sent a list of expected gain on investments, including wine, property etc, showing art appreciating 99% in 5 years! I also checked auction results of all the artists, and all had sold similar pieces for far less than I had paid! One piece (all artists have series of works with the same theme, so pieces are identical in size, medium, subject matter) I paid Aus$42, 500 and the auction value was $24-$30, 000! For artists in my portfolio that had sold similar works at auctions were far less than I had purchased the pieces.
When I emailed AFG about the huge difference, I was given the 'spiel' about how auctions work, blah blah, all negative.
I contacted several well known auction houses in Hong Kong and China, including Sotheby's and Bonhams and others with a view to sell the works at auction. EVERY auction house I contacted declined to take the works most stating there was NO MARKET for these pieces.
I tried to claim the difference in value for these paintings to the current auction value with no compensation from AFG.
I have asked repeatedly for information on how to best sell them, continually being put off to wait till 'early 2017', which again was met with not a good time to sell, auction houses don't take art under 10 years old, blah blah.
I visited Hong Kong in 2013 to see the paintings and was very surprised that 4 of the paintings were so easily 'removed' from the corporate lessee to AFG's offices.

Basically I feel cheated by fast talking salesmen, who have been rude, abrasive and evasive in answering straight forward questions about our investment in their recommended mid career artists "about to go Blue Chip", and the guarantees AFG gave about their appreciation, which has NOT happened.

In conclusion, buyers beware, do your homework about the real value of these works, and if AFG are recommending an artists and their series of works, check auction results and buy the piece for far less directly yourself!

We would like a full refund of all monies paid, including the guaranteed 20% /annum appreciation on these works.

overpriced chinese contemporary art buy / lease scam
overpriced chinese contemporary art buy / lease scam
overpriced chinese contemporary art buy / lease scam
overpriced chinese contemporary art buy / lease scam
overpriced chinese contemporary art buy / lease scam

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Jun 24, 2018

    Hi everyone scammed by Art Futures Group, I have started a Facebook page to at least have us all under one umbrella, where we will receive notifications, and everyone who joins the group can post links etc. to move us all forward to not only closing this business down, but somehow getting some satisfaction monetarily and emotionally...please please join the group asap as it will carry more weight and get some attention from authorities! FACEBOOK group is private, called AFGSCAM - once all of you have joined, we will petition the Hong Kong consumer council for either assistance or direction to where we can take this further!

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Jun 28, 2018

    Sometimes working with social media is a nightmare! cant get why afgscam wont show up, but noted that FB wouldnt accept 'scam' for a valid moniker - have now registered this email - [protected]@groups.facebook.com, use this from now on...I am a very dedicated social justice seeker and will NOT back down from the huge workload ahead of us..could those resident in Hong Kong please advise as 'feet on the ground' are needed to do some legwork - i am in Australia, with a huge workload at the moment, so all assistance is required to put pressure on the artworld who have turned their backs on us!

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Mar 07, 2019

    Hi everyone, if not done so already PLEASE ask to join the PRIVATE FB group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/AFGfraud/members/ to catch up with what we are all doing - also this article came out yesterday

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-06/investors-are-losing-millions-by-buying-and-leasing-chinese-art?fbclid=IwAR3VIcL7Sp5BHdqCjhNTHXtQjIykZ00KKP_YMus3r2atroyp0VdA97EGZKs

    cheers

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Jul 07, 2019

    I have just heard from one of the FB group members, that they have decided to relinquish their hkd$168k painting in exchange for the unpaid storage fee (after the '5' year period free storage is up) of hkd5, 400. I thought AFG were ruthless and dishonest, but this is pure bottom of the barrel shysters who would not even offer a better deal than 3% of the original cost of the art. On the other side of this saga, this poor client has given up on ever seeing her investment return the huge 15-20%/annum gains promised by AFG's sales reps (hardly 'specialised' art brokers) preferring to be done with the whole fiasco and basically write off her money. Here in Australia we say 'SHAME SHAME SHAME' on you

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Feb 24, 2020

    Hi all, if you haven't asked to join the Facebook group against AFG and other rental art scams, then please request through Facebook - you will need to provide copy of your invoice showing art purchase or other info proving your i.d. to protect other members...in the meantime I recently spoke to Jonathan Macey, from Maceys and Sons who have bought out AFG. Jonathan states he 'bought out AFG in good faith' yet still not ONE of us has had an offer to sell our art, refund our money or give anyone an idea of when we can recoup our hard earned money...to this end Jonathan gave his email asking for anyone to tell their story to him (I believe it's because Douglas Lucas from AFG, now working for Maceys stated that 'all the complaints on this site are from just one disgruntled person, aka Moi!)...it goes to show that i have managed to keep spies out of the FB group, coz AFG/MACEYS would all realise there are dozens and dozens of us with the EXACT same story of fraudulent sales techniques, lies, exaggeration and basic over the top incentives (high yielding rental returns which are a ONE OFF but never advised to anyone) to invest our money with them...write him your story with a request to refund your money - GO FOR IT - [protected]@maceyandsons.com

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Feb 26, 2020

    please add the following hashtag to all yours posts - get behind the movement #GIVEBACKOURMONEY

