Browse Tag

Litigious Abogados

Another New Name for Litigious Abogados Family

Well here we go again, and another name to add to the family of Litigious Abogados, just a slight change from a previous one, Legalidades Abogados is now Legalidades Tenerife. The lawyer is still Alberto Kalim Ro Galvera, along with Juan Luis Lutabaris, Miguel Halcon Morato and Manuel Goletas Gitano.

The company address is one that has been used before with Legalidades Abogados:

4, Calle San Francisco, Santa Cruz, 38002, Tenerife.

Telephone number are:

Freephone: 08008021916

Tenerife: 0034 822680087

The new website is www.legalidades-tenerife.com and was registered on 16 April 2018, obviously due to the fact that Inside Timeshare has previously identified the photographs of the so-called lawyers they used on previous websites, this one does not have any photographs, the registrant is again hidden by a privacy service. But it is still a fake law firm nonetheless. .

According to the letter sent to our reader, they have lawyers legally authorised to operate in any court of law in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Malta. The growth of the company over the years has been mainly due to numerous cases against timeshare companies.

The letter also states that they are currently involved in a class action for punitive damages against Petchey Leisure Group SL and MGM SL, along with one of their directors Mr Howard Manton.

Apparently their consultants have “gleaned” enough information to lodge a claim on the clients behalf. Their lawyers have successfully lodged the clients claim with the court on Tuesday 5 June 2018, using ref number BOE-S-2018-136. The hearing has been set for Tuesday 19 June 2018 at 12.20 at the Santa Cruz Court No 5.

Well that is very quick work indeed, they obviously have a great deal of influence with the judges and the courts.

The claim amount is for 22,934€ but there is a fee that needs to be paid first, this is for the Court Procurator and is 706€ which has to be paid directly to the Procurator. In this case the Procurator is Elinabeta Yessica Elierz with the address:

Calle Abierta Numero 6, Edificio, Cerebro, 228, 38001 Santa Cruz, Tenerife. This address does not actually exist, it could not be found on google maps or any other searches.

There is no telephone number only an email:

[email protected]

The website www.elinabeta-elierz.com/ was only registered on 29 May 2018, it is not even a month old. The Registrant is also hidden by a privacy service.

The bank account the money has to be paid into by bank transfer is in the name of the Procurator and is  with La Caixa, Avenida Islas Canarias, 2, El Faile, 38632, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The number at this address is actually an apartment, although there is a bank on the corner of Avda Islas Canarias and Calle Fuerteventura, it is not a La Caixa, the bank is actually a Caja Canarias.

Bank Details Procurator

The other strange thing is the “court” document lodging the case, the defendants are: Petchey Leisure Group SL, Resort Properties SL, Silverpoint SL and Howard Manton. There is no mention of MGM SL, plus we didn’t know that Resort Properties and Silverpoint were linked to Petchey!

Fake Court Document

It is blatantly obvious that the whole scam will be just as we have seen in the past, Next week on probably Wednesday 20 June, the client will be informed that the Director Howard Manton will have pleaded guilty and the court has awarded even more than the original claim. Now the second stage of the scam will kick in, there will be taxes to be paid to release the money, then if they are true to form the third stage will come into play.

This third stage is the envelope sent to the clients with the cheque will arrive opened, the letter from the court will be there but the cheque will be missing. The client will naturally contact Legalidades informing them of the missing cheque. Days later a new company that has been “appointed” by the court will be in touch and inform them that the cheque has been cashed, it did used to be a gang of Romanians, then it changed to Ukrainians, we just wonder what gang it will be this time. Anyway this new firm will need a payment so they can reclaim the lost amount from the bank.

As we have seen in the past this is a very clever and well worked out fraud, the paperwork looks very convincing especially if you do not know what the genuine ones look like.  They are full of official looking stamps, logos of genuine official bodies and the English in the letters is actually quite good.

In the end, this is a fraud, the process of taking a case to court takes a lot longer than these guys claim, from being lodged with the court and the trial date being only 14 days is an absolute miracle!

If you have been contacted by a law firm with a similar story to this, contact Inside Timeshare, your information will help others. Unsure of who is contacting you or just needing to find out if one you have found on the internet is genuine, again use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.

Doing your homework is going to save your precious hard earned money, don’t let these crooks lead better lives than you with your cash!

Start the Week

We ended last week with the news of the 115th ruling from the Supreme Court, plus the news that judges in 3 courts at Maspalomas all made the same judgements in 4 cases against Anfi. All these were in accordance with those set down by the Supreme Court. This leaves us in no doubt that the law is very much set in stone.

Today is Memorial Day in the US, this is the equivalent of the UK’s Remembrance Sunday held in November, although some in the US may have lost sight of its meaning, lost in a sea of Memorial Day sales at auto dealers and shopping malls.   

“But at its heart, Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance for those who have died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.”

The history of Memorial Day

https://parade.com/479467/tamrabolton/memorial-day-what-the-holiday-really-means/

“This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom.”

Our favorite quote, out of 17 quotes, as it applies to our veterans helping veterans and active duty military and law enforcement, alleging they were fraudulently sold or up-sold a timeshare, best describes their efforts.

“Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.”Mary Roach

https://parade.com/670587/lindsaylowe/17-memorial-day-quotes-on-sacrifice-gratitude-and-patriotism/

Inside Timeshare has heard from over 50 veterans and active duty military and law enforcement. Decorated war heroes join Timeshare Wars, hoping the industry will acknowledge the harm done to those who have sacrificed their physical, and sometimes mental health, to protect even those who seek to do them financial harm. The consequences of predatory timeshare sales and lending can be devastating, as described by many military families reaching out to Inside Timeshare, asking for help.

   

It would seem that the “fake lawyers” AG Abogados, part of the Litigious Abogados family may have stopped cold calling, but the scam has now moved on the familiar cheques has been sent, but the envelope is open and the cheque is missing.

The same story which we reported last year, the only difference is that the gang of Romanians has now been replaced by Ukrainians!

There is now a new law firm which has been charged by the court to investigate and sort this out for the clients, Elias Elisa SA, yet another fake law firm. (See link below for the previous article).

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigious-abogados-plot-gets-thicker/

Just to remind you, the courts do not send cheques through the post to payout clients, these “firms” are all fake. With this new phase of the scam underway, it is more then likely that the website will soon be down, so we just wait and see what new name comes up. If you get a call from a “Law Firm” that tells you your timeshare company is being taken to court and you can join in the action, contact Inside Timeshare and let us know.

