Browse Tag

Legalidades Abogados

The Tuesday Slot from Canada

Today’s article from Canada by Patrick Cormier is about Intrawest sales practices to Club Intrawest members.  The complaint in the lawsuit concerns the immediate and extreme devaluation of points after purchase from the developer, providing little to no resale value. Diamond Resorts acquired Intrawest Resorts in 2015 and continues the practices leading to this devaluation.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160129005913/en/Diamond-Resorts-International-Completes-Acquisition-Intrawest-Resort

Diamond Resort members in the US have learned their points are virtually worthless on resale. Many Inside Timeshare readers tell us they have been told points would be easy to resell and points will increase in value. In response to one of our reader complaints, a Diamond Vice President’s response was, “We’re not responsible for anything our sales agents say.”

This is the very reason Inside Timeshare is so important and why every timeshare member needs to be an advocate, reaching out to the general public to warn the general public that timeshares official position in several companies seems to be, “We’re not responsible for anything a sales agent says.” This is indeed a green light to lie. With little to no enforcement of timeshare regulation, timeshare sales and marketing fraud continues unchecked.

https://www.citheownersgroup.org/

Following on from yesterday’s article where we identified the genuine lawyers from their photographs used by the “FAKE” Legalidades Abogados, we have now identified another three from the previous “FAKE LAW FIRM” Manuel Hidualdo Abogados article published in March, both of these are from the Litigious Abogados family of “Fake firms”.

http://insidetimeshare.com/thursday-roundup/

manuel selando hidualdo

The first is the “founder” of the firm, Manuel Selando Hidualdo, the actual person is:

Miguel Ángel Pardo Falcón

Graduado Social Diplomado (1988/1990).

Colegiado nº 924 por el C.O.G.S.S. dese 1993.

Of Bolonia Abogados based at the following address:

Avenida San Francisco Javier, 24, 9ª, 12 – Edificio Sevilla I – 41018 Sevilla

https://boloniaabogados.com/quienes-somos-en-bolonia-abogados/

francisco fralja sobanem

The second one named as Francisco Fralja Sobanem on the “fake” website is in fact a Mexican lawyer called Angel Prieto, who owns his own law practice on the Yucatan Peninsula

Av. Sunyaxchen lotes 56 y 57

Sm 24, Mz 28

Edificio Siglo XXI oficina 209

Cancún, QR

México 77509

+52 (998) 251-7010

http://www.angelprieto.com/attorneys.html

emilio derlanta cantelar

Our third identification is named as Emilio Derlanta Cantelar, but is actually a US Lawyer named David J. Winer, from the law firm Winer & Winer, based at:

Law Offices of Winer & Winer

9 N County St. #100

Waukegan, IL 60085

Tel: (847) 336-9111

Fax: (847) 336-4182

http://winerlawoffice.com/attorneys/david-winer/

Obviously these gentlemen have no idea that their images are being used for fraudulent purposes, well they will do now!

We shall be keeping an eye open for the next incarnation that they come up with, we will also identify any other photo of their so called lawyers with the genuine person.

Now on with our Tuesday article from Canada.

quebec

Quebec Superior Court Authorizes Class Action against Intrawest

Intrawest ULC owns, operates, and manages mountain and beach destination resorts in North America and Europe. The company also manages heli-skiing operations, and golf and beach resort clubs. In additions, it provides resort real estate sales and marketing services for various destinations; rental management services at various resort locations; and vacation reservation services with information on accommodations, air and ground transportation, destination, virtual tours, vacation guides, activities, entertainment, and places to dine. Further, Intrawest ULC engages in real estate development operations. Intrawest ULC was incorporated in 1979 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=361001

April 10, 2018

PATRICK CORMIER·TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018

https://www.citheownersgroup.org/class-action

On March 20th, 2018, the Superior Court of Quebec released a decision by Hon. Anne Jacob certifying a class action to proceed against Intrawest ULC. The full text of the decision is available here (available in French only). What follows is a summary of key information.

What has been authorized by the court? A lawsuit in reduction of price paid to Intrawest UCL, compensatory damages and punitive damages in relation to alleged illicit sales practice in relation to becoming a Club Intrawest member and to fees that were allegedly not disclosed at the time of purchase.

Who are the potential class members?

Potential class members are individuals that have purchased points directly from Intrawest in Quebec, with the exception of such individuals having sold their points before 2007. So, if you purchased your points from the developer in Quebec and have not sold those points before 2007, you currently stand to be eligible.

