Over the years many timeshare owners have fallen for the scams, the earliest being the resale companies, the most prolific of the first were the many companies set up by the late and infamous Tony Muldoon. He did eventually face the courts, many don’t, and for those he scammed, they never recovered what was stolen. In fact, as with all these scam operations, they are now more vulnerable to scammers than before.
What has become apparent are the close links between the “companies”, many being “owned” by the same people with different “front men” to be the registered directors. The Costa del Sol and specifically the Malaga region was rife with them, but in recent years the local authorities have closed many of them down. The unfortunate thing is the only ones that ended up in the “dock” were the “stooges” and not the “bosses”.
This has been shown in a recent Mirror article by Andrew Penman, a reporter who has highlighted many timeshare frauds in the past, one of his most notable was the Designer Way Vacation Club and Incentive Leisure Group frauds.
In his latest, he follows the case of two individuals in a resale scam who acted as the “money launderers”, with sums running into the hundreds of thousands. His article begins with tracking down one “fugitive” who failed to appear in court due to various medical excuses, to his bar on the Costa del Sol.
The man named in court is Ian Hollis, with the prosecution claiming he personally laundered a total of £74,000, withdrawing it from a bank in Gibraltar and handing over cash to a person he knew only as Dave, apparently a drinker in his bar.
Explaining how he got involved was full of excuses beginning with “Dave” asking if he wanted to make “some extra money”. As Hollis claimed, “I was on the bones of my arse I needed money”. He went on to say he had an “inkling” that there was “probably” something dodgy about it, but to play down his role he said that all he did was take money from a business and place it in his account. For this, he took 5% of what was transferred, plus as it turns out a criminal record and a jail sentence awaiting him on return to the UK.
The other person involved is a struck-off solicitor Anthony Lea, He admitted to laundering a total of £465,000 and was jailed for three years.
Now the companies named in the trial are:
- Simple Timeshare Sales And Marketing
- Find Me Travel
- UK Holiday Consultants
These are all companies that have been operating for the past 11 years, they are also linked to the following who have also operated for around the same time:
- Halfmoon Holdings
- Excalibur Sales & Marketing
- Blue Chip
- Rosedale Marketing
These companies were subject to a huge operation by Spanish National Police back in 2017, after years of investigations. The raids on several premises and homes in the Velez Malaga and Torre del Mar areas netted over 40 arrests and the seizure of cash, jewellery, expensive cars and other property.
Again, it would appear that those arrested were the minnows and not the bosses, therefore they are expendable.
These raids were covered by The Sun and The Mirror.
We also noticed the RDO mouthpiece, Kwikchex made comments, and to be honest, they just refer everything back to the RDO and their “endorsed” timeshare resale companies. Chris Emmins of Kwikchex states:
“These may have prospective buyers for some of the most popular, but more likely, they will list the timeshares for sale – and although they cannot charge an upfront resale fee, they do charge a relatively small amount for advertising”.
Notice how he mentions that they cannot charge an upfront fee, but can charge for “advertising”, hang on a minute when you list anything for sale, doesn’t it have to be advertised, so it is wrong to charge an upfront fee for listing but you can charge to place the advert on your website?
Sorry readers, a Victor Meldrew moment there, but you can see the point, this is exactly what our RDO series is all about, “Smoke & Mirrors”, saying one thing, but then meaning and doing the opposite.
That is it for today, join us on Friday for another great article from our US friends, this one is another from a new contributor Sheri from Minnesota, and is titled: A Worldmark by Wyndham Timeshare Tragedy of Historic Proportions.
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