Inside Timeshare has also received several enquiries about a new firm that has started contacting timeshare owners, Harrison Moorcroft Litigation Limited, based at Harlow Enterprise Centre Kao Hockham Building, Edinburgh Way, Harlow, Essex, CM20 2NQ.

This company was registered on 9 October 2017 at Company House, with the registration number 11001924, so a fairly new company.

According to their website, they are not going after any timeshare company, but the banks that issued the finance agreements and the credit card companies.

https://www.harrisonmoorcroft.com/

Some parts of this post have been removed due to information which has come in since publication. It does look like they will be working in the interest of consumers.

With the proliferation of claims companies setting up it is making it very difficult for timeshare owners to know who to trust. Stick to the basic rules and remember, can they prove what they say, especially if the have only recently been registered as a company. If they claim to have links with well known law firms etc, check with them to verify the claim. We have seen too many companies claim they are working closely with known lawyers and companies, only to find out it is a fabrication. ,

If you are unsure on how to make any checks, then contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction. Remember do you homework and stay safe.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this weeks Letter from America, in this article which replaces the one scheduled, which we pulled once again at the last minute due to a very good response from the timeshare company, Irene Parker explains how US timeshare owners can file a complaint.

In Europe, Spain leads the way in protecting consumers of timeshare, we do understand that in the US, each state is responsible for their own laws, there seem to be no federal laws which govern the sale of timeshare. Europe has tried to unify how timeshare is sold, the unfortunate thing is that in many states the industry (with their large corporate law firms) have held sway.

Spain, which was one of the main areas where timeshare resorts were being developed, has suffered from the bad press associated with the industry. People being hijacked on the street while on holiday, bundled into taxis to endure hours of hard sell by unscrupulous sales agents. Although the blame must be on the sales and marketing companies,who paid only on results, commission only. Many start out okay, but the pressure to produce is enormous and an agent can be forced out by being given poor quality “ups” if they don’t produce.

The European Union developed a series of timeshare directives which each member state had to enact into domestic law, many have watered them down, Spain on the other hand decided that they needed to be strengthened and enacted Law 42/98.

This law came into force in January 1999, since then it has been strengthened by Law 4/12 along with the many Supreme Court rulings.

This now gives consumers more protection, no deposits within a 14 day cooling off period, no contract longer than 50 years, no points or floating weeks systems, with many other safeguards.

There are other laws which protect the consumer which are being used in the many cases coming before the courts, these include the civil consumer laws, mercantile law and by no means least, criminal law.

The way consumers are enticed to attend presentations has also been looked into, OPC’s are now regulated and licensed, unlike before. Infringements of the regulations can result in very severe penalties.

Timeshare in Europe has a very bad reputation because of the past, the original concept cannot be faulted, it is the greed around the sales that is to blame. We know this to be true due to the closing of many sales decks, with many of the sales agents now working for the “bogus” law firms and claims companies that are springing up on an almost daily basis.

Inside Timeshare is doing what it can to warn consumers of these companies, but as soon as we identify one there is another to replace it. Litigious Abogados is a great case in point, changing names every few months but the “scam” is the same.

It is only through the help of our readers that many of them are identified, as owners / members working together we will be able to protect the timeshare community.Now for this weeks Letter from America.

How to File a Timeshare Complaint (May 2018 revision)

Start with the Attorneys General Office

Timeshare Advocacy Group™

May 18, 2018

By Irene Parker

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. Rosa Parks

Inside Timeshare received 425 US timeshare complaints as of May 16, 2018 (238 was the number of complaints reported as of our last revision 12/15/17). An escalation in the criminal nature of member allegations, especially those voiced by 45 active duty and retired military and law enforcement, led us to the FBI (9 members of the military/law enforcement reported allegations of timeshare fraud as of 12/15). Some fear they could lose their Security Clearances due to a foreclosure on their record. Active duty military feel this is a threat to our national security as just about anyone can get hired to sell timeshare points.

Members need to be especially vigilant about “Get you out of your timeshare” firms because many are scams. Timeshare Advocacy Group™ (TAG) has a scam research team formed by members who have themselves been scammed. Contact Inside Timeshare or one of the self-help groups listed below if you are contacted by someone you don’t know offering to help you get out of a timeshare.

This US Department of Justice timeshare scam report details the extent of the problem. Based on 425 complaints, our advocates feel the front of the timeshare sale contains a comparable level of criminal activity.  

https://search.justice.gov/search?query=timeshare+scam+report&op=Search&affiliate=justice  

Timeshare developers created the criminal cottage industry of transfer and exit scams by overreliance on the oral representation clause, iron clad developer based contracts, the lack of an adequate secondary market, and ingrained deception run amuck, according to reported complaints. The vast majority of our readers are highly professional, educated citizens with credit scores around 800 who have rarely been late paying a bill. Identical complaints, directed against the same sales agent, sometimes in cooperation with a manager or vice president, can establish a pattern of complaints.

It is one thing to say I am a sinner, but let someone else say that about me and then I feel it – I am up in arms. If I am falsely accused I may suffer, whereas if correction be found on even a small reality – something in me having deserved it – then often that hurts more. We must be happy that our faults are known as they are. Mother Teresa

With no way out if the timeshare company refuses to even acknowledge the deception, hiring a lawyer or foreclosure were the only options until real consumer advocates formed Timeshare Advocacy Group™ – bridging the gap between the developer and the member harmed. At times it felt like turning the Titanic, but closing gaps on social issues never comes easy and some causes take longer than a lifetime. Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus at great peril to her safety, but Rosa reached a decision that enough was enough and action was needed. It was a small action, but one that led to great changes. Educator and activist Parker Palmer explains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK0dXNK94BM

Almost all members have reported their timeshare company responded to their allegations of deceit with, “Sorry, you signed a contract” or “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say.” This knee jerk dismissal is backed up by some Attorneys General, via their timeshare divisions, responding the same. Unscrupulous timeshare sales agents realize this of course, so the hamster wheel of recycled inventory never ceases beginning with “It’s not a sales presentation.” If there is still truth in advertising, change needs to begin there.   