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Mar 23, 2020

    hi all, if you have applied to the FB group afgscam, check your messenger for a reply..i always reply, but fb does not keep a counter on unread messages (once you click on messenger it removes the count)..if this is confusing, just check your messenger messages for requests by me for yr invoice or other documentation to i.d. you..police action has been started and many members have sent their statement to hk police - the contact there is [protected]@police.gov.hk - the more who sent in their statement the better the chance of action...there is no class action (so a hk lawyer advised me) and the cost to prepare a 'legal opinion' is around hk$25k...i started a gofundme to raise funds to get to hk and start researching there to try and sell the art, get govt. action and attempt to #givebackourmoney - i can tell you all that its not looking good as the info i have assessed from all sources appears that the art is not wholly completed by the signatured artist but by their students (to give cheap art to afg/maceys & others) who in turn on sell to everyone at ridiculous prices as afg etc, then in turn seed the auctions to bid up these same artists to then show the auction results, which in turn allows afg/maceys to push up their prices...i have it on GOOD authority that these high auction results are 'one offs', and the major auction houses are aware of the whole scam system, hence why NONE of us have been successful in getting our art sold - DO NOT let maceys et al con you into buying more art to enable them to sell yr existing art - its just good money after bad - to stop them in their tracks just say along the lines of 'the deal sounds interesting, but i will need to have the details emailed to me for my lawyer to look over'...you will receive the following in reply 'SILENCE'

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Apr 07, 2020

    Here is the retracted article originally written for Bloomberg - its been removed all over the net, so this is the ONLY place to read it on a public domain - Investors Are Losing Millions by Buying and Leasing Chinese Art
    [protected]:00:00.3 GMT

    By Frederik Balfour
    (Bloomberg) -- In her first foray into the world of art
    investing, Lucette d’Angelique got an offer that seemed too good
    to turn down.
    Buy a work of contemporary Chinese art, which was
    appreciating at as much as 20 percent a year, then lease it to a
    corporation for a guaranteed 6 percent annual return.
    The company making the pitch, Art Futures Group, said a
    client had already been signed up to lease the painting, but she
    would need to act quickly as several other potential buyers were
    also looking at the work.
    So d’Angelique plunked down HK$198, 000 ($25, 223) for an oil
    painting by Hou Qing featuring a young Chinese woman in a red
    dress, clutching a bottle of Hennessy cognac. "I was thinking,
    wow, what a great investment."
    A few months later, while attending an open house at the
    AFG gallery, she was surprised to see her painting was on
    display to promote the artist and not hanging in someone’s
    office. Still, the monthly dividend checks kept arriving, so she
    brushed aside her concerns, eventually spending another HK$1.1
    million on four more paintings.
    After two years, the leasing contract on her painting “Red
    Hennessy” expired. AFG told her it wouldn’t be renewed. The
    story was the same for her other purchases once the initial two-
    year rental period expired. She was told the leasing market had
    gone quiet and it was too soon to try and sell her paintings.
    Frustrated by AFG’s failure to respond to her further
    queries, she tried to place her works with several Hong Kong
    auction houses.
    "Not one of them wanted anything to do with these
    paintings, " she said. The best she could get was an offer from
    Sotheby’s to sell a Shen Jingdong painting online with a reserve
    price of HK$10, 000 ($1, 274), about 3.5 percent of the HK$288, 000
    she had paid for it. Sotheby’s declined to comment on Shen
    Jindong’s artworks.

    Buyers’ Forum

    d’Angelique isn’t the only one suffering buyer’s remorse.
    More than 50 people have signed up to a private chat group on
    Facebook for AFG clients that she created. Interviews with more
    than a dozen other AFG clients tell a similar story. The average
    price they paid per painting was about $25, 000.
    AFG’s website says it has served more than 1, 000 clients.
    In an e-mail exchange, AFG initially said the company’s founder,
    Jeremy Kasler, would give an interview, but then said he would
    respond to written questions instead. On receiving the
    questions, the company said he was too busy to respond. In
    response to two subsequent emails, the company said there was no
    one else available to address the questions.
    AFG isn’t the only company in Hong Kong offering to sell and
    then lease art. Elliot James & Tyndal also sells Chinese
    contemporary art with promises of an 8 percent return for two
    years, said Divine Fung, who bought one of their paintings after
    getting cold called by a sales representative. The company did
    not respond to emailed questions.
    Another firm, Collins & Kent International Fine Art, sold
    editions of works by Damien Hirst and Salvador Dali, offering
    7.5 percent rental income, until its Hong Kong office went bust
    in 2017.
    Mrs. Wong, a compliance lawyer who asked to use her
    husband’s surname only, bought a Hirst print from Collins & Kent
    a few months before the company closed. Now she says she’s stuck
    with a painting she never liked and can’t sell.
    "I was the perfect target, someone with enough money, very
    little time and no knowledge of art, ” she said. “I am totally
    embarrassed by my own stupidity and lack of due diligence."
    A Melbourne-based company using the same name said it helps
    some clients lease their purchases of "blue chip" European works
    for a one-year period with yields between 3.5 percent and 7
    percent as part of a broader business offering art storage and
    logistics. It allowed the Hong Kong entity use of its name and
    access to its artworks, the company said in an email.
    The art-purchase-and-lease offer is particularly appealing
    for people looking for a high-return alternative investment, but
    find the world of galleries, art fairs and auction houses
    intimidating.
    "That’s where the model works, it preys on people by
    speaking to them in a vocabulary they understand and offering to
    be a trusted guide through this very opaque market, so buyers
    probably let their guard down, " says Edie Hu, art advisory
    specialist at Citi Private Bank in Hong Kong. "There is a
    mystique to the art market and all of a sudden you have someone
    who brings it down to your level. Nobody from galleries or
    auction houses talks about return on investment."
    Macey & Sons, which sells mostly European works of art and
    antiques, was founded by former AFG employee Jonathan Macey, who
    declined to discuss his former employer. He said his firm does
    lease some pieces back from buyers it uses for publicity to
    attract new clients, paying the owner up to 5 percent.
    "We have a leasing program, not on all pieces, on certain
    pieces we can show off around the world, ” Macey said. "You have
    to reinvent the way you gain markets."

