Gang 'conned thousands in Costa property scam'

6th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 February 2006, MALAGA — Fifteen Britons and two Irish people were arrested for allegedly defrauding tens of thousands of victims across Europe in a sophisticated property scam on the Costa del Sol.

6 February 2006

MALAGA — Fifteen Britons and two Irish people were arrested for allegedly defrauding tens of thousands of victims across Europe in a sophisticated property scam on the Costa del Sol.

Over a four-year period, victims were defrauded of money they believed would allow them to secure a deposit on a home in Andalusia.

The accused contacted potential buyers and told them if they each paid EUR 1,200 up front to a developer it would allow them to evade paying some  tax or lawyers' fees.

But the victims never saw their money again.

The alleged fraud, which amounted to hundreds of thousands of euros,  was centred around the company Maritime Marketing SL based in La Cala, in Mijas, near Marbella.

But after defrauding enough victims, the gang would allegedly simply open up under a different name in a different place, said investigators.

This would create confusion among victims and make it harder for police to catch up with them.

A police source said: "This fraud has robbed tens of thousands of victims across Europe, left them with astronomic losses and brought down the reputation of other property companies run by foreigners in the Costa del Sol and Tenerife."

The gang was made up of 12 women and five men.

The gang was organised by one person and had been running since 2001.

The police operation was launched after a complaint from a victim in Britain.

Officers mounted a surveillance operation and carried out a detailed survey of all documentation connected with the company.

Police added it was not just the leaders of the gang, but telephone operators and administration staff who were part of the deception.

The people detained have not been named, but have been aged between 21 and 65.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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