On 23 February, West Mercia Police issued a press release about 9 timeshare fraudsters being sentence to more than 20 years in prison. It revolves around a timeshare resale scam that began back in 2012, when the company Simple Property Marketing Solutions first made its appearance.
All 9 appeared at Stafford Crown Court between 21 and 23 February, they are:
- James Barrass, 37 from Norwich, sentenced to two years for money laundering.
- Matthew Barker, 25 from Bromsgrove, Fraudulent Trading, 1 year & 1 month. Suspended for 1 year a & 6 months, 250 hours community service.
- Brian Carr, 31 from Redditch, sentenced to 6 years for conspiracy to defraud and perverting the course of justice.
- Daniel Carr, 24 from Redditch, Conspiracy to defraud, 4 years prison.
- Steven Cross, 37, From Worcestershire, Conspiracy to defraud, 6 months.
- Dawn Gingell, 55 From Hampshire, Conspiracy to defraud, 3 years 6 months prison.
- Brendan Hicks, 28 From Redditch, Fraudulent Trading, sentenced to 1 year 1 month, suspended for 1 year 6 months plus 250 hours community service.
- Alan Sharp, 66 From Norwich, Money Laundering, 8 months in prison suspended for 1 year plus 200 hours community service.
- Craig Walker, 27 From Redditch, Conspiracy to defraud, 3 years in prison.
They are all facing proceedings to recover the money stolen, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
It all started with the company Simple Property Marketing Solutions Ltd, based in Norwich in 2012, they began contacting timeshare owners with the promise of buyers for their timeshares. These buyers were offering tremendous prices to acquire them.
In order for the timeshare owner to start the sales process, Simple Property Marketing Solutions, headed by Brian Carr, needed payment of between £600 and £1,500 for notary fees and security bonds.
According to the evidence it amounts to around £875,000 paid by about 470 people.
But the scam did not stop there, under different names and companies the next stage was to contact those who had lost money in the original scam. They would offer new schemes in order to help the victims to at least recoup some of their earlier losses.
The third part in this scam was one we have seen all too often, the victims are again contacted, but this time the callers say they are from the Spanish Courts. The money they have lost has now been recovered and can be returned to the victims bank accounts, obviously there would need to be a fee paid first.
Brian Carr was also the director of the following companies:
- Mercia Media Services Ltd, formerly known as Title Exchange Services Ltd, this was based in Redditch.
- Deed Transfer Specialists Ltd, based in Norwich.
- Simple Property Solutions Ltd, based in Norwich.
It is believed there were around 10 companies formed in the UK and Spain which were used to either launder the money or perpetrate the scam.
This fraud ran from the start of the companies in 2012 to 2015, they targeted mainly the elderly and vulnerable timeshare owners, many who were in poor health. This is a recurring theme in this type of fraud, as we have to remember the vast majority of timeshare owners today are now retired and many are not in the best of health.
Recently we have been seeing many other “scams” being closed down, from resale to holiday clubs and leisure credits. The authorities are taking more notice of these frauds in the timeshare world, we are still waiting to hear what sentence Birmingham Crown Court will be bestowing on the EZE Group owners Dominic O’Reilly and his daughter Stephanie. We are also waiting for the outcome of the investigation in several of Mark Rowe’s companies by the South West Police.
As the title of this article says, They Do Get Them in the End!
If you have been contacted by any company or are wondering about one you have found on the internet, contact Inside Timeshare and we will help you find out what you need.