    Free Whisky

    His firm rents space at art fairs and held a free whisky
    tasting in November for delegates of the Hong Kong AVCJ Venture
    Capital Summit. In February Macey displayed a client’s HK$1
    million 12 carat tiara at the Longines Masters equestrian event
    in Hong Kong. His clients can even earn frequent flyer points
    when they purchase his art.
    AFG has set up a booth each year at the Asia Contemporary
    Art Show in Hong Kong alongside other galleries, and has held
    lucky draws to win a painting, according to d’Angelique, who
    said she was contacted by phone “in minutes” after filling out
    an online survey in 2012 to enter the contest.
    Iris, who works in finance and asked that only her first
    name be used, started getting calls from a salesman soon after
    filling out an AFG questionnaire in exchange for a free face-
    painting for her daughter in the upscale Hong Kong enclave of
    Discovery Bay.
    "He was very pushy and good at talking, like a car
    salesman, " she said after buying a surrealistic painting of a
    multicolored zebra by mainland artist Liu Liguo for HK$348, 000
    in 2016. "If he had sold me a mutual fund or some other
    investment I would have been a lot more careful. Without the
    rental offer I probably would not have bought it."
    She said she doesn’t believe her painting was ever rented
    out and AFG simply overcharged her and paid the lease premium
    from the sale proceeds. The leasing contract was drawn up
    between her and AFG, not a corporate renter. She said AFG
    wouldn’t tell her who would be leasing her painting.
    Collectors Reveal Secrets of How to Make a Fortune in Art
    While the claims of third-party leases may have been
    unsubstantiated, the company hasn’t done anything legally
    improper, said Wong, the lawyer.
    One reason the strategy flourishes is the reluctance of
    many former clients to speak out. Seven people who were
    interviewed about their purchases work in banking and finance
    and requested anonymity to protect their professional
    reputations. Some of those who bought the artworks didn’t want
    to talk about the experience.
    That behavior is typical of people who fear they fell for a
    scam because they feel ashamed, said a former Blackrock employee
    who spent HK$625, 000 on art from AFG. Their shame is a natural
    reaction and companies rely on it to prevent information coming
    out about their operations, the person said.
    But some who feel victimized don’t stay silent. H.L. Tan
    decided to speak out after an AFG broker tried to sell him a
    second painting five years after his first. "I was really
    angry, " said Tay, a former stock broker who wrote off his
    HK$248, 000 purchase years ago. "This is why I am coming forward,
    as a warning sign to everyone not to get involved."

    To contact the reporter on this story:
    Frederik Balfour in Hong Kong at [protected]@bloomberg.net
    To contact the editors responsible for this story:
    Pierre Paulden at [protected]@bloomberg.net
    Adam Majendie

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Apr 09, 2020

    If you wish to join the Facebook group, here is the link - https://www.facebook.com/groups/AFGfraud/ - you will need to supply documentation which you can paste into the messenger window, after I reply to your request. FB messenger notifications is really dodgy, as once you open just one of the unread messages, it will remove any notification of further unread messages, meaning a lot of you who have asked to join are not seeing these replies from me. CHECK your messenger!

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · May 16, 2020

    Hi all I am still very active in attempting to get answers from Macey and Sons (who bought out AFG) with just statements of 'understand your frustration'. Oh really? Jonathan Macey understands my frustration of investing over HK$1 million on unsellable art, not being able to find ANY contact details on the internet for any of the artists I hold, and now on closer inspection of certificates of authenticity supplied by AFG, have discovered that some of the signatures do not match the painting, and one in particular, from Luo Brothers (3 of them) ABSOLUTELY looks digital. Attached is my certificate, and the other is the backside of one of their pieces that was sold at auction by Sotheby's (Luo Brothers only sign 'on verso'), you tell me if im mistaken! check your certificates! not that it will do you any good. cant do class action for 'business to business' (as this type of sale was classified by HKCC). Also pics of my Shen Jingdong, which not only do signatures not match (according to Shen, if it is indeed Shen I'm in contact with by email, the ONLY artist who has a website), saying one is pen and one is paint, ahem, should still roughly look the same!, but the piece is called Bookworm on the certificate, yet on Shen's website its called Reading.

    Comments

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · May 16, 2020

    Luo Brothers signatures (3 brothers) - compare the two signatures!