What does it mean for a class to be certified? It means that Martin Robichaud will be allowed to proceed in his suit against Intrawest as a representative of a larger class of individuals. Should he be successful, it means that the remedy obtained by him will also be available to similarly eligible class members. By certifying this class action, it means the court believed the four following conditions were met:

  1. The factual context of members is identical, similar or connected.
  2. Allegations appear to justify the remedy sought.
  3. The composition of the class would not make it practical for individual members to individually or jointly sue the defendant.
  4. The representative member (Mr Robichaud in this case) can ensure adequate representation of other members.

What are the facts underpinning this case?

Mr Robichaud’s case is in relation to the purchase of 160 points for a total price of Cdn$30,560 in 2009. At the time, Mr Robichaud (like so many of us) believed, according to the explanations offered at the time of sale, that should he wish to re-sell at a later time, he would essentially recoup his investment. There was also the purchase of 300 additional points on the secondary market also in 2009.

In 2014, five years after the initial purchase, he asked about the repurchase program. He was also informed at that time about the need to sell his points to another member with a minimal price per point failing which there would be no Extraordinary Escape (EE) privileges attached to the points sold.

The circumstances under which Mr Robichaud attempted to sell his points or have the points repurchased led him to believe the 160 points he originally purchased had been severally devalued because of undisclosed facts at the time of purchase and subsequent decisions and actions by Intrawest ULC.

What are the issues raised in this class action?

Mr Robichaud is asking the court to answer many important questions, including:

  • Has Intrawest used prohibited sales practices? Should this be the case, should Intrawest be reimbursing members or should members be entitled to a reduction in the price paid?
  • Should members be entitled to punitive damages because of their alleged breach of the Consumer Protection Act (Québec)?
  • Should members be dispensed from paying annual fees because they do not own the properties?

What is the remedy sought by this class action?

Mr Robichaud believes the points have been devalued by approx 75% because several keys facts were not disclosed to him in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act of Quebec. He also believes he should not have paid the annual fees. He therefore asks the court:

  • A 75% refund of the price paid in relation to the original purchase of 160 points from Intrawest ULC;
  • 100% of the annual fees paid to date for all points;
  • Punitive damages ($5,000).

What are the next steps of this class action?

There are a few additional minor procedural steps before the case fully proceeds. The Volunteers Coordinating Committee (VCC) will keep the Club Intrawest Owners Group (CIOG) posted as details are known to us. We have a good relationship with Mr Robichaud and are already supporting him, for example, by sharing aggregate member survey information.

What are the next steps of the VCC?

We welcome this highly sought after decision as a key milestone that will significantly influence and inform the refinement of our legal strategy. Broadly speaking, the major areas of further analysis are:

  • Assuming the case of Mr Robichaud succeeds, how could the remedy be extended to purchases of points outside of Quebec?
  • Develop a fully informed legal analysis, taking into account the Robichaud class action and its repercussions, and table options to the membership in the form of proposals at a first AGM of the future Embarc Owners Association, a new association in the process of being created by the VCC.

Stay vacationed, but stay aware!

Patrick Cormier, B.Sc., B.C.L./LL.B., CD VCC Team Leader

Related articles:  Club Intrawest v. CanadaMust Pay Millions in GST Back Taxes

Club Intrawest (Embarc)Timeshare

http://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-canada/

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151125005060/en/Diamond-Resorts-International-Acquire-Intrawest-Resort-Club

Thank you Patrick for your contribution, this does show that timeshare owners / members the world over are being subjected to some very dubious practices, we are all in this together, it is only through articles such as this will we ever see any change.

If you have any questions or comments about this or any article published, contact Inside Timeshare through our contact page.

For those readers in Europe, if you have been contacted by a law firm from Tenerife that tells you your timeshare resort / company is being taken to court and you can be in on the action, please do let us know, especially if it sounds like one of those we have been highlighting.

It is through your information that we can research and report as to the legitimacy of these companies, warning others to beware. Remember to do your homework, it will save you in the end.

homework1

Lagalidades Abogados: Update on Fake Lawyers Names

In last Friday’s Letter from America, we began with another new name in the family of “fake” law firms that started with Litigious Abogados, this one is called Legalidades Abogados.

Friday’s Letter from America

legalidades-abogados-logo

Civil Law

 

Over the weekend one of our regular readers informed Inside Timeshare that one of the photographs of the new lawyers was familiar to him, he also provided a name. On investigating the name provided it turns out the pictured lawyer is one:

Dr DR. ABELARDO ENCINAS SILVA, an eminent lawyer in Peru on Constitutional law, sitting on the CÁTEDRA DE DERECHO CONSTITUCIONAL GENERAL, (CHAIR OF GENERAL CONSTITUTIONAL LAW).

pablo-Ibernas-cavosa-legalidades-abogados-300x201
Photo from the Legalidades Website
Dr Abelardo Encinas Silva
The Genuine Dr Abelardo Encinas Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are a couple of links showing Dr Abelardo:

http://drencinascatedra.blogspot.com.es/2015/12/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n93jdSQTO80

Since finding this out Inside Timeshare has identified the other photographs that Legalidades Abogados have downloaded from the internet and posted in their website with new fictitious names.

