Three men have testified in court on charges that they deceived people into contributing to a fraudulent forestry scheme.
Directors of Ethical Forestry Ltd., which failed in 2015, included Dorset natives Stephen Greenaway, 45, Paul Laver, 44, and Matthew Pickard, 52.
According to allegations made before Westminster magistrates, they ran a scheme whereby funds from new investors were used to pay out existing investors.
The defendants were given bail and told to show up at Southwark Crown Court on July 26.
All three of them are accused of running a business with the intent to defraud on one count and two counts of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.
The men allegedly plotted for seven years to offer returns on timber harvested in Costa Rica, according to the Serious Fraud Office, which is prosecuting the case.
Mr. Pickard from Lytchett Matravers, Mr. Laver from West Parley, and Mr. Greenaway from Parkstone were all remanded on unconditional bail.