    Comments

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · May 16, 2020

    Trouble posting all the pics under one submission - heres Luo Brothers signatures (3 brothers)

    Comments

  • Updated by Lucette d'Angelique · Jul 26, 2020

    Apologies to any of you who have not heard back from me...this website is a bit 'clumsy' for finding threads, and as the email I initially used for this thread is no longer active, I'm not receiving messages. (I have tried to get a new email added here without success)... if you wish to email please use [protected]@gmail.com as there is new things happening, after several years of campaigning.

    As these posts are also read by former staff of AFG (now taken over by Macey and Sons - Jonathan Macey is also a founding member of AFG!), updates are only on the FB group and you will need to provide some form of i.d., showing you have purchased art from these businesses, or have reason to be a supporter.

    Basically funds are needed to set up a website to continue the campaign. Many of you have stated here you are interested in contributing, so now is the time to put your money where your mouth is!
    Email me! and contribute to https://www.gofundme.com/shutting-down-a-worldwide-art-scam
    Cheers Lucette

Responses

  • Tk
    Tkn4aFuul Aug 03, 2017

    I have also had exactly the same experience as you. I have two paintings, which no auction house will touch, whose rental stopped after the initial two year rental agreement. I had the paintings independently valued at around 50% of what I paid. Emails go unanswered, phone calls are not returned and I see with dismay that this operation is setting up in the UK as well. It seems clear that this operates almost like a Ponzi scheme: Paintings are bought from the artist in bulk, maybe at a discount. Sold to "investors" at inflated prices. Then they return your own money back to you at 6% for two years after which time the "rental" income stops. I doubt any of the paintings are ever rented. I have attempted repeatedly to view paintings at the rental location but am always met with excuses. Stay clear of this company. My only hope is that eventually enough people will come forward to discredit a company that is obviously an elaborate scam.

    5 Votes
  • Se
    sees Dec 28, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Tkn4aFuul I have the same experience. I think all the buyers should join together and take the case to police. I have 5 art work with them and upon 2 years of each rental complete. You will never get a 2nd rental out. I doubt there were ever a true rental at all.

    2 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 24, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Tkn4aFuul Read my recent post - have opened a facebook group AFGSCAM - please join!

    2 Votes
  • Fr
    Freddie Balfour Dec 18, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @sees Hi - I am a Hong Kong-based journalist working on a story to expose the questionable sales tactics at Art Futures Group. I am on the AFGSCAM facebook chat---Freddie Balfour

    1 Votes
  • Vi
    Victimised again Sep 19, 2017

    Dear Enquiries Mascot Parking and Tkn4aFuul, Please could you contact me I have similar experience, now I am left with paintings in wharehouse incurring storage charges, tried to sell to auction houses, there is no market, the price is a fraction of what I paid, no rental after 2 years, I asked to see the movement log of the paintings from wharehouse to corporate rental location, they gave excuses.

    3 Votes
  • Ti
    Tiff Tang Mar 22, 2018

    @Victimised again Hi all, I got similar situation, may I know how are you guys deal with? As I would like to sold it. Any suggestions to find a buyer? Thanks to contact me: [protected]@hotmail.com

    0 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 28, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Victimised again i have started private fb group - AFGSCAM but need to invite you - please email me your email!

    0 Votes
  • Vi
    Victimised again Jul 31, 2018

    @Lucette d'Angelique I have just sent you my email Thank you.
    I have written to HK authorities but no help.

    0 Votes
  • Af
    AFG victim Dec 21, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Lucette d'Angelique [protected]@yahoo.com.hk

    0 Votes
  • Fr
    fraudinsingapore Oct 09, 2017

    the company is a fraud and i have no idea how they are even allowed to conduct business. they have NEVER MOVED the art. i have check movement records. they don't do anything just spin pretty stories of how they are done. the artwork are now decorative pieces value. i e . not even 1/3 of what u paid. in singpore they even double sold or better not give you the piece even though u have ownership and the so called "only piece of certificate"

    1 Votes
  • Ch
    cheatedbyAFG Oct 25, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am also facing the same issue now. I bought a painting in 2014, and I can't get my painting to be leased since 2016. I have been in contact with Douglas Lucas now since Jon Reade left the company. He also used the same delay tactic of the art piece being young etc etc. This company is a giant fraud- they take some of the money we paid for the art and pay us the first two years of the rental income (12% of the total value). Thankfully I didn't invest a lot of money on this. But I will be getting some reporters in Hong Kong that i know of to start investigate on this issue, and perhaps expose the fraud to the public.

    3 Votes
  • Ar
    artcollectingbeginner Nov 06, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @cheatedbyAFG I bought a painting in 2014 and the storage period will be ended in 2019. I am afraid I can't get back my painting after I saw the above posts. Should we contact more AFG victims?

    2 Votes
  • Fr
    Freddie Balfour Dec 18, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @cheatedbyAFG Hi - I am a Hong Kong-based journalist working on a story to expose the questionable sales tactics at Art Futures Group. I am on the AFGSCAM facebook chat---Frederik Balfour, Bloomberg News

    0 Votes
  • Th
    The Wolnys Nov 09, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Is there a collective lawsuit that we can pursue with Art Futures

    4 Votes
  • Jo
    Jon Mind Nov 09, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @The Wolnys Yea... pull our resource together and sue them for fraud and misrepresentation. I'm in if there's a lawsuit launched on them.

    3 Votes
  • Ju
    JulianB Dec 19, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Jon Mind Did you ever take this any further?