The next one is a Chilean lawyer Gabriel Palma Cruzat is a member of Palma Abogados.

gabriel-lindeno-miraldo-203x300

http://www.elmercurio.com/legal/noticias/opinion/2018/01/09/prevencion-de-delitos-en-las-empresas.aspx?disp=1

http://www.capital.cl/capital-legal/2018/01/04/146883/el-balance-de-la-ley-de-responsabilidad-de-personas-juridicas/

As you can see from the links above he is also a prominent lawyer.

Last but by no means least we have these three lawyers all from the Law firm Bufete Rodreguez-Monsalve, with offices at the following locations:

Madrid, Valladolid and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and abroad, with offices in Miami, Warsaw, Bogota, Lima, Kiev and Moscow.

bufete660-k57C-U212994882737HpF-575x323@Norte Castilla
The genuine lawyers

Below are links to their website and a newspaper article about their new office published in El Norte de Castilla:

http://www.rodriguez-monsalve.com/es/

http://www.elnortedecastilla.es/valladolid/201703/23/resuelve-dudas-juridicas-nuevo-20170323125458.html

This leaves us in no doubt that Legalidades Abogados are truly a “fake law firm” not only forging legal court documents, illegally using official logos, but also using the photographs of some prominent lawyers.

It now makes us wonder what other lawyers have had their photographs used in this way on the other websites involved with this fraudulent outfit, Inside Timeshare will obviously now be continuing with the research and trying to identify those on the other websites. We will keep you informed.

If you have been contacted by this firm or one of those we have previously highlighted, do not take any notice of anything they say, do not pay them any money, you will only lose it. For further information contact Inside Timeshare.

watching

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, in this article by Irene Parker with a contribution from Mike Finn of Finn Law Group, we look at the Timeshare Tax Trap.

The Orlando Sentinel has also published an article about Diamond and Orange Lake Resorts sueing Mike Finn, they accuse him of using  “false and misleading” claims in his ads. The article also mentions that Mike is cited by many publications as a successful cancellation attorney who along with other groups monitor timeshare companies, they go on to name the National Timeshare Owners Association and also Inside Timeshare. Mike is a regular contributor and offers valuable insights into the law for Inside Timeshare For the full article click on the link below.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/brinkmann-on-business/os-bz-orange-lake-timeshare-finn-20180404-story.html

But first a new warning from Europe, one of our long standing regulars has been contacted by a new “law Firm”, yes you guessed it, another new name in the Litigious Abogados family from Tenerife.

legalidades-abogados-logo

The new name is Legalidades Abogados, using the same address we have seen before:

4, Calle de S. Francisco, Santa Cruz, 38002, Tenerife

Freephone: 0800 862 0995

Tenerife Tel: 0034 822 250 502

email: [email protected]

email: [email protected]

Once again the address is genuine and shows 2 lawyers plaques on the wall, neither are this one. The email addresses are also not linked to the website, but are ones you can register for free at consultant.com.

According to their website http://legalidades-abogados.com/ they were founded by  Alberto Kalimro Galvera, on Monday 19th July 1990. Again this date in 1990 was actually a Thursday, so once again not very much attention to detail there. They also still insist they have over 15 years presence on the internet, not bad since the website was only registered on 15 March 2018 with the registrant hidden by a privacy company.

After the initial call they send an email which is signed by Angelica Imolintos Lesterno from Departmento Legal. Also attached is a letter of 3 pages with many official looking logos, it is signed by another new name Pablo Ibernas Cavosa.

Here are the new lawyers names and photos, once again probably downloaded from the internet, without the knowledge of the actual persons.

alberto-kalimro-galvera  luciano-emanca-domeras  pedro-arenolde-verandel  gabriel-lindeno-miraldo-203x300  pablo-Ibernas-cavosa-legalidades-abogados-300x201

From left to right: Alberto Kalimro GalverLuciano Emanca DomerasPedro Arenolde VerandelPablo Ibernas Cavosa.

 

In this long winded letter, they go on to say that it is a “no win no fee” arrangement, but as we know from past experience the next stage will be a fee is required for the Procurador. After this there will be a fee to pay “tax” to release the money from the court.

