Harlequin Property Scam Update
In November 2016 The Timeshare Consumers Assocaition reported on the property scheme ‘Harlequin’ being sued by its investors for £400m in respect of ‘using’ them to fund their build projects. The full story can be read here. In the same article in November, it was said
‘To add salt to the wound, Harlequin now claims that its chartered accountants “caused losses by breaching its fiduciary duty and contract related to the construction of a hotel resort in the Caribbean.’
Off the back of this claim, Harlequin took the accountants, Wilkins Kennedy, to court to recompense some of the monies lost by their so called ‘investors’. Wilkins Kennedy worked for and behalf of Harlequin for financial and investment advice over a four-year period, with their main focus on the principal resort ‘Buccament Bay’ in St Vincent, Grenadines.
The court ruled that the whole Harlequin scheme was a ‘Ponzi scheme’, meaning that the investors were duped into paying sums of money for what they thought was a deposit for the purchase of a property at Buccament Bay. Realistically it was used to fund the building of the resort, and Harlequin proposed to pay back each individual mortgage taken out by the investors. Hence using their investors to fund the project.
The judge awarded the £9.15m win to Harlequin on a conditional basis that the whole balance was paid to a ring-fenced escrow account, from which investors whom had lost money in the whole process will benefit first and foremost. It is an account that is opened with the intention of paying back investors, and the judge believed that this would protect their rights.
David Ames, the founder of Harlequin, stated that they had lived with failings of Wilkens and Kennedy for years, and had been living the nightmare. He was still putting down Wilkins Kennedy when leaving the court, stating that they should be ‘ashamed’. He also went on to say that now the case was over that Harlequin could now go back to focusing on rebuilding their business along with their reputation
This is great news for the original investors. We at the ITRA Online are interested in hearing from any of you that would like to share your story.