    2 Votes
  • Af
    AFG victim Nov 14, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am the victim too. Please contact me and I hope we can come up with any solutions!

    1 Votes
  • Ar
    Artnofuture Nov 24, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Same here, 4 pieces bought between 2014-15. Rental paid for first 2 years then stopped. I am constantly contacting AFG to either get further rentals, exit the pieces or even have them shipped to UK so I can at least have them on the wall! But as with all other comments on here I am not getting responses. Clearly a scam and we should get together to issue a lawsuit

    1 Votes
  • Se
    sees Dec 28, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Artnofuture How can we contact all the victims? We should at least contact the reporters and get the news out and get the attention.

    2 Votes
  • Ar
    Artnofuture Nov 24, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I'm sure we all have appraisal certificates from Roma Group for our pieces. these appraisals show "current market value" figures, which are clearly false. Roma group are a HK public company, (453 million HKD market cap) who have a specialist division in the valuation of fine art

    www.romagroup.com/page.php?top_id=2&id=15&lang=1

    Clearly they got this massively wrong or where under instruction from AFG to product these valuations, either way a potential claim against them stands out. Perhaps it might be worth requesting an up to date valuation form them independently and see what comes back.

    1 Votes
  • Af
    AFG victim Nov 24, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have contacted some auction houses and art galleries and none of them accept my art piece! To be honest I only saw the art piece once at AFG gallery. I am pretty sure the rental thing was fake in the first place! Till now, I really doubt that I can take the art piece from their storage. I can’t imagine this company which has world-wide media coverage is a scam!

    1 Votes
  • Ti
    Tiggy123 Nov 27, 2017

    @AFG victim Please let me know if there is a group set up to go against AFG and the valuation company. I too have been scammed.

    2 Votes
  • Se
    sees Dec 28, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Tiggy123 Is there a way to join all the victims together and sue the company? We should get this out and stop the company from cheating money from investors.

    3 Votes
  • Gu
    Guate Dec 11, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I bought a painting in 2013 .James Odeli was the salesman .Rented for 2 years then no response.We should sue the company who placed the valuation.Also James Odeli should be put in jail for fraud.I believe he left the company

    3 Votes
  • Ju
    JulianB Dec 19, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Hello has anyone got any advice on how to take this further with a complaint to the Hong Kong Consumer protection board or equivalent authority?

    Regards

    Julian Bott
    [protected]@gmail.com

    1 Votes
  • An
    annoyed2018 Jan 22, 2018

    I am a victim too. I also bought 2 art works from Art Futures Group in 2012 and rented only for 2 years. Been trying to get their help to place the art works into auction since last year but Douglas Lucas kept giving excuses that the art works are not "old" enough. In fact, AFG even suggested that I buy more from them and promised that if i do so, they will help place my paintings into new corporate leases. I declined their offer as i didn't want to throw good money after bad.

    Have anyone managed to take any action against them yet?

    1 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 28, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @annoyed2018 Email me your email as have started a private fb group - AFGSCAM - to make it easier to post info

    0 Votes
  • Ar
    ArtisticFrauwd Feb 14, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I think we need to get together and find out the true scale of this fraud. The UK and Hong Kong have laws that should at least stop the guilty from further exploitation.

    1 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 24, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @ArtisticFrauwd Have started a Facebook group about AFG - please join - AFGSCAM

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    JanF Jun 28, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Lucette d'Angelique Cant find the page when i search FB!

    0 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 28, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @JanF Im not sure why cant find it, perhaps as a private group - do want to keep us as 'undercover' as possible to not alert afg - email me your email to personally invite you

    0 Votes
  • Ju
    junhc Dec 10, 2018

    @Lucette d'Angelique Yes,Thank you to startup the Facebook. Please accept my registration

    0 Votes
  • Ar
    ArtisticFrauwd Feb 14, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Does anyone know any journalists who might do an expose on them?

    1 Votes
  • Fr
    Freddie Balfour Dec 18, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @ArtisticFrauwd I am a Hong Kong-based journalist working on a story to expose the questionable sales tactics at Art Futures Group. I am on the AFGSCAM facebook chat as Freddie Balfour, my email handle.
    I have spoken to four "victims" of AFG and am looking for more examples to strengthen my reporting.
    I hope to hear from you. [protected]@bloomberg.net or +[protected]
    You can google Frederik Balfour to see some of my work.

    -1 Votes
  • Fr
    Freddie Balfour Jul 11, 2019
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Freddie Balfour I am trying to remove this note

    1 Votes
  • Kk
    KK Lee Feb 15, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have the same issue and we should gather together. How can we contact one another? I can be reached at [protected]@hotmail.com. Recently, they reached out to me and asked me to pay for my storage cost.

    1 Votes
  • Mi
    MichTH Mar 11, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @KK Lee Seems we were scammed in the same year, my storage will be up soon as well. I will send you an e-mail. With the Art Season starting in HK, they will go and look for investors :-(

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    JanF Mar 09, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Yes, me too. I have two works no longer earning rental and I am now paying for storage. Bth purchased through AFG's James O'Dell. My current AFG broker does nothing when I ask about selling except to say its a valuable investment I should hang on to! Christie's Asian Contemporary Department in Hong Kong have today responded via Christie's here in Australia that these works will not be suitable for inclusion in one of their auctions. So what's the next step?