According to the FBI and to lawyers consulted, it is not legal to hide behind fine print, but it takes volumes of complaints to raise a regulator’s eyebrow. The Federal Trade Commission released its summary report of 2017 complaints listing travel, vacation, and timeshare as one of the most costly frauds at $1,710, although complaints we have received from members range from $25,000 to $400,000 or more. We wish members were only losing $1,710.   

Travel, vacation, and timeshare frauds were the most costly with people losing a median amount of $1,710. The FTC also broke out fraud losses for members of the military and found their median fraud loss to be 44 percent higher than the general population.

https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/opinion/columnists/2018/04/06/ftc-releases-2017-complaint-statistics/493425002/

According to the FBI,

White-collar crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence. The motivation behind these crimes is financial—to obtain or avoid losing money, property, or services or to secure a personal or business advantage. These are not victimless crimes. A single scam can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars (or even all three).

Mortgage fraud is a subcategory of financial institution fraud known as “fraud for profit”:

Fraud for profit: Those who commit this type of mortgage fraud are often industry insiders using their specialized knowledge or authority to commit or facilitate the fraud. Current investigations and widespread reporting indicate a high percentage of mortgage fraud involves collusion by industry insiders, such as bank officers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, attorneys, loan originators, and other professionals engaged in the industry. Fraud for profit aims not to secure housing, but rather to misuse the mortgage lending process to steal cash and equity from lenders or homeowners. The FBI prioritizes fraud for profit cases.

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime

The FBI has advised our members, if the allegation involves credit card fraud, the member should also file a complaint with the Secret Service.

https://ask.metafilter.com/81136/Should-I-call-the-Secret-Service-over-credit-card-fraud

The two most common complaints reported:

  • The agent said I could easily sell my points
  • They said I could pay maintenance fees by charging purchases to a credit card, neglecting to add only about 1% of each purchase is credited to maintenance fees. Some fell for bogus maintenance fee relief programs. Already struggling, they buy more points.

How Advocacy Works

Timeshare Advocacy Group™ is organized into seven teams:

  1. Team 1 is our Reporting Team. Once the timeshare member has related their concern or grievance, the member submits their written complaint to the timeshare company. If ignored or the member receives a negative response, the complaint is forward to one of six advocates assigned to a specific regulatory or law enforcement agency. For example, Sheilah Brust is our go to person for the FBI and the Secret Service. http://insidetimeshare.com/tuesday-slot-irene-4/
  2. Team 2 is our Legislative Team. Members on this team reach out to sympathetic lawmakers to advocate for better disclosure. It would be nice to know that the timeshare you just bought for $100,000 had little or no secondary market the moment you signed the contract. TAG has received an alarming number of complaints from seniors 75 to 85 who have signed timeshare contracts for $100,000 or more. Not one of the 425 members reaching out to Inside Timeshare realized their timeshare in all likelihood could not be sold, even when costing as much as a house.
  3. Team 3 is our Military Team. We encourage anyone who has resolved their timeshare complaint as a result of our efforts to make a donation to Whistleblowers of America. WOA is a non-profit that seeks justice for active duty and veteran members of the military and government workers. WOA has supported our efforts by helping to distribute our articles. Our timeshare fraud report was presented as part of a Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs March 14, 2018.  https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/
  4.  Team 4 is our foreclosure support group. Facing cruel and relentless debt collection calls can be an overwhelming experience for anyone who has rarely been late on a bill, but for those who have recently lost a spouse the experience is devastating. Some members of this team have been through this and are determined to stay involved to fight Elder Fraud especially.
  5. Team 5 is our Scam Research team. This team consists of members who themselves have been scammed. There is a very dark side to this illegal industry. We are careful in our approach.
  6. Team 6 is our Media Team. Given state regulators backing up the timeshare company by responding, “You should not have relied on verbal representation” or “You have no proof” the Court of Public Opinion and Outcry is the only court open in some states.
  7. Team 7 is our Technology team.  We have a support staff of volunteers to assist those without access to a computer due to age, illness or disability. This team also provides YouTube production support.

Contact Inside Timeshare or email Irene Parker at [email protected] or call 270-303-7572 EST if you are interested in becoming a volunteer. Feel free to call any day of the week from 1:00 to 5:00 PM EST. It’s best to schedule a call. All calls and emails are returned within 24/48 hours.

Now it’s time to begin filling out the form. Before you begin, raise your right hand.

Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? It is important to present your information factually and without opinion or inflammatory language.

Our advocates are not attorneys and we do not provide legal advice. We have researched regulatory agencies and are here to direct consumers to the appropriate regulatory and law enforcement agencies listed below. We have also developed media relationships and will continue to work with broadcast and print media to alert the general public as to what questions to ask before buying a timeshare. Life events can change your life in an instant or a day. If your timeshare provides no secondary market, it can make a member feel a hostage to their vacation plan. It’s a good idea to contact a member of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association to find out whether your timeshare has a secondary market. http://www.licensedtimeshareresalebrokers.org/

How to File a Timeshare Complaint

Name (s) and age of member

Phone Number

State of Residence

Member Number

For each contract in dispute:

Where Purchased and Date of Purchase

Number of Points Purchased

Sales Agent and Sales Agent ID# (if available)

Purchase Price

Amount Financed and Interest Rate

Current Loan Balance

Loan Number

Current Maintenance Fees

Name of Credit Card if one was used

What do you want? Do you seek Refund or Relinquishment?

Why? Is it due to Deception, Health, Age or Financial Burden?

If your investment is $40,000 or less and you owned and used your timeshare for ten years or more consider relinquishment. There can be no loan outstanding and maintenance fees need to be current.

Complaints expressing dissatisfaction with general availability will go unheeded as will a request based on not being able to afford the timeshare. You can’t go to your home mortgage lender and say you can’t afford it. The difference is you can sell your home. Your complaint should be filed with the FBI only if there are credible and serious allegations of deceit and bait and switch. If you feel you were deceived, list the reasons why.   

MOST IMPORTANT – Purchase Timeline

It is better to state your narrative as a narrative referring back to the contracts and figures at the top of your complaint. Begin with when you first became involved with the company and proceed chronologically. Keep your history brief up to the point when things began to go wrong.

After you complete your complaint, email it to the appropriate resort department or to TAG if you need help with your complaint. Expect to be denied. Typically your resort reviewer will restate your concerns, produce your initials and signatures, point out the oral representation clause and inform you, “If something was important to you, you should have asked for it to be put in the contract.” File a rebuttal if you disagree with their response.