Once again we remind you to be very wary on companies that make these wonderful claims, especially with a “no win no fee” arrangement. Do your homework, you know it makes sense.

Now for this week’s Letter from America.

The Timeshare Tax Trap – A 1099 Loan Forgiveness Tax Liability

$170,000 Diamond Timeshare Points Purchased for no Reason

Timeshare Attorney Mike Finn, a former C.P.A., weighs in

Tax Time

By Irene Parker

April 6, 2018

Two Inside Timeshare readers contacted us alarmed, because they received an IRS 1099 form, informing them of a timeshare tax liability. For one family, this meant possibly an additional $170,000 in income. This would have been bad enough, but the already Platinum Diamond Resort member said they purchased the points to participate in a program that did not exist.

Timeshare members have learned there is little to no timeshare enforcement of timeshare regulations in some states, so by relying on the oral representation clause, timeshare sales agents are allowed to say anything to sell vacation points. The Nevada Real Estate Division has routinely replied to timeshare buyers, “You have no proof,” according to member reports. Today’s family is one of eleven families complaining about the same sales Las Vegas sales agent.

A reminder no one should pay upfront money without checking with us or one of the advocacy self-help Facebooks and websites listed below. Lack of a secondary market for timeshare points gives rise to a flourishing community of scam artists.

This former Diamond member says DRI sales agent Rick Casper, working out of Polo Towers in Las Vegas, told him to buy more Diamond vacation points to eliminate maintenance fees. He and his wife wanted to talk to someone at DRI because they were struggling to pay maintenance fees on the 50,000 DRI points they already owned. This member is a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran, having been exposed to Agent Orange. The former member did not contact us to complain about Diamond Resorts. He wanted to know if there was anything that could be done about the 1099. I did ask why he purchased additional timeshare points from Rick Casper, given Inside Timeshare has received 11 identical complaints about the same Las Vegas sales agent over an 18 month period.    

In 2016 we went to Las Vegas and stayed at Diamond’s Cancun resort and met with Rick Casper. Mr. Casper said if we upgraded, we would be able to cover maintenance fees. However, maintenance fees increased after the upgrade to $16,000 a year. After five hours, my blood sugar was at 400. I was recovering from congestive heart failure. Rick Casper said it would cost us $198,000, $2500 a month in payments for the next 10 years but after ten years we would have no maintenance fees and no loan payment. Rick Casper said, “Then the little people will be paying for your vacation.” He said it would take a year to a year and a half to set up but he would personally handle it. He said since we were only paying $3, he had a guy that could sell points for much more than that and the proceeds would pay for the maintenance fees. I ended up paying a company in Branson MO $1500 to get out of this; but now the IRS has issued us a 1099 which has to be claimed as income. It’s for around $170,000. I’m now 71 years old. I would have been better off foreclosing.

Inside Timeshare has heard from 114 Diamond Resorts members since January 1. By publishing these accounts we hope to inform new timeshare buyers, and existing members upgrading, that the timeshare contract is perpetual, maintenance fees increase, and in most cases there is little or no secondary market.

Buyer Beware Active Duty military and law enforcements are especially affected by a bad timeshare purchase. We are assisting seven in fear of losing their Security Clearance. The ages and branch of military service of the 11 Rick Casper customers, who report being financially devastated as a result of their Polo Tower purchase, include:

  1. Age 69, Army, retired, 21 years
  2. Age 70, 100% disabled, Army, Agent Orange
  3. Age 68, Coast Guard veteran
  4. A stage 4 cancer patient, age 40s
  5. Age 60
  6. Age 69, Gulf War veteran, on 25 meds
  7. Age 61
  8. Age 66
  9. Age 56
  10. Mary Pfeifer, age 72, new complaint not unresolved
  11. Denise Hodgkins, age 56, new complaint, unresolved

I asked my CPA about the 1099. She said they would have referred the tax filer to a tax attorney, so the problem is not that simple. As usual, we went to timeshare attorney Mike Finn of the Finn Law Group. Mike provided an article about this important topic on his Learning Center.

https://www.finnlawgroup.com/learning-center/tax-time-contract-cancellation-timeshare-developer

An excerpt from Mike’s article:

Loan forgiveness

The 1099 form is referencing a large amount which may very well be taxable income! Unlike a mortgage balance forgiven, which would have been spread out over the life of the loan, this possibly taxable sum has been reported to the IRS in one lump sum! Say the amount reported is about $25,000. Say further that your tax bracket is 20%. Your new added tax bill is $5,000, and it’s due April 15th!

So, does this tax form receipt mean that the recipient is stuck with the tax bill for the so-called income? Well, possibly.