    0 Votes
  • Fe
    Feelingcheated2018 Mar 11, 2018

    Have any one of you taken actions yet? I also bought 2 art pieces and they were not rented after the first 2 years. Company is a total fraud and I checked the last auction prices for my art works and they were just a fraction of what I paid! Not sure how Roma could have appraised such a high value to the art pieces in the first place. Obviously? both companies, Roma and AFG are in cahoots.

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    MichTH Mar 11, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have exactly the same experience. Bought an obviously overpriced painting with a Roma appraisal, rental stopped after 2 years. Salesman stopped taking phone calls, never answered my e-mails, even pretented to be someone else on the phone - utterly ridiculous. My free storage will come to an end soon, and I do not have any illusions about selling it with a profit.

    1 Votes
  • Fe
    Feelingcheated2018 Mar 12, 2018

    Wondering if there is any way to raise a complaint against the AFG to the HK consumer complaints body ?

    2 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 28, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Feelingcheated2018 i have been fighting afg and auction houses, including hk consumer complaints for several years, with NO response from anybody! now there are so many of us the sheer volume of complaints must start 'shaking trees'. send me your email to be invited. once there are more members, we can as a group start a pressure campaign. afg needs to be shut down

    1 Votes
  • Sa
    Sam Susan Mary Oct 02, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Feelingcheated2018 How come you will trust an untrained staff and buy arts from them?

    0 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Oct 22, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Sam Susan Mary AFG brokers are very convincing of their 'superior' art knowledge - join my group https://www.facebook.com/groups/AFGfraud/ for great links updates of action etc..cheers Lu

    0 Votes
  • Vi
    Victims2 Mar 13, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I confront the similar situation as well, keep looking forward the new rental which recommend by the art broker but nth. And now my storage will be up soon, I’m asking them help me to sell out my piece even they have higher charge of about 20-30%...but I’m not very positive on this case. If there is a group against with them please let me know too.

    1 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 28, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Victims2 i have started a fb private group, send your email to me to be invited - group name is afgscam

    0 Votes
  • Je
    Jerry Shen Dec 10, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Lucette d'Angelique [protected]@gmail.com

    0 Votes
  • Jn
    J Ng Dec 11, 2018

    @Lucette d'Angelique Hello, My email/FB is [protected]@hotmail.com
    Please add to me

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    ChronoC Mar 22, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I just bought two pieces from them early this year...now I am worried and not happy at all. =(

    1 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 28, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @ChronoC i have started a fb group (private) AFGSCAM - email me your email to be invited

    0 Votes
  • Pe
    Peter2018 Mar 27, 2018

    I have the same issue and this I bought my art and now it can't rent or sell it and no one wants to buy the art for any value. we have all been cheated and we need to all get together to do something to try and get back our money!
    if anyone going to do something about this please email me on [protected]@gmail.com I have few other friends in the same boat as all of us!

    3 Votes
  • Ra
    ratofiler Apr 15, 2018

    I had the same issue. I had three paintings with AFG. All my paintings came with a 2-year rental contract at guaranteed 6% per annum, and I was told that this is a very stable and low risk investment. Unfortunately, there were never any extension of rentals for any of my paintings after two years.

    When I asked about rental extensions or selling my art, they gave excuses and transferred me to other people of the company. So far, I had spoken with five salesman, including Maggie Lau, Anna Lim, Bradly Tupa, James Odell, Daniel Couture and Douglas Lucas. None of them were able to answer my questions in relation to selling my art. I have no idea why this company is able to extend its business operations to other parts of the world when they couldn't even manage their existing clients.

    If there is any collective action against this company, please email me and I would be happy to participate.
    [protected]@yahoo.com.hk

    1 Votes
  • Mi
    MichTH Apr 18, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I contacted them again and keep getting the same spiel about waiting longer for my art work to gain provenance, etc.
    My question is, do any of you know anybody who got rental after the initial two years, or anybody who was able to sell their paintings with a profit?
    The manager at AFG that I am dealing with was with a wine company before that also has a lengthy complant thread on this website, very unsettling.

    2 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Jun 28, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @MichTH Hi email me your email to invite to private FB group i started to get the numbers before approaching hk consumer board

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    MichTH Jul 05, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Lucette d'Angelique Hello! Thanks. I just sent a request to join your group. Cheers Michaela

    0 Votes
  • Sp
    SpaceInvada Apr 21, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have 4 pieces. 3 of which are not earning since 2017. Can someone please advise what is the next step?

    1 Votes
  • Th
    Themount31 May 08, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My “free” storage is now up and I am being asked to pay an additional 5000+ HKD for an additional year and a “promise” that they will “try” to sell it but the market isn’t great. Has anyone else’s lease expired and what have you done as I do not want to sink anymore money into this scam without seeing some of my money back

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    MichTH May 08, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Themount31 My storage will be up soon. If they ask me to pay for it, I will just take the painting and hang it on my wall, at least it's pretty. They will certainly not get a penny from me.