Depending on the seriousness of your complaint, your advocate may forward your complaint to the firm’s public relations office or firm and to ARDA, the timeshare industries PAC, for violating ARDA’s Code of Ethics. ARDA’s Code of Ethics can be found on ARDA’s website.

We do not recommend owners make the voluntary opt in or opt out ARDA ROC contribution on your maintenance fee invoice. It is the opinion of our advocates that although ARDA lobbies for the industry and for timeshare members, when the issue at stake is one that is at odds with members, members lose because they have no voice. We also forward your complaint to the Association of Vacation Owners. AVO has been tracking our complaints for research purposes. http://insidetimeshare.com/the-tuesday-slot-with-irene-3/

Mark your email to the resort urgent if you are in financial distress. It is best to file a complaint before the debt collectors are hounding. The member will report back to us if the issue is resolved. Due to the required non-disclosure or mutual release form, terms and conditions will not be discussed.

The FBI complaint website is called IC3.gov which stands for Internet Crime. This is a bit confusing. IC is the name of the portal. That doesn’t mean it has to be an internet crime. We think they should have a white collar crime option to avoid this confusion. Click IC3 as your choice when filing. https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

Serious allegations of fraud should be reported orally by calling the FBI field office’s public access line available 24/7 (see Sheilah’s article). Sometimes your local field office will pay closer attention than say Las Vegas, where losing money is a tourist attraction. You can find your nearest field office from this website.

https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices

The next step is to file a complaint first with the Attorneys General of the state where you signed your contract and where you live. It can take a month or more to hear back from an AG but once your complaint has been accepted, debt collectors are not allowed to call. You can find any Attorney General by searching the state name and Attorney General.

If there was an unauthorized credit card charge or account opened or you feel you were deceived into signing off on a loan, you should file with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the mortgage option (even if no mortgage) and select the bank that financed your loan or issued a credit card. This is the organization that helped Wells Fargo victims. The CFPB lost power after the roll back of the Dodd Frank act March 2018. The Dodd Frank act was enacted after the abuses caused by subprime lending. The CFPB is still considered a regulator. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/

You should file a complaint with the state Real Estate Division in the state where the agent is licensed if your complaint is against a sales agent. Your advocate can help you find the agent’s ID number. Timeshare sales agents are real estate licensed in most states.

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The company’s BBB rating can be misleading in that the BBB only rates how efficiently a company responds to complaints. Sometimes the BBB allows you to log in and file a rebuttal.  

Most important, consider reaching out to local or national media. Reporters look for content and are surprisingly easy to reach. Write an article about your experience. The more people who come forward, the more the public is made aware of timeshare black holes before engaging in a timeshare sales presentation.

Summary of Regulatory and Law Enforcement Agencies

  • The FBI at IC3.gov portal if you feel you were deceived by a bait and switch. For allegations of a serious nature also contact an FBI field office to file an oral tip. Have your facts and figures ready.
  • Attorneys General where you signed your contract. Most AG complaints can be filed online.
  • The Real Estate Division of the state where the agent is licensed if your complaint is against the agent.  
  • The media – the court of public opinion is often the only court available. Inside Timeshare, published in Spain, publishes timeshare articles online focusing primarily on the need for reform and oversight.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the mortgage option selecting the bank involved. Timeshare has dodged this regulatory bullet because most members don’t even know the identity of the lender as the timeshare company often services the loan. Timeshare companies are not an option from the CFPB’s drop-down menu.
  • The Federal Trade Commission
  • The Better Business Bureau
  • Lawmakers – The problem is the timeshare buyer typically does not buy in their state of residence which is why lawmakers don’t seem to take timeshare seriously. Still, any effort to contact lawmakers is encouraged.

If this sounds like work, it is, but you can file with some, all, or none of the agencies. We have a team of advocates who can answer questions and help guide you through the process. We feel “Action and Advocacy” is the way to change questionable timeshare business practices.  

If you are granted a positive outcome, you may not say or write anything disparaging about the resort, but there is no harm in staying involved by referring timeshare members who need help to Inside Timeshare or to one of the self-help groups listed below we know are not industry influenced.   

Who We Are and Why We Do This

Timeshare members contacting us are often struggling with maintenance fees and high interest rate loans. Venting on complaint sites has no effect whatsoever but an organized campaign to track complaints and report criminal activity has already born fruit in the form of Attorneys General settlements and a greater awareness.

If all else fails, we will refer to an attorney if the member can afford one. If you are forced into foreclosure, but have an otherwise unblemished credit report, you can write to the credit reporting agencies in an effort to explain why you were deceived and why you were not able to resolve your dispute.

I worked three years as a CASA supervisor, writing and editing court reports for Family Court on behalf of foster children. I find two commonalities between children of abuse, neglect or dependency and deceptive timeshare sales.

  1. The abnormal becomes the normal. After receiving 425 complaints, I fear deception is endorsed and encouraged by some timeshare companies. Of course not all sales agents are dishonest. Inside Timeshare endorses Disney Vacation Club because of their scarcity of complaints.
  2. Victims are silenced and isolated via non-disclosure agreements and arbitration. Buyers should opt out of arbitration immediately after signing a contract.   

There are many who use and enjoy their timeshare. My husband and I owned three timeshares for 25 years with no problems or complaints. After we attended a pathetically aggressive sales presentation in 2015, I began researching the industry, writing articles and assisting timeshare victims. My solo effort has grown to a network of 44 Advocates. We are not compensated. We are volunteers. We hope there will come a day our advocacy group is not needed.

Self-help groups seek to provide members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.

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

http://tug2.net/

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

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

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

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

May 18, 2018 Irene Parker Timeshare Advocacy GroupTM

 

That’s it for this week, the weekend once again beckons so join us again next week for more news and information on the world of timeshare.

Latest news just in from the Court of First Instance Number 3 Abona Tenerife.

The judge in a case against Diamond Resorts Tenerife Sales SL, has declared the clients contract null and void. The infringments are the points system which has been made illegal, the contract in perpetuity, when the law stipulates that it should be for a maximum of 50 years and the taking of deposits within the cooling of period, which is also illegal even by a third party.

The client will now receive a total of £44,790 which includes double the deposit illegally taken, the court also awarded legal interest.

The laws in Spain have been put into place and strengthened by the Supreme Court to protect consumers, they are having a profound affect on the industry, which for too long believed it was untouchable.

