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Mexico Timeshare FRAUD: December 6, 2014

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS




EVERYWHERE: It seems to be confusing to many potential victims of these scams that the scammers don’t initially ask for any money upfront. “They aren’t asking for money up front,” wrote one near victim of 111 Capital Management Corporation, “so what’s the catch?”

►►► In a nutshell, here’s how it works. In this particular type of scam the grifters take the time to hook their victims and reel them in before asking for money. They’re playing what’s called a “long con”, and they’ll take as much time as they need to get at your money.

Once they have you hooked with their official-looking documents (all forgeries) and convincing stories (all lies), they’ll suddenly discover some type of unanticipated fee or fine that must be paid before you can receive your funds. When you pay that, they’ll find ANOTHER one you must pay and so on until you are tapped out or refuse to pay any more. That’s when they’ll drop you like a hot rock.

Too often they will follow up at some later time with a second scam, a “recovery scam”, under different names in which they will try to convince you that they and/or some government agency have access to a special fund set up to reimburse you for money you lost in either the first scam or some other timeshare related fraud. You’ll have to pay to receive your “recovered” funds of course. See how it works?

This is not limited to Mexico, BTW, but scam artists there (often American expatriates) have taken it to new heights, probably at least partially because they don’t fear being arrested for it. It’s a sad deal.

Now for another scammer, who has been associated with the Coco Bay scams in Costa Rica. Prior to that he was operating out of Mazatlan and now he is working from Cabo San Lucas. His name is Kenneth Hastings, and you can learn more about him below the squiggly line.

Also below the squiggly line: A first person tale from someone who came within a hair’s breadth of being scammed out of thousands of dollars by Highland Park Real Estate and Equity Group in Detroit and Blue Star Escrow Services in Texas (both of those are scam companies) and wants to warn others.


First up: Kenneth Hastings

We just returned from Cabo a few weeks ago and we ran into a Mr. Hastings who scammed us out of a substantial amount of money. He did say that he had a home in Costa Rica and we have later found out he ran the scam in Mazatlan and now has moved onto Cabo.

We recently were scammed in Cabo and am now learning of many others who also were victims. In my research I keep coming up with the same list of characters.
What do you have on Kenneth Hastings and his sidekick “Chris” who are currently “active” in Cabo?

Hastings appears to be operating the bogus Vacation Getaway travel club program from an office above the marina. This is a very prevalent scam all over Mexico, which the thieves involved have taken with them (under many different company names) from resort to resort and now from country to country. The pitch is that they will purchase your timeshare(s) and in return you will purchase, e.g., 200 weeks to be used at resorts all over the world; you will theoretically only pay $99 – $399 per week for a 2 or 3 bedroom, and there are no maintenance fees.

They are even claiming to be part of Sotheby’s “vacation sales department”. roll eyes

The problem: They take your money but don’t sell your timeshare(s) and the travel club is, shall we say, not as advertised. My advice is to stay far away from Kenneth Hastings, regardless of what he claims to be selling.

And here’s the big report for the week, a story and a warning from Mrs. BW. If you are currently dealing with these people, or are contacted by them in the future, BEWARE!

As of November 30, I was corresponding daily with a Mr. Charles Bennett, from Highland Park Real Estate and Equity Group based in Detroit, MI 48226. Phone: 313-899-7905, Email: info@highlandparkequity.com.

Mr. Bennett initiated contact w/us about mid-October regarding 38 Certificates we own at the Palace Premier Resort in Cancun. At the time I thought it was strange that He called me on a phone number that not even my family has access to. He was very well informed, very polite and very professional. After two weeks Mr. Bennett put us in touch a Mr. Zack Pritzer, of Blue Star Escrow Services located at 1300 Post Oaks Blvd Ste#2201 Houston, TX. 77056. Phone 713-893-8552, email: info@bluestarescrow.com. For two weeks we received various forms, addendums, price quotes, notification of Trust and other forms. There also a 30% ($9,427.80) amt placed in an escrow account as an intent to perform incentive.

