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PUERTO VALLARTA: This week I’m concentrating on the racket at Puerto Bahia (The Residences Luxury Club – RCI #C765), which has been mentioned many times in this blog. Why bring it up again now? Well, this brief e-mail started the ball rolling:
Can anyone shed some light on the villas at Puerto Bahia on Banderas Bay? Are they legit? Has anyone been there?
Are they legit? Well, that may depend on your definition of “legit”. If you mean does the resort exist, why yes it does and reportedly it’s pretty nice. If you mean do they sell a clean program in a reputable manner in which you receive everything they’ve verbally promised, that’s another story altogether. Puerto Bahia’s reputation is among the worst in Mexico in terms of ethics and fair dealing and they’ve earned every black mark they’ve received.
The resort’s terrible reputation dates back a few years to a particular crew operating the sales and marketing. They ran a variety of scams that were all connected to each other, though the resort denied any responsibility for any of them. Names associated with the schemes at that time include Abe Gardner, George Triggs, Joe Merante, Israel Curi, Todd Dehn and Jerry Forney among others; a veritable who’s who of known flim-flam artists in Mexico. The company names (several of which were totally fake) associated with their scams include Amerashare Annuity, Logistical Service Group, Luxury Leisure Alliance, Vacation Liquidation Management, Mercury Property Management, Timely Travel, Platinum Resort Services, Las Palmas Travel Network and a whole slew of others that they originated when they fled Mexico in 2013 to set up the same kind of schemes in Costa Rica (search “Coco Bay” or “Bahia Turquesa” in the search box at the top of the page). Those people are seasoned, successful swindlers, make no mistake about it.
Apparently in an effort to compensate for some of the negativity they are pushing the name Matlali Hotel (previously Hotel Puerto Bahia Diamante) nowadays as opposed to plain old Puerto Bahia. The property itself is listed variously online as:
- Puerto Bahia, La Cruz De Huanacaxtle
- Makawe Spa
- Puerto Bahia Villas Y Spa
- Puerto Bahia
- Matlali Hotel
- The Private Residence Luxury Club
Guess what? They’re all part of the same resort.
According to emails I’ve received the developer is refusing to honor the verbal promises made by both the former and current sales crew, and I haven’t seen any solid indication that the “new” sales/marketing crew is much better than the former one. The resort can disclaim responsibility for the “independent” sales outfit as much as they want, but the reality is that the resort/developer hired that outfit, allows them to do what they do, and IMO are responsible as hell for their actions.
If you missed it, click on this link to see a video expose of Puerto Bahia from KCAL 9 NEWS.
Information on what steps you can take if you’ve been scammed, as well as how to recognize a scam, follows below.
►►► CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE ALL OF THE POSTS IN THIS BLOG ABOUT MEXICO’S TIMESHARE RESALE/ESCROW/BANK WIRE SCAMS!
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE IN DETAIL HOW THE TELEMARKETING BOILER ROOMS IN THE PUERTO VALLARTA AREA OPERATE PLUS THE REAL NAMES OF SOME OF THE SCAMMERS!
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO LEARN HOW TO RECOGNIZE IF YOU’VE BEEN TARGETED IN A RECOVERY/REFUND SCAM ◄◄◄
►►► Keep in mind that operating a scam from within a foreign country does not make anyone safe from the long arm of the law in the USA or elsewhere. For example:
A 21-year-old Florida woman who said she dropped out of school in ninth grade admitted Monday that she defrauded about $800,000 from unsuspecting investors.
Using the stolen identity of a Credit Suisse bank official, a UPS mail drop in Fort Lauderdale and her experience as a timeshare saleswoman, Amy Brook Wilkerson admitted running the scam while living overseas in Turkey and Georgia.
See the rest at http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/crime/fl-fraud-broward-credit-suisse-20150112-story.html
But to reach that point authorities must have serious documentation that some kind of crime has indeed been committed. So take whatever evidence you may have, make your case to the proper authorities and make sure you explain that others across the country (and internationally) are doing this, too, that the scheme affects many people from all over to the tune of millions of dollars. ◄◄◄
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. Keep in mind that many of the scammers are US Citizens, Canadians and Brits; they can all be prosecuted (including Mexicans) if enough evidence is collected by authorities and if they can then be located and arrested.
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 [email protected]
“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: [email protected]