More Photographs Identified

This week Inside Timeshare has been highlighting the “Fake Law Firms” which are part of the Litigious Abogados Family, today we publish more identities of the genuine people whose images have been used.

amador-ganeca-logo

We start with Amador Ganeca Abogados, when you enter the website the first photo you see is of the “founder” called Amador Ganeca, this gentleman is in fact the founder of Yáñez & Asociados Abogados, Álvaro Yáñez.

This law firm is based in Bogotá, Columbia, it has been in existence for 35 years.

amador-ganeca-fw

http://www.yanezabogados.com/en/firm/

There are another four “lawyers” pictured, so far only one has not been identified, the first is known as Simone Maengas Arlovaz, very similar to the name used for the image of Joshua Valentine in yesterday’s article, Simono Maenga Arlovas, from Amador Galeca Abogados.

The actual person is Alejandro Aparicio Ferrer, of the Valencia based firm Aparicio Consulting Juridico – Económico.

simone-maengas-arlovaz-wm

We then have Balthazar Hermid Nisbemas, again a very similar name Balthather Hirmod Nisbelam, from the same Amador Galeca website identified as the Australian lawyer Steve Cardell.

The actual person is Diego Muñoz one of the founding partners in the Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados, from Bogotá, Columbia. He is also President of the Colombian Legal Services Chamber of the ANDI Association, so another very eminent person whose image has been used illegally.

balthazar-hermid-nisbemas-wm

The last one from this “fake firm” is Domingo Varlotes Biriendel, whose is actually  Dr. Augusto Arbaiza Perito Grafotécnico Abogado – Criminalista, a distinguished lawyer in Peru’s Capital Lima. The original photograph was probably lifted from the website below.

domingo-varlotes-biriendel-wm

http://www.arbaizaabogados.com/

We now move to Amador Gareca Abogados, this website is no longer accessible, which is not surprising as we did highlight this “firm” in June 2017.

http://insidetimeshare.com/litigipus-abogados-family-gets-bigger/

The image and name used for the founder of this “firm” is Armando Garcia, none other than the above named Álvaro Yáñez, of Amador Ganeca Abogados.

The next image is named as Agustin Bigote Pringata, it is in fact the Azerbijan Ambassador to Argentina Rashad Aslanov, the photo is actually doctored from the official photo of him presenting his credentials to the Argentinian President Mauricio Macri.

armando-gareca-abogados-agustin-bigote-pringata  Argentina President

https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/2735370.html

Once again the same image used on the Amador Ganeca website for Simone Maengas Arlovaz, is named here as Domingo Barlotes Miriendel, who is Alejandro Aparicio Ferrer, of the Valencia based firm Aparicio Consulting Juridico – Económico.

http://aparicioconsulting.es/en/equipo/alejandro-aparicio-ferrer

The last is named as Juan Firmid Mantadiz, but again the same image is used on the Amador Ganeca website, using the alias Balthazar Hermid Nisbemas, it is once again Diego Muñoz.

As you can see, the creators of these “fake firms” have been very creative with choice of names and the careful use of images, using ones which look distinguished and trustworthy. Obviously a lot of effort went into searching for the images, but this really does go to show how you cannot trust everything you see on the internet.

If you have been contacted by any company or are thinking of taking on any services regarding your timeshare, contact Inside Timeshare, we will be happy to point you in the right direction in finding the genuine firms from the “fake”.

 

Fake Law Firms Using Real Lawyers Photographs

Following on from our previous articles regarding the “fake law firms” we today highlight two more and identify the actual persons whose images have been used.

The first is, Abogados Canarias which is part of the Litigious Abogados family, we have now found new identities from the photographs they have used on their website as their lawyers.

abogados-canarias-logo

http://abogados-canarias.com/civil-law/

The first is the so-called founder of the company Manuel Cilavoz Varintos, who is in actual fact Carlos Magnanini the Global Account Manager for the Argentinian company Clarke Modet & Co Argentina SA.

abogados-canarias-manuel-cilavoz-varintos-300x300

https://www.clarkemodet.com/en/experts/carlos-magnanini.html

Another photograph on the website named as Fernando Siltal Crostena is actually another Argentinian, Doctor Jaime Leonardo Kleidermacher of A. Kleidermacher Abogados & Consultores. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires in 1986.

abogados-canarias-fernando-siltal-crostena

http://www.kleidermacher.com/integrantes.html

The photograph of Juan Cretedos Dolabaris has not been fully identified, but it is believed to be an Italian lawyer called Pasquale Frisina Roma. The search for this one continues.

The third lawyer pictured Manolo Derban Ferolita has so far not been found on any searches.

Another of the “fake” law firms is Amador Galeca Abogados, which we highlighted in September 2017.

amador-galeca-300x191

http://amadorgaleca.com/civil-law/

The so-called founder of this company is named as Amador Malodan Galeca, he is in fact Emilio J. Zegrí Boada, from the Spanish law firm Zegri + Olivar, based at Avenida Diagonal, 606, Principal 1ª 08021 Barcelona.

amador-malodan-galeca-243x300

http://www.abogadospenalistas.es/abogados/

Another lawyer whose image is being used is named as Simono Maenga Arlovas, he is in fact a young but distinguished lawyer named Joshua R. Valentine, from the law firm Caulder & Valentine based at 1157 E Marion St Suite 4 Shelby, NC 28150. tel:704.470.2440 .704.754.8401 (fax).

simono-maenga-arlovas

According to his profile on the firms website he is a very highly educated young lawyer:

https://www.cauldervalentine.com/josh-valentine

Education:

  • Charlotte School of Law
  • J.D., Magna Cum Laude
  • Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review
  • Certification and Concentration in Employment Law
  • Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society
  • Order of the Crown
  • Pro Bono Honors
  • CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process and Contracts
  • Full Scholarship
  • Gardner-Webb University
  • B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude
  • Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society

Bar Admissions:

  • North Carolina State Bar
  • South Carolina State Bar
  • United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina

We now have two lawyers from the Amador Galeca website from the same law firm, Clarke Kann Lawyers from Australia, this firm has two offices based at Level 7, 300 Queen Street Brisbane QLD 4000 Australia and Level 4, 9 Castlereagh Street Sydney NSW 2000 Australia.