    0 Votes
  • Tr
    traineeinvestor May 31, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Has anyone actually taken legal advice on recovering from Art Futures and/or filed a criminal complaint with the Police? Given the number of comments on this web site showing exactly the same story:
    1. lots of oral promises about the art market - probably not actionable unless it can be shown that they were false at the time they were made
    2. representations that the art works could be sold at the end of the free storage period - contradicted by statements made when the storage period end
    3. questions about whether the art works were ever actually leased in the first place - supported by refusal to provide requested documentation - if it can be proven that they were never leased then the whole scheme is a fraud
    4. almost no-one being able to secure a "lease" after the initial two year period
    5. high pressure sales calls to the effect that the art market had shifted and it was now necessary to by several paintings by the same artist to have any chance of securing a new lease.

    While lawyers can be expensive, given that these paintings were not cheap, it may be worth investing in jointly instructing a firm of lawyers to advice on potential courses of action.

    1 Votes
  • Ja
    JanF May 31, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I would be interested in any class action

    2 Votes
  • Tr
    traineeinvestor Jun 12, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have just sent an e-mail regarding instructing solicitors to those whose e-mail addresses I have (although one has bounced back).

    If you have not received the e-mail and would like to be included in the instructions, please let me have an e-mail address and I will copy you in.

    3 Votes
  • Kl
    Klinkny Jun 20, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @traineeinvestor I have had the exact same experience as everyone else - I got scammed by Jon Reade for 3 pieces in 2014. Please include me in your email: [protected]@gmail.com

    1 Votes
  • No
    NotAgain99 Jun 20, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @traineeinvestor @traineeinvestorI have an email address for you. Please keep me informed at: [protected]@gmail.com

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    ChronoC Sep 10, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @traineeinvestor I am another potential victim in Hong Kong and I bought two paintings from them this year. Sarah Marie Lie was the broker in charge. Please kindly add me to the group: [protected]@gmail.com

    0 Votes
  • Ap
    apolhk2018 Sep 24, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @traineeinvestor Same story here, 2 pieces bought from Jon Reade back in 2014. New guy Douglas Lucas is not helping. Happy to join the group, please add me at : [protected]@gmail.com

    0 Votes
  • He
    Heelp Sep 27, 2018

    @traineeinvestor @traineeinvestor I have the same same experience. have sent you a message please include me.

    0 Votes
  • Lc
    L Chan Nov 14, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @traineeinvestor Please include me: [protected]@gmail.com

    0 Votes
  • Af
    AFGinmate Jun 16, 2018

    The management behind AFG seems to have come from a background that seems questionable. Their dealings with customers should be noted as it is dubious why the are doing. If you conduct a search on the CEO you will notice he keeps a very low profile...

    2 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette A d'Angelique Jun 21, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    To all people who have posted regarding the despicable conduct of Art Futures Group in hyping their painting values, I did email several agencies, art dealers and even a recent podcast telling them of the fraudulent activity of a guest speaker on investment, Mr Jon Reade, managing director of AFG.
    I only received one response, from the podcast people who said the interview was only about investment, so no foul! Yeah right..foul indeed as Mr Reade was self promoting his business.

    Here is a link https://www.consumer.org.hk/ws_en/complaints_and_advices/how_to_complain/howtocomplain.html to place your own complaint, as if everyone does it, the weight of complaints should warrant some professional guidance and response.

    Basically I want a refund of monies paid over the top of the value of the art (I emailed Jon Reade directly concerning same) only to be told, 'it depends who is bidding at the auction'.

    If money back plus the touted 20% annual increase in the artworks value is returned, I doubt there would be enough for all us to get back our money.

    We have foolishly trusted the salesmem of AFG, hoodwinked by very experienced 'talkers', and now we will repent in leisure, and hopefully our heirs will eventually prosper from the artworks increase in value.

    I am disgusted with these people, that they lied to my face (on a visit to their Hong Kong office in 2013), dared to display my purchased works in their art space (without full permission) saying the corporate clients 'allowed' the works to be removed from display...another load of lies.

    How is it after 6 years they're still in business? We ALL must lodge formal complaints first, then seek legal advice, and as quietly as possible, freeze AFG assets, stop their trading any further and recoup the losses.

    If anyone lives in Hong Kong, start phone calling to every complaint agency there is, as from a previous experience I had with another fraudulent sale of real estate, no one listened to me, until a top notch investigative journalist here in Australia decided to get the crook. No we didn't get all our money back, but we at least didn't lose it all, and that man is no longer in business (that we know of).

    I will get a Facebook set up sometime today, so ask EVERYONE here to like, post their story, and results of any action taken.

    I am not receiving notifications from this website of posts, and can't seem to find where that setting is, but will continue to check back here.

    Facebook page name ideas anyone? How about AFG whistle blowers? Let me know - email direct to [protected]@hotmail.com.

    Let's get some action on these fraudsters!

    1 Votes
  • Vo
    Voldemort-HK Jul 21, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Guys, you need to report them to the SFC, there is a very good chance they aren't allowed to sell investment products in HK as it is very strict. There are so many companies like that here. Forget about consumer complaints in HK as consumers have no right.

    0 Votes
  • Eu
    Eugene Wong Feb 22, 2019
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Voldemort-HK These guys are undoubtedly scam artists, however I think the SFC are not the right regulatory authority as they only cover purely financial investments/securities, not physical assets. Although AFG market this rubbish as investments, if the SFC contacted them, they would no doubt say they just you some art. (Same as the SFC has no jurisdiction over dodgy real estate agents in HK.) Would suggest the other avenues like the HK Police and the media would work better.

