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Mexico Timeshare FRAUD: March 14, 2015

scam warning >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

ALL OVER MEXICO: brazen [brey-zuhn]
adjective:
acting or done in a very open and shocking way without shame or embarrassment;
marked by contemptuous boldness

Here’s an email I received recently:

De: xxxxx xxxxx [mailto:xbxbxbxb@hotmail.com]
Enviado el: lunes, 09 de marzo de 2015 12:42 p.m.
Para: ‘Gatekeeper’
Asunto: RV: Proceso Legal Incumplimiento de Contrato/I NEED AGAIN YOU HELP ABOUT 111CMC
Importancia: Alta
Hello again … would again ask for your invaluable help in knowing how true is this beginning of the legal process that have sent us the day Friday. It is a letter proposing a mutual agreement.

Johnson Gonzalez Brooks - fraudulent attorney firm in SeattleCheck out this document, sent to the writer of the above email, who is one of the victims of the 111 Capital Management Corporation resale scam (aka Capital Management Corporation, aka CMC). It purports to be from the law firm Johnson Gonzalez Brooks at 772 Virginia St., Seattle, WA, and its purpose is to tell the victim that he is in breach of contract and set him up for the sending of funds to settle that breach. Besides the obvious fact that 111 Capital is a known scam, what else is wrong with that picture?

  1. There is no law firm in Seattle, WA named Johnson Gonazalez Brooks. It is fake. No existe!
  2. There are no attorneys registered with the Washington State Bar Association named Lois Johnson, Ignacio Gonzalez or Steve Brooks. Those attorneys are fake, they don’t exist. No existen!
  3. There is no such address as 772 Virginia Street in the city of Seattle. It is a fake address. No existe!
  4. On their website they say they have been in practice for 30 years, but since they don’t exist we know that is a lie. Also, their website was only registered in Sept. 2014!

In short: Esta empresa y esta gente NO EXISTE! Son mentirosos!

So a fake law firm threatens you with fake legal action for not following through with a fake timeshare resale/rental scheme. It’s breathtaking in its audacity! bandido

Now then, I’ve been hearing a lot from victims of the grifters running the various timeshare transfer companies I’ve talked about recently. The stories don’t vary much from this explanation I recently received:

You agree to sell/transfer timeshare(s) you currently own in order to be able to afford a new timeshare. To do that the new timeshare resort sales team agrees to “reduce” the price by a large amount if you sign a contract with some transfer company, such as “Timeshare Equity Services” (TES) or Equity Acquisition Services (there are many others as well) as their agent to transfer the title. By this point in the presentation most folks are tired and in a rush of signing papers and don’t really pay much attention to the details of that secondary contract, which the scammers count on. So most likely you’ll head off down the road thinking that the title transfer is being taken care of.

Then you start getting communications from the transfer company, generally claiming you are contractually obligated to pay various fees in order to process the title transfer to them, and you belatedly discover that you did indeed at least initial a statement agreeing to pay certain fees within X number of days after their agent contacts you. The company also wants you to sign a “Limited Power of Attorney” plus an “Offer of Renouncement and Waiving of Rights in Timeshares” plus of course a credit card authorization. And of course, they are looking for evidence of ownership and debt-free status.

What happens next can go any of several ways. Most commonly the company will work to get those fees and the paperwork from you and if that happens they might actually transfer your timeshare title — but probably not into the company’s name. IF a transfer takes place most often it is placed into a shell company with no assets (aka a “viking ship”) or into the name of a straw buyer who is paid a nominal sum for the use of his/her name but who will never pay a maintenance fee or have anything else to do with the timeshare.

Sometimes the timeshares are dumped into the resale market by the dozens, put up for sale on eBay for instance for $1.00.

Most often though title is never transferred in the first place. The company will hold on to the titles (hundreds of them at any given time, including yours) for a period of no more than 90 to 120 days then call you back to your timeshare(s) back to you again EVEN THOUGH YOU STILL OWN IT!

If you balk at the transfer option, with its attendant fees, they’ll take another track — Option B. With Option B you will be “allowed” to keep your timeshare if you pay 10% (more or less) of what they say your timeshare is worth. And if you balk at that, too, they will likely threaten you with a lawsuit for breach of contract. Word is that around 95% of their victims choose Option B just to be done with it all, ending up with their original timeshare(s) as well as the new one they just purchased.

That’s the basics of how it works, according to that source. You see they are not really interested in processing a transfer, but instead want to trick or blackmail you to pay them so you can “keep” what you own. The question I hear the most is “Are we legally obligated to process the ownership transfer?

Well, it’s a kind of trap isn’t it? The thing that always pops out most strongly to me is the notion that in order to “cancel” the transfer of your timeshare you must pay to keep it. You already own it, no transfer has been made, yet they charge you to “sell it back to you”.

Note that under Mexican law you have 5 business days to cancel ANY purchase or service and if you do not cancel within that period of time you still have that option indefinitely IF YOU WERE DEFRAUDED, aka the victim of a scam. A complaint to PROFECO and Mexico’s Attorney General (PGR) can start the ball rolling in such a case, and that is sometimes enough to get the scammers off your back although it doesn’t usually get you back the money you have spent. According to one victim who contacted me, the transfer scammer who took him for a ride said (brazenly), “If you knew how much money we’re making it would blow your mind!”

Having said all that, I cannot offer much in the way of serious counsel in these particular cases. You see, many of you are seeking legal advice from me which I am not qualified or licensed to dispense. If you haven’t done so you should immediately seek a consultation with a lawyer who specializes in contract law.

What I know is that generally speaking companies like the ones you are dealing with use scare tactics, etc. in an attempt to force people to send them money. Many people do send money and others don’t and stop all communications (e-mails, letters, phone etc.) immediately.

To the best of my knowledge when the owners/members refuse to send money the thieves ultimately just go away – and that is the end of it all. The ‘owners/members’ keep what was traded ‘in’ (because there never was a ‘trade-in’) and still remain owners/members AND they still own whatever new timeshare they have purchased.

But if you are concerned about what your legal status is regarding the contract you signed and whether all clauses of that contract are even enforceable you should consult with an Attorney post haste.

More information on what you can do if you’ve been scammed follows below the squiggle.

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The thieves operating these schemes may feel pretty safe because they’re doing their dirty work from a foreign country, but they’re mistaken if they think the long arm of US or Canadian or other international authorities can’t get them, given enough documentation from the victims of their scams to provide proper incentive. It took a few years to get the infamous Michael Kelly, for instance, but in the end he spent 6 of the last 7 years of his miserable life in jail. And now they’ve nabbed Keith Kosco, who will be standing trial in Virginia on 33 felony counts of various frauds and identity theft.

It can be done. 😉


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; (or the RCMP or the Office of Consumer Affairs if you’re in Canada;) 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.

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/2015/03/mexico-timeshare-fraud-march-14-2015/

1 comment

  1. Not lucky in CA

    Thank God I checked the BBB website before I sent any money! We were at the final stages of negotiations with the last step was to send the money for IVA taxes to Mexico. (Almost $7,000.00!) The person who first contacted me was JOE GONZALEZ of FAIRMOUNT REAL ESTATE & EQUITY GROUP. He then referred me to ZACHARY FRIEDMAN @ FIDELITY FIRST ESCROW SERVICES. Please be aware of this scam. It all looks legitimate with several official looking documents being faxed & emailed back and forth. I thought I had done due diligence by checking out both of their websites (they looked very professional and legit)but apparently they were fraudulent. I consider myself to be fairly intelligent but unfortunately I was almost scammed out of a lot of money! Don’t let this happen to you!




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