On the “fake” website they are named as Manuel Pralge Namblib who is actually Joseph Najem a Consultant based at their Sydney office:

manuel-pralge-namblib-300x300

http://www.clarkekann.com.au/people/joseph-najem

Then there is Balthathar Hirmod Nisbelam, who in fact is Steven Cardell, a Partner in the firm and based in Brisbane.

balthathar-hirmod-nisbelam-300x300

http://www.clarkekann.com.au/people

So there we have it, not only are these “fake” firms forging official documents, using official logos illegally but also using photographs of genuine lawyers without their knowledge, although they will know by the end of today.

Inside Timeshare is here to help you get to the truth, if you have had any contact from any of the companies named in these articles use our contact page and let us know. Remember these are not genuine law firms, they exist only to take your hard earned money from you.

 

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

The Tuesday Slot with Irene

Welcome back, we hope you all had a good Easter Weekend, this week’s Tuesday Slot is from a new contributor Greg Guisti, edited as usual by Irene Parker. But first a little news from Europe.

As you know TESS and the proverbial diatribe writings of David Cox have been having a knock at Inside Timeshare and also Canarian Legal Alliance, well he’s at it again with even more of his malicious and unproven statements.

Also Inside Timeshare is proud to have a good working relationship with CLA, they continually provide updates on court proceedings, Inside Timeshare also provides them with the evidence to help their clients who have dealt with fraudulent companies. A very good case in point is Litigious Abogados, the fake law firms in Tenerife, it is the evidence provided by Inside Timeshare that resulted in CLA issuing the decuncia to the authorities in February 2017.

denuncia
For emlargement of the denuncia right click and open link in new tab.

This time he is taking it to a new level, in fact it has now become one that he has left himself completely proven a liar, yes I did say LIAR!

In his recent rantings he has attributed two quotes to myself, which he obviously has made up as they were never been written by me. We would love to know where he found it, obviously it must be his medication making him hallucinate!

“I was a ‘cold caller’ who made uninvited and intrusive calls to consumers for the purposes of getting them to engage with what I now know to be, criminal timeshare salesman”.

“Having served my time roping in clients who faced aggressive selling practices and unethical practices I was happy to move up the corporate ladder to become a Front-line timeshare salesman in what I know to be a criminal timeshare selling scam”.

Well for those of you who know my writing style, it is definitely not mine.

To be honest, it looks like a script for a new Netflix series, or is he changing career (yet again), this time as the speech writer and “FAKE NEWS” editor for a politician in an upcoming election?

Anyway, these pages must be doing a good job if it is upsetting him so much, our readers Mr Cox, (the name is apt), are still behind us because they know what we have published is the truth. Many of them have been helped to get out of their timeshares, to get their money back through section 75 and just to let you know, unlike you and your company Inside Timeshare has never charged any of them. In fact it has even refused donations from grateful readers!

More on this to come, but back to matters that actually are more important, our article from our latest US contributor.

St Maarten

St. Maarten, Board Elections and Resort Reconstruction

Diamond Resorts

Diamond International will hold their Annual Meeting for the Flamingo Beach Resort owners on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club

Greg Guisti  Flamingo Beach Resort Board Candidate Gregory (Greg) Guisti

April 3, 2018

By Greg Guisti

I, Greg Guisti, age 67, am a Connecticut resident and a board candidate for the Flamingo Beach Resort in St. Maarten. I retired in 2016 having worked for IBM 21 years, ending my career as an account executive. I had total responsibility for technical service which was provided by service areas all over the world. In addition, my responsibilities also included meeting budget, sales and customer satisfaction targets. My success stems from my drive for excellence, listening to client needs. Having been an IBM customer for years, I understood customer expectations.

Timeshare members and owners have an expectation of what a good timeshare should be. I want to share my knowledge and experience as a timeshare owner of five difference resorts, while bringing my professional background to the table. Given the damage done to the island, members are entitled to good communication and feedback as to how repair efforts are proceeding. St. Maarten will take some time to rebuild, so now more than ever timeshare members need a customer orientated member to serve as your pipeline for communication.

Diamond International will hold their Annual Meeting for the Flamingo Beach Resort owners on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club, 7600 Mystic Dunes Lane, Celebration, Florida. At this time voting for a member on the Board of Directors will be held. If you cannot attend you can cast your ballot thru the online proxy voting website they provide. All proxies must be submitted by Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

I encourage Flamingo Beach Club Timeshare Owners to cast their vote. Obviously I would appreciate your consideration of my qualifications by casting your vote for me, but more importantly, let your voice be heard by voting, rather than leave your interest in the hands and discretion of an existing board.

There is only one opening. Other candidates include:

Incumbent Dorothy Albero

Dee Dee Metzcher Carr

Jerry Luby

Christiane Marie-Catherine

Mike Skillingstad

Dr. Basil Vareldzis

Scott Williams

The timeshare industry is evolving towards the points based product, but I am not alone in treasuring my deeded week at St. Maarten, a week that I know will not be an annual battle for availability. It is important for deeded week owners to have their voice heard as we protect the real estate investment we own. We can say we are owners, not just members.  

As to the effects of hurricane damage, rebuilding is going to be a difficult process. It is tough getting workers and materials. I own at Simpson Bay Resort and Mullet Towers on the Dutch side of the island. Restoration is underway at both resorts but the hurricane damage was so bad at Simpson Bay Resort, they have to tear down a couple of their buildings and are not going to rebuild. All owners at those buildings were given the option to walk away or accept points.

I am currently in St. Maarten, wanting to show my support by coming to the island to support their economy. While here I spoke with Mervin LeBlanc, General Manager of the Flamingo and Royal Palm. The Flamingo has multiple buildings. Mr. LeBlanc said they are in the stages of gutting all units, a necessary step to prevent mold. Mr. LeBlanc said it’s going to take a couple years, but I see it happening. Members and owners are going to get their St. Maarten vacation back.  

Diamond has waived maintenance fees at the Flamingo for 2018 but Mr. LeBlanc did not comment on Royal Palm maintenance fees. I am not certain if Royal Palm members will have to pay maintenance fees. There will be no bookings at either resort until 2020.

Diamond provided this update:

March 2018: The initial demolition phase is underway and moving along smoothly. Crews are removing debris and content from each unit, and wire fencing has been installed around the resort to secure the property as a construction site.

https://www.diamondresorts.com/destinations/property/Flamingo-Beach-Resort

For more information, contact:

Gregory Guisti

[email protected]

203-519-8258

Thank you Greg and also to Irene for her usual hard work in getting contributors articles ready for publication.