Consult with a tax professional before you assume that your receipt of a 1099 form from a timeshare developer automatically means you’re staring down significant tax liability. Understand we are not providing tax advice, merely a possible position that we believe is quite tenable and worth exploring with your own tax advisor. Although it’s accurate for me to state that I was a Certified Public Accountant, it is much more important to note that my C.P.A. licensure has long ago lapsed (because I didn’t choose to keep up with the annual professional education courses necessary to retain my certification). Please take your tax preparation advice solely from your own qualified tax return preparer.

Every tax filer is unique, with differing facts and circumstances. I am not offering, nor should you interpret my comments, as tax advice.

Historically, over the past half dozen years or so, hundreds and hundreds of Finn Law Group clients have received IRS 1099 forms, both 1099A’s and 1099C’s.  The receipt of these forms creates confusion.

I point you to IRS form #982. This is the form that the IRS advises should be filed along with the income tax return itself as a form of supporting schedule, which provides notification to the IRS that the amount presented to them via a 1099 is being acknowledged, but further, that the amount listed should be excluded from the taxpayer’s gross income. The myriad of possible reasons provided on the 982 Form are in and of themselves confusing and difficult to understand. I’m therefore providing my readers what I suggest may be appropriate reasoning in concluding that, in many cases, there should be no “income tax penalty” imposed after successfully negotiating a release of contract with your timeshare resort.

Allow me to provide my argument as to why some forms of debt forgiveness may well be construed as taxable income, and then differentiate the negotiated act of cancelling a timeshare contract and why this transaction therefore logically should be treated differently.

Since “income” generally means a measure of accretion of wealth or value added to your worth, then the cancellation of a debt, when that debt was incurred when you received something of value, should be counted as income because the elimination of the debt liability plus the retention of the item acquired when the debt was incurred increases your net worth. Under this definition of added wealth, the taxing of same would be quite logical.

Applying this argument to the cancellation of a timeshare contractual obligation and its related underlying indebtedness, it’s immediately evident that the cancelled owner has retained absolutely nothing of value. They’ve surrendered their interest in exchange for a debt and/or contract cancellation, but after the transaction they have absolutely no accretion of net worth.

Indeed, they’ve lost anything previously paid on an ‘asset’ they no longer own, so any argument that they’ve achieved and retained income or anything of value because of the contract cancellation is simply not accurate.

In terms of taxpayer reporting requirements, the issue becomes murkier when you apply it to timeshare transactions. Whether or not the industry will ever acknowledge that the resale value of a timeshare interest is minimal at best, what we can establish is that it would be extremely unusual for anyone other than the resort developer to acquire the timeshare interest at foreclosure, and therefore the liquidated basis of the interest will nearly always be zero, or at best a nominal value at foreclosure. Also making the timeshare transaction more complex in terms of following the instructions of either IRS form 982 and/or publication 4681 relating to this issue is determining whether the underlying debt should be viewed as “recourse” or “non-recourse,” given the propensity of the developers to utilize non-recourse based non-judicial foreclosures to recover the interest the greatest majority of the time.

I’ve attempted to avoid becoming overly technical in terms of specifically advising of taxpayer reporting other than to suggest very generally that the filing of the IRS form 982 will most probably be required. Lastly, I do strongly recommend utilizing a professional tax return preparer, as these forms are not at all intuitive.

I earnestly wish that I could offer something less complex to help provide absolute answers to this prominent issue, but I do feel that this is important because the financial ramifications are potentially high.

Respectfully provided,

Michael D. Finn, Esq.

Michael-D-Finn2

Thank you, Mike, for the timeshare accounting lesson. One question I had is,

What is the difference between a 1099 A and a 1099 C?

http://www.koontzassociates.com/pages/know-the-difference-between-a-1099-a-and-1099-c/

Contact Inside Timeshare or one of these self-help groups if you have a timeshare nightmare. We know there are many that use and enjoy their timeshare, some having not faced a need to sell it, or were lucky to purchase from a sales agent that sold the product as the product is intended.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/465692163568779/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Deceptive

Elder Abuse:

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/elder-fraud-charges-announced

All of the schemes have one goal: to trick and deceive senior citizens into turning over their hard-earned savings. Last year, the FBI opened more than 200 financial crime cases that involved elderly victims, Bowdich said. The investigations covered a range of crimes, from investment frauds to reverse mortgage scams.

Thank you Irene for this weeks article and also a very big thank you to Mike Finn for his contribution.

Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments on this or any article published, also if you need any information about your ownership or any company that has contacted you or you are thinking of doing business with, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Friday is upon us the weekend beckons, we hope you have a great and relaxing one. See you next week.

weekend 1