Browse Tag

Colegio de Abogados

Start the Week: Are They Genuine?

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, today we have a look at how to spot a possible scam, what to look for and the warning signs to be aware of. Over the past months, there have been numerous new “fake” law firms, claims and exits companies appearing, with Inside Timeshare issuing many warnings. Unfortunately, many timeshare owners have been taken in by them only to find they have been scammed after they have paid.

One of the first points that you should consider is the initial cold call, although cold calling is not illegal, you should be very cautious about who they are and how they have your details. What information are they holding, do they know what and where you own, do they also know about any previous contact with “fraudulent” companies? These are usually telltale signs that the data they hold may have been obtained illegally, either it has been stolen from the timeshare resort or has been passed on by other fraudulent entities, usually the same people behind the new company.

During the call it is up to you to do the questioning, what is their full company name, where are they registered, do they have a company registration number and can this be verified. This point does not guarantee they are legitimate, anyone can register a company for very little outlay, just because they are registered does not mean they are not scammers.

What is the company address, is it a permanent office or one of the virtual offices often used to register short term companies. How long has the company been registered, does this correspond with what you are told, such as they have been operating for say 5 years, yet the company was only registered 1 year ago!

Does the company name appear on any searches, or does it show many companies with the same or similar name?

Many of the new cold callers are using names of genuine law firms or variations of them, even down to a similarly named website. A good example of this point is one article published last week on the law firm Cabrera Ayala Abogados, where a genuine lawyer’s details are being used. Even down to the address being very similar. The other example is of a Spanish Registered Lawyer and UK Registered Barrister, Jeremy Scudamore, both of these can be seen on the links below.

https://insidetimeshare.com/wednesday-news-another-new-fake-lawyer-and-more-woes-for-anfi/

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-catching-up-with-the-news/

What is their website, is it a new one or one that has been operating for a number of years, When was it registered and for how long? Is the registrant hidden by a privacy protection service, hiding the people behind it? Again another point to give concern. 

What telephone numbers are they using, have they appeared on sites such as Who Called Me, and what comments have been made?

Are they landlines, mobile or VOIP used mainly on internet telephone systems from third-party providers?

Does their email address go to the website or is it a free email service such as Gmail, Yahoo or ones that we have seen regularly with our friends the Litigious Abogados Family from Tenerife, such as consultant.com or europe.com?

Any email that is not directly attached to their website is usually a very good sign of a scam operation.

On the website itself, does the website show any company details, such as company registration numbers, Solicitors Regulation Authority registration, for Spain are they registered with their local Colegio de Abogados?

If they are processing claims they may also need to be registered and regulated under claims management with the Financial Conduct Authority. This does depend on the type of claims management they are undertaking. Do they have an FCA registration number?

Even if this number appears on the website, it does not mean they are registered, especially if they are a new company. They may have applied and only have “temporary” approval, permanent approval is not given straight away, there is a period where the FCA will be investigating them before they finally approve full authority, this can take at least one year.

On the website, is the information shown correct, how is it written, does it look like it has been cut and pasted from another “legitimate” website?

How is it written, is it full of spelling and grammatical errors, are they trying to use legal terms to make it look like a genuine law firm?

What services are they offering, is it a fully legal claim which will for Spanish purchased timeshares need to go through the Spanish legal system with a genuine and registered Spanish lawyer?

Or, are they offering a relinquishment first (for a fee) and a “compensation” claim on a no win no fee basis, remember once you have cancelled your contract no case can then go through the courts. The contract must still be running with all maintenance paid to date, so the question is how is the “compensation” going to be claimed

How do they expect you to make a payment?

Do they have Credit Card facilities, if so who is the payment made to, is it the company that is carrying out the work or a third party?

If this is the case you may not be covered by Section 75 of the Credit Consumer Act 1974 under the third party payment rules. As an example, you pay company A, the work is supposedly carried out by company B, which does not do the job, you have no claim against either party. Third-Party Rule.

Another point to consider is the use of third party payment companies using your credit card, these are money transfer agencies such as PayPal and Transferwise. Using your card to pay using these methods also invalidates your rights under Section 75.

If you are requested to make a payment by bank transfer, who is the payment being made to, is it a company account or to a named private individual?

Lastly, have they sent you any documents, do they look genuine?

Many of these fake documents including court rulings have been published on Inside Timeshare over the years, some are exceptionally good, especially if you have no experience of any legal documentation. There will always be telltale signs, the most common for court documents is the “case number”, these can be checked and verified, with our experience we can tell them to be fake at a glance. You unfortunately may not be so lucky.

Example of a Fake court document sent out by the Litigious Abogados Family.

These are just the basic rules to be safe when dealing with either cold callers or any company you may have found on the internet. If you require any help in verifying these companies, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

REMEMBER, DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST BEFORE PAYING ANY COMPANY!

Litigious Abogados: Showing Some Charity!

Nothing surprises us here at Inside Timeshare, but sometimes we are a little taken aback. This time it is the very charitable offer from that wonderful group of “lawyers” in Tenerife, Emilio Leyes Castillianos or Litigious Abogados.

LIT

Readers of Inside Timeshare have shared with us the latest in this firm’s game plan, our readers informed this company that they could not afford to pay the “Tax” to the Procurator, Darston Jilmo Davida. They also asked for their original fees to the Procurator to be returned, conveniently the lawyer liaison Richard Lehmen did not receive the email.