Remember, do your homework before engaging with any company, not all are genuine, if you require any help in making these checks contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Thursday Roundup

It was only a matter of time before another new name appeared in the “fake” lawyers family of Litigious Abogados, this one is called Manuel Hidualdo Abogados.

Home

 

manuel-hidualdo-logo

The website apart from a new logo is exactly the same as all the others, although they did seem to get the opening line wrong on this one, it states that  “Our company was founded Monday 26th July 1990 by Manuel Selando Hidualdo”, that date in 1990 was in fact a Thursday, not quite attention to detail there!

manuel selando hidualdo
Manuel Selando Hidualdo

On the website which was registered 16 January 2018, only a few months ago, they still maintain they have had 15 years presence on the internet, strange how we have never come across them before?

It also shows some new photographs of the lawyers with new names, which once again are very strange names indeed, with a play on some of the older ones. Obviously the photographs of the lawyers are just downloaded from the internet, which you find when searching images of lawyers.

emilio derlanta cantelar
Emilio Derlanta Cantelar
francisco fralja sobanem
Francisco Fralja Sobanem
placido lisbares lomen
Placido Lisbares Lomen

The address is one we have seen before on the website for Abogados Canarias:

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

Again a search on Google street view shows the address is genuine but again, according to the two plaques on the wall for the Abogados that reside there are not this one. So do those genuine lawyers know their address is once again being used by this fake firm?

They give two telephone numbers:

Freephone: 0800 802 1746

Tenerife Tel: 0034 822 685 013

The email addresses given are again not linked to the website but are for consultant.com, which as we know is just another free email address provider.

email: [email protected]

email: [email protected]

Obviously the scenario is going to be the same as before, timeshare owners will be cold called with the wonderful news that their timeshare resort / company is about to be taken to court, and for a small fee, probably around £1000 they can be part of the court case. This money will probably have to be paid to another fake Procurador via bank transfer. As yet we don’t have a name for this individual, but no doubt another great name will emerge.

Then in a few weeks, the lucky owner will receive notification that the director of the resort / company has once again pleaded guilty, with the court now holding many thousands of pounds just waiting to be sent to them. Obviously, there will be a tax and fees to be paid before this can be released. Along with this good news, the owner will receive a forged court document and a photocopy of the cheque with their name and the amount they will receive. We wonder if it will be on a Banesto cheque?

Once again Inside Timeshare warns its readers this is an elaborate and sophisticated fraud, designed to strip you out of thousands of pounds. Do not be taken in by this, you did not instigate these legal proceedings so you have not got any money being held by the court.

If you are contacted by this firm or any other with a similar story, then contact Inside Timeshare, all your information will go to help others.

Returning to the TESS, David Cox and Mark Rowe story, Praetorian Legal have published a warning about Mark Rowe on their website. As we reported recently Praetorian Legal have been subjected to many attacks by TESS and Mark Rowe’s TCA (Timeshare Consumer Association).

These two organisations have been vehemently attacking anyone who speaks out about them, Inside Timeshare and Canarian Legal Alliance have also been attacked. Obviously these attacks are to take the heat away from them, we know that Mark Rowe and his companies are being investigated by the Regional Organised Crime Unit of Avon & Somerset Police. Must be very serious for this unit to be involved. The question is are TESS and David Cox also being investigated, after all Cox did have a contract with Rowe?

Read the Praetorian Legal post below:

https://www.praetorianlegal.com/warning-mark-rowe-owner-timeshare-consumer-association-monster-rewards-companies/

Just to rub it in to David Cox, who believes that the “victories” Canarian Legal Alliance have had in the Supreme Court are not “real”, CLA announced another two rulings from Spain’s Highest Court along with another 9 from the Courts of First Instance and High Courts.

First we start with the two Supreme Court rulings, these are numbers 98 and 99, they involve two timeshare operations, Silverpoint in Tenerife and Tasolan in Gran Canaria.

Once again both contracts declared null and void, with over 165,000€ being returned to the clients by the court.

There were four First Instance rulings against ANFI Del Mar and Silverpoint, resulting in over 114,000€ being returned along with the contracts being declared null and void.

The five High Court sentences were once again against Anfi and Silverpoint, with over 145,000€ having to be returned, contracts were also declared null and void.

So Mr Cox, if you still believe these are not real, show your evidence.

Just to finish, one of our regular readers and internet searchers sent us a link which is rather comical, it is from Timeshare.lawyer, another Mark Rowe company linked with ABC Lawyers. In this piece titled “The Scandal Around Loans for Timeshare Purchases”, it goes on about the loan agreements arranged by timeshare sales staff for the purchase of timeshares.

It is the third paragraph which made us laugh,

“What’s even more disturbing is that, in many cases, those unscrupulous timeshare sales staff have provided false information on the finance documents in order to get them approved. When assessing the finance documents, people have found that their income had been entered incorrectly, and furthermore, the loan had been granted for ‘home improvements’ – not timeshare! This is fraud, committed by the sales staff and inculcating the signees without their knowledge.”

https://www.timeshare.lawyer/loans-for-timeshare-purchases/

Hang on a minute, did this not happen to hundreds of Resort Properties / Silverpoint clients during Mark Rowe’s watch as “Sales Director”?

Well we know it did as there are High Court (London) actions against Barclays Partner Finance brought by Stewarts Law and Edwin Coe, for loan agreements arranged by sales staff on behalf of Resort Properties / Silverpoint clients.

Now it would appear his company is going after the banks, in the article they go on about Shawbrook Bank setting aside £9 million for loans which have been incorrectly approved, with the Finance Director resigning after the news broke, this is a little out of date as Inside Timeshare published that story in July 2016 within days of it being made public:

http://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

So there we have it, nothing surprises us in the world of timeshare, there is always something going on.

If you have any questions on this article or just need some information about any company that has contacted you, get in touch with Inside Timeshare through our contact page and we will provide you with details on how to check them.

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The Changing Face of Timeshare Scams

Today we look at how timeshare scams have changed over the years, from the original sales to resale, holiday clubs and now for claims. You will be surprised at how they have developed, we will also give you some useful information on what to look for when either searching the web or being contacted.