All of this sounded great! The persons involved were extremely easily to do business but something just wasn’t setting right with me. For one thing they were very eager to pay me a lot of money for my shares. The other thing, they seemed reluctant to deal with my financial adviser, wanting instead to call me every morning, almost at the exact same time. I ran a check on the internet to see if I could locate their businesses and sure enough they were where they said they were. This puzzled me too. After 4 weeks, and all the forms were sent back and forth and we were getting ready to sign the papers, it finally happened. They came up with the last form: Certified International Real Estate Transaction Account. It required that we send via JP Morgan Chase Bank New York, NY a fee of $5,028.16 to a SAT Agency in Mexico.

We refused, telling them to take the money out of the escrow acct held in our name. They refused. Talks ended. They kept calling. Finally we went to the local Bank of America, to the Department that handles International funding transactions. We sat down with them, described our dilemma and asked for their input. They said that they have been approached recently by numerous people with the same story. They said it was good that we reached out and were listening to that “gut” feeling that something just wasn’t right. We went home, called the scammers, told them that we were no longer interested.

The reason I am writing you is because of the concern I have for others. During one of my conversations with the escrow company, Mr. Pritzer, intimated to me that he had about 12 similar deals in the works. This may have been the only truthful thing he said to me. If so those people are in big trouble. I am reaching out to you in hopes that there may be something your group can do to prevent this corruptness. This is going to ruin the timeshare business, as there is to a large degree, a since of trust involved, that the people who are investing in these properties can realize over time, that these properties will be sustained. If this scam continues and is allowed to perpetuate itself, I assure you and the timeshare industry, the money will dry up!


What you need to do if you are a victim of a scam is contact the authorities:

  • Your local police; There’s little they can do, but it does provide an official record
  • your state attorney general’s office; Make sure to mention it is an international, multi-state scam so they can coordinate with other attorneys general
  • the FBI via IC3 (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IC3 not only collects complaints but also analyzes them, links similar complaints, and discerns patterns in order to help law enforcement identify the scammers);
  • the US  Marshals Service;
  • Interpol – United States Central Bureau; Interpol’s databases help law enforcement see the big picture of international crime. While other agencies have their own extensive crime databases, the information rarely extends beyond one nation’s borders. Interpol can track criminals and crime trends around the world. They maintain collections of fingerprints and face photos, lists of wanted persons, DNA samples and travel documents. Their lost and stolen travel document database alone contains more than 12 million records. They also analyze all these data and release information on crime trends to the member countries.
  • the Department of Justice – Office of International Affairs; and anyone else you can think of.

It isn’t likely to help you get any of your funds back, but eventually it might help obtain some sort of justice in shutting them down/getting some of them arrested.

Here are some first-person accounts for you to peruse; all of them included documents similar to those in this post, including the Cedula. Perhaps they will help you avoid being scammed!

Again: CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE ALL OF THE POSTS IN THIS BLOG ABOUT MEXICO’S TIMESHARE RESALE/ESCROW/BANK WIRE SCAMS! If any of them resemble a scenario that applies to you, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME, assume it’s a scam and walk away.

And if you still think that maybe your case is different and might be for reals, send me the details BEFORE you wire any funds to Mexico (or anywhere else) and I’ll check it out for you. Email gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

Permanent link to this article: https://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2014/12/mexico-timeshare-fraud-december-6-2014/


  1. notyetconvinced

    Same story as Mrs BW. The names here are Charles Bellini and David Williams representing Fairmont Real Estate & Equity Group in Philadelphia and Zachary Friedman of Fidelity First Escrow Services in Dallas. I thought I had checked them out. Only a mistake on my bank’s part on the wire transfer saved me and gave me a few hints where to look further.


    1. steampunk

      That’s who is got to me!!!Zachary Friedman of Fidelity First! Have noto given them any money!



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