COSTA DEL CRIME Dozens arrested over ‘timeshare scam that saw 500 Brits conned out of life savings in multi-million pound Costa del Sol racket’
NEARLY 40 people have been arrested over a multi-million pound Costa del Sol timeshare scam which targeted hundreds.
An estimated 500 people – all Brits – have fallen victim to the scam which operated in and around the Spanish resort of Malaga.
Spanish police announced today they had arrested 36 people, most of whom are believed to be British.
Their victims come from all parts of the UK.
Police say they believe those affected were defrauded out of nearly £15 million and the suspects made a whopping profit of nearly £11 million.
The operation is ongoing and the number of victims is expected to rise beyond the 500-mark to make up the total of nearly £15 million which investigators believe has been defrauded.
Detectives and Malaga-based central government representatives revealed details of the timeshare fraud op at a press conference in the Costa del Sol capital this morning.
A police spokesman said: “National Police officers have smashed a criminal organisation based in the province of Malaga specialising in timeshare fraud.
“Thirty-six people have been arrested, and another placed under formal investigation but not arrested, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, forgery and membership of a criminal organisation.”
The spokesman added: “Among those detained are the alleged ringleader, a British man, and two lawyers believed to have been responsible for the money laundering.
“The suspects offered their customers, all British and timeshare owners, a timeshare holiday product.”
The police operation was codenamed Manta – Spanish for Blanket.
More than £100,000 in cash, 10 designer watches, gemstones and four high-end cars were seized during raids on a lawyer’s office and the HQ of the firm in the coastal city of Velez-Malaga east of Malaga.
The vehicles included a Ferrari. A yacht was also confiscated.
The raids came after police were asked to act on a formal complaint filed by a lawyer acting for 33 Brits who said they had fallen victim to a timeshare scam.
Spain’s National Police said in a statement: “Initial inquiries were made to determine the place the firm was operating from and resulted in the identification of three companies the fraudulent activity was being conducted from.