When timeshare was first being marketed on a large scale during the 1980’s and the boom years of the 1990’s the most common scam was known as the “hole in the ground”. This is where the unsuspecting tourist while on holiday was picked up off the street by the touts with the scratch cards, taken to a resort with a sales deck and subjected to a rather lengthy presentation.

Nothing new there, the difference with this presentation was that the resort the potential client was at, was not what was being sold. That resort had not yet been built, it was in the planning stage, the client was being offered to buy “off-plan”.

off plan

These apartments and weeks would be sold at a discounted price, for example a studio may go for around £2,500, much cheaper than the ones on the resort they were visiting. Many signed up for these timeshares, only to find out later that the resort was never actually built, the marketing company had disappeared along with their money.

It was then towards the end of the 1990’s that the resale market began, many timeshares were sold on the basis that they were real estate, you were buying a portion of the bricks and mortar, so it would go up in value.

One of the early resale scams was started and run by the infamous Toni Muldoon from the Costa del Sol. He had a string of companies, one was known as Platinum Properties.

The scam played on greed, owners would be cold called and asked if they had thought about selling their timeshare. The pitch was very simple, there is a shortage of new timeshares and the prices of second hand ones was increasing due to demand.

The unsuspecting owners would be asked what they owned and what they had paid, the callers would then explain that those were in high demand and fetching very good prices. For example, an owner would say they paid around £5,000 for theirs, yes you guessed it, they would be told that those were now going for about £7,000 on the resale market and going up in value.

Now for only £1,500 Platinum Properties would list this for you, if they were not able to sell this within the 12 months of the contract, the deposit would be returned. That deposit would also be returned once the sale had gone through, as the buyer would pay all the costs. Many took up this offer and that was the last they ever heard from the company again.

Eventually Toni Muldoon was caught and received a 2 year sentence which was then suspended, he was eventually jailed in the UK for other non-timeshare related scams and has been release on parole. He has now set up 2 websites, one relating to timeshare (claims) the other called Scam-Busters. The question is can a leopard change its spots?

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His business became the model for all the other resale companies that sprang up during the early 2000’s.

The next incarnation of the resale scam was the classic “bait and switch”, this is where the client was told they had a buyer for the timeshare, usually a “corporate buyer”. All the seller needed to do was visit the resale office on the Costa del Sol or wherever and attend a meeting with the buyer.

But, there was no buyer, the meeting was a presentation for one of the new Discount Holiday Clubs. These were the  new way to holiday, free from the yearly and rising costs of maintenance fees. The pitch was they would take over your timeshare leaving you maintenance free, but to do this you had to buy a membership to their club. Again these varied in price depending on the length of the membership.

Those prices were obviously inflated, as they would then give a massive discount to take into account the price of your timeshare. For instance, the owner would be told that a 10 year membership would cost £15,900 but they would give you £6,500 for the timeshare, leaving the cost of membership at £9,400.

Another twist to this was the cashback scheme, this was a voucher made out for a large sum to cover the cost of the timeshare plus some of the membership fee, that had to be registered and in 36 months or so you would go through the reclaim procedure and receive at least 75% of the certificate value.

cashback

Incentive Leisure Group and their Designer Way Vacation Club along with Club Class Concierge were the major players in this particular scheme. Both eventually were wound up by the UK authorities.

The next system to emerge was based on the above, this time they were leisure credits, which “could” be used to get discounts on all sorts of goods and services, not just holidays. The same tactic was used, get the client to a meeting and the only way to get out of the timeshare was to purchase the leisure credits and join our scheme!

The most well known are EZE Group, whose owners are awaiting sentence at Birmingham Crown Court and Monster Credits. The latter is now under investigation by the Police after raids by Trading Standards.

We now move to the latest in this long list of innovative frauds, the claims business.

Since the first Supreme Court ruling in March 2015, these have mushroomed, they take on many various forms, from fake law firms to claims management companies.

The pitch varies from firm to firm but one thing is clear, everyone has a case and can claim!

The most sophisticated fraud is one Inside Timeshare has been following for over 2 years, the group of “Fake” law firms we have called the Litigious Abogados family operating out of Tenerife.

Theirs involves clients being told the case has been filed and they can be part of it, all they need to do is pay a certain amount and they will be included in the case being heard within the next month. All the documents look very convincing, even down to very good fake court documents. For more on this search for Litigious Abogados.

There are also many firms operating out of the UK, these are offering “no win no fee” claims, but in order to do this you need to have your timeshare contract cancelled, known as relinquishment. This involves a fee, this can be anything from £4,000 to £8,000 depending on the company. (Beware of this, many have found that after 3 years or so they end up getting demands for maintenance arrears).

sec 75

Once you have paid for the contract to be cancelled, then they will file a claim on the “no win no fee” basis. This does not involve a court case, (once your contract has been cancelled, you cannot take the case to court), it is a Section 75 under the Credit Consumer Act 1974. As you can imagine this is not going to work, the credit card company will deny the payment stating that you have had use of the product and therefore are not eligible.

Section 75 covers, not received the goods or services paid for, company has gone bankrupt, fraudulent transactions. This would not cover the misselling of timeshare, the contract can only be declared illegal in a court and at present the laws only apply to timeshares purchased in Spain.

Now, it can be very difficult to decide which company is genuine and which is not, this is where you need to do your homework.

Some very basic tips are, how long has the company been registered, this can be found out by doing a company search, this will also tell you if they have changed name. If the company has only been registered for say 1 year, then how do they account for their claims of helping hundreds of people, especially if they have testimonials dated several years before they were registered. Also just because a company has a registration, that does not prove they are genuine, anyone can register a company for very little outlay.

Another factor is the officers of the company, the director and secretary, these may be just front people, not the actual owners of the company.

What about the website? Who is it registered to and when was it registered?

whois

Some websites are registered under privacy registrations, these are using a privacy company to register the site for the person. This should set the alarm bells ringing, what have they got to hide?

Payment methods is also a very useful giveaway, any genuine company should have credit card facilities, at least that way you are covered if anything does go wrong. Do not use your card via any method such as PayPal, this is a third party and invalidates your rights under Section 75.

Companies using only bank transfers should be viewed with caution, especially if the transfer is to be made in the name of a private individual. Steer well clear of any company that asks for payment by any other means such as Western Union.

These are just the very basic rules, if in doubt do not do anything, if you require any help in checking the validity of any company that contacts you or one you have found while searching the internet, contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

Remember do your homework and keep your hard earned cash safe!

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