Eight men and one woman have been sentenced to prison following a “deliberate and cynical campaign of fraud” against timeshare owners, which netted the group more than £875,000 between 2012 and 2015. More than 470 individuals were defrauded in total.
The fraudsters targeted those who were most likely to want rid of their timeshares – mainly elderly owners and those in poor health. They initially cold-called owners and told them that they had found prospective buyers for their timeshares. Owners were conned into handing over ‘sale fees’ in relation to the fake purchase transactions. When the purchase ‘fell through,’ further fees were sought.
Finally, the fraudsters posed as representatives of the Spanish authorities (as most of the victims’ timeshares were in Spain), requesting an up-front fee before the return of funds to the victims could be initiated.
“This has been a long and complex investigation and I am pleased that the offenders have been brought before the courts this week to receive custodial sentences. These scammers targeted some of the most vulnerable people in our society in a deliberate and cynical campaign of fraud.”
Emma Wright, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit
Sentences ranged from six months to six years and eight months in prison, with charges including conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent trading, money laundering and perverting the course of justice.
“The fact that these fraudsters were able to carry on with their crimes for so long shows just how many people there are out there who are desperate to exit from their timeshare contracts. People are willing to hand over cash in the hope of finally offloading their burdensome timeshares and it was this knowledge that gave the scammers such a sustained ability to commit their crime. Thankfully, the authorities caught up with them in the end and justice was served. It now behoves us to ensure that we spread the word about legal ways that people can exit their timeshare contracts, thus reducing the pool of people who are likely to fall victim to these kinds of crimes.”
Belinda Rollins, Timeshare.lawyer
Exiting a timeshare legally can be done in various ways. In some circumstances, the owners may even be entitled to compensation. This could be the case if they handed over money to the timeshare company during the contract cooling off period, or if their timeshare is ‘In perpetuity’ or is a ‘floating weeks’ product. This is the message that the experts at Timeshare.lawyer are seeking to spread.
Timeshare Compensation and Timeshare.lawyer are a trading names of Advanced Business Consultants Legal SL.