Instead he had a meeting with the partners of Litigious Abogados and they very generously have offered to pay 80% of the “Tax”. As they state in their lovely letter “ We as a firm, occasionally carry out “Pro Bono” work, to assist those who are unable to pay for services, or, as in your case, pay the imposed tax fees”.

Ayuda redacted-page-001Ayuda redacted-page-002

Above the letter offering the “charity” payment.

They then go on to say “We feel that there is a lot of money at stake for the common good and therefore you were made eligible for this arrangement, however this decision was reached mainly because Mr Richard Lehman explained to us your particular circumstances”. I would guess the “common good” was their own pockets!

I don’t know about you, but this Mr Richard Lehman is a very lovely person and the lawyers are the most charitable I have come across. They are sending a BBVA cheque to the Procurador to the value of 5,384.40 Euros, which is 80%, leaving the client to pay 1,346.10 Euros. They will then invoice them for this amount and add it to the 20% commission upon payment of the compensation cheque.

Bbva_Cheque_on_behalf_-page-001
A previous readers “charity” cheque to the Procurator

Bbva_Cheque_redacted-page-001
Latest “charity” cheque to Procurator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letter ends with “We trust the above is clear and pledge to be as proficient and professional as you would expect of a company of our standing”. This is signed by Simone Maro Malivas, Abogado. This is a new name to add to the list of “lawyers”.

Also the Procurado seems to take on a new persona, this one is Darston Jilmo Davida, with a bank account at the BancaMarch, Then there is  D Harstun SL with a Banco Sabadell account Harstun Davido Jaime with his account at Bank Santander. Another name was Davido Harstun Jaime, just wondering if they are brothers, or just the same person?

Cuenta Procurador.-page-001 Modified Court Fees-page-001 procurator-page-001Three of the Procurator bank accounts.

The question is how have they managed to set up so many bank accounts, after all many of us who live in Spain had to show so much identification to open up our accounts?

Going back to another firm in this little family living in Tenerife, Legitimos Abogados, one of the named lawyers, Juan Luis Partalabo, one document gives his Colegio de Abogados (bar association) number as 4057. When checked against the bar association registry 10 names come up around Spain, none with this name or the colleges he is supposedly registered in: Madrid; Málaga and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. So this would confirm he is not a registered lawyer.

Legitimos redacted-page-002

So far we have not been able to locate any of the named lawyers in any colegio de Abogados, on mainland Spain the Balearics or the Canary Islands.

Court Document 01 Court_Doc-page-001 Court_Lodgment redacted-page-001Three fake court documents

As we have said before, this is a very well put together operation, we have seen very convincing court documents, copies of cheques with clients names on, wonderful letters offering to “pay the taxes” and to cap it all, the sending of cheques to clients. The only problem the letter was open and the cheques missing. This is then followed up with another letter from another firm, claiming that a gang of Romanians have stolen and cashed the cheques. They have been charged with getting your money back but in order to do this they have to be paid.

Compensation_Cheque-page-001
The Banesto compensation cheque issued by the “court”

Please remember, courts do not issue cheques, especially on Banesto cheques which were taken over by Santander in 2012 and they stopped using that name. There are no “Hacienda” taxes to be paid for compensation. These cases do not exist, even the best law firm in this field cannot get a case to court within the timescale these have done.

For all the articles on this group of law firms and consultants search Litigious Abogados in the search box.

This is a great example of doing your due diligence, it looks very genuine and to those of you who don’t know how the system works in a foreign country or what the official documents look like, will be taken in. If you have been contacted by any company or law firm that tells you that the court has money waiting for you or that you have a claim, contact Inside Timeshare and we will have them checked for you. There has been a huge proliferation in these types of fraud since the Supreme Court ruled in favour of clients of the Canarian law firm CLA, so do your homework.

homework1

Litigious Abogados Who Are They?

On 23 September 2016 Mindtimeshare published a warning about a so called lawyer and law firm, it asked the question are they for real? Their conclusion was no.

While looking at the websites, they looked very familiar, even the address was one we had seen before. While searching the Mindtimeshare website it was revealed that it was familiar, the same address has been highlighted before on 5 July 2016 for Litigar Abogados.

litigious-abogados

Litigious Abogados or Litigious Lawyers, name of the lawyer is given as Emilio Leyes Catillianos.

Both web sites show the same CIF Number: A36428761

Tel: 0800 862 0102

The address given is:  Calle Duque de la Torre 29, 114, Santa Cruz, Tenerife

This address is not quite correct, it should read: Calle Duque de la Torre, 29 Arona Casco 38640 Arona Tenerife. This address is actually for Oficina del Servicio de Atención Ciudadana which is part of the Ayuntamiento or local council offices. (Checked on google maps street view).

Both websites were only registered on 14 August 2016, details of who the registrant is are hidden.

litigiousabogados.com

http://emiliocatillianos.com/

 

Back in July 2016 another company of so called lawyers came up on the radar, they too used the same address as above. Both websites are exactly the same as those for the above lawyers.

litigar-abogados-4

This other firm was known as Litigar Abogados, the So called lawyer is Manuel Amas Conde.

Both websites show the same CIF Number: A34812673

Tel: 0800 862 0140

The address given is the same as above.

Both websites registered on 6 June 2016, again registrant is hidden.

litigarabogados.com

http://manuelamasconde.com/

 

None of the websites show any registration number for any bar association, although they do state they are members of the Bar Association. If so the registration number should be shown.

On both websites in the location section, they also show the logo for the Oficina del