    0 Votes
  • Tr
    traineeinvestor Aug 01, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    1. REPORTING TO POLICE

    In addition to the SFC, those in Hong Kong can report suspected fraud cases to the police:

    1. The Anti-deception Coordination Centre provides consummation services: https://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/04_crime_matters/adcc/contact.html

    2. Fraud can be reported through the HK Police e-reporting portal: https://www.erc.police.gov.hk/cmiserc/CCC/PolicePublicPage?language=en

    There is no cost in doing either of these.

    2. CONTACTING THE MEDIA

    Lucette's suggestion of contacting members of the media is a good one. In doing so, I'd suggest making sure you stick to factual statements. Linking to AFG founder Jeremy Kesler's alleged involvement with wine investment firm (Australian Wine Index or AWI) whose sales people allegedly used similar techniques may help attract interest. Some links:

    https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/man-behind-recent-investment-woes

    https://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/australian-wine-index-c435340.html?page=20#comments

    As will the fact that prior to AWI, Jeremy Kasler allegedly ran an unlicensed timeshare agency in Australia before being shut down by the Australian securities regulator ASIC

    Link (the relevant bits are in the last couple of paragraphs): https://www.afr.com/brand/rear-window/royal-commission-villain-andrew-smith-prospers-beyond-st-george-20180419-h0z08d

    3. DISCUSS WITH YOUR ADVISERS

    If you have a financial adviser, I'd suggest raising this with him/her. They may or may not be able to help in terms of advice, but even if they can't (they're not lawyers), it will help spread the word and hopefully prevent others from having the same experience that we have all had.

    0 Votes
  • Ba
    bamboozled123 Oct 19, 2018
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    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @traineeinvestor i've sent a complaint for fraud to the HK police, let you know if anything comes of it

    0 Votes
  • Af
    AFGinmate Aug 03, 2018

    It appears Mr.Jeremy Kasler is setting up a new venture now that art seems to have run its course. There is no doubt that his client basis is thinning out dramatically so a new venture in property has commenced. It appears that CityYield is promising the magic 6% return with property now!

    I wonder if it will be a 2 year option followed by the:

    "Sorry we are so successful now we have too many investors and not enough clients for leasing. We don't recommend you sell now as the market is not right, hold for another 5 years and we will see what we can do for you then!"

    I'm sure soon the name Kasler will appear atop of many google searches, he just needs to build that client base up from 5000 to maybe 6000 to retire in a place far, far away. Property might just help him do that now that he has burnt the art and wine industry.

    Heres hoping your fourth chance is as prosperous as your first, second and third...

    1 Votes
  • Hh
    HHu Sep 23, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Same story here but with an outfit called Collins & Kent in Hong Kong (now permanently closed but still open in Australia). Please add me to the list if there is one: [protected]@netvigator.com

    0 Votes
  • Sh
    SHezbak Sep 23, 2018

    Hi, same experience.. only one painting bought.. and lease was taken off in 2 yrs.. def a ponzi scheme. Storage is up and we are gnna have to pay 5k from next year!!

    Nyways.. please let me know how i can join a group and happy to go to police or lodge complains

    0 Votes
  • Lu
    Lucette d'Angelique Sep 27, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @SHezbak hi please join my group on FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/AFGfraud/about/

    0 Votes
  • Ba
    bamboozled123 Oct 19, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    this company is a flat out scam, fraud, ponzi scheme, etc

    1 Votes
  • B8
    B8B Nov 25, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have purchased several pieces from AFG over the past 1+ years and did some due diligence before starting with them. A gallery owner told me they were overcharging by about 20% or more, and she felt that most of the artists on their list were not worth collecting, but I bought a few by one recommended artist and a couple others I personally like. I also asked about the chances of renewing the 2 year rental contract, and was told by the sales person I dealt with at the time (Dan Couture) that they didn't usually renew, and it sounded like they didn't necessarily even go to real corporate renters. Nevertheless, I thought that with the extra services (insurance, valuation, storage), "rental income" and some gifted books & prints, that it was an OK deal. I was also told by my friend that art auction results can be very misleading, so I haven't given much credit to the auction results AFG showed me for all of the artists I purchased. I've grown tired of their aggressive sales tactics, and probably won't buy any more from them. Now that I know that the founder has a bad reputation and that that they have been over-promising customers and causing consumer complaints, I'm a little worried about the security of the art I bought from them...

    2 Votes
  • Ik
    ike haxton Dec 17, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    https://www.afr.com/brand/rear-window/royal-commission-villain-andrew-smith-prospers-beyond-st-george-20180419-h0z08d

    0 Votes
  • Ik
    ike haxton Dec 17, 2018
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Funnily enough, also on Thursday, a publicist for a Jeremy Kasler wrote to offer an interview with "the investment expert who has helped over 5000 clients secure more than $600 million in alternative investments in property, art and wine". He even owns a Ferrari (and he's not even from the Gold Coast).

    No, Kasler is British, and back in March 2000 left Australia after none other than the Australian Securities & Investments Commission closed down the unlicensed timeshare agency, Tourism Advisory Group, he was running. According to ASIC documents, Kasler was later an investor in an alleged scam investment company known as the Australian Wine Index, which was deregistered in 2010.

    Seems like literally everybody gets a second – or third – chance, whether they deserve it or not.

    0 Votes

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