Gang held after 15,000 hit by EUR 10m timeshare fraud
26 May 2006, MALAGA — Eight people have been arrested in connection with a EUR 10 million timeshare fraud which is said to have affected 15,000 owners.
26 May 2006
MALAGA — Eight people have been arrested in connection with a EUR 10 million timeshare fraud which is said to have affected 15,000 owners.
In a police operation, codenamed Trafalgar, detectives arrested the gang who aimed their fraud at Britons or other northern Europeans, who owned or wanted to own timeshare property on the Costa del Sol.
The gang used a complex web of up to 300 companies and employed up to 1,000 people to disguise their operations.
Four of those arrested were British, two South African, one Belgian and another gang member was Norwegian.
Police named the gang leader as Willem Marthinus P., 58, from South Africa. His wife, Gunn Iren K, 48, a Norwegian, was also involved.
Other members of gang were Briton Malcom David K., 32, who allegedly falsified documents and obtained lists of thousands of timeshare owners who were targeted by the gang.
Other suspects named were Belgian Johannes V., 51, whose job was to distribute falsified documentation, Britons Willy S., 44, and Steven Stewart R., 53, South African Leon O., 49; and Briton Rupert Quentin M., 37.
They were arrested in Fuengirola, Mijas and Coin on the Costa del Sol.
Spanish police said the gang moved to the Costa del Sol in 2000.
They used legally registered companies and employed telesales operators to contact timeshare owners and offer the chance to sell their shares in a property, offering to contact possible buyers in return.
They tricked owners into sending quantities of cash to Spain to pay for legal, management or tax fees.
It would often take some time before the victims would realise they had been defrauded.
At the same time, they were selling the same product to potential buyers with the promise of inflated profits.
The gang were also promising to take legal action against other companies which they were actually running.
They claimed they could act for fraud victims.
They then used fake papers purporting to come from Spanish lawyers and notaries, and repeating the fraud.
After police action in 2001, they re-started the fraud, this time using third parties to hide who was really running the scam.
They would create a web of fictitious companies, with some genuine businesses, all the time pretending they were prestigious timeshare companies.
But after a few months, they would disappear, then reappear elsewhere to repeat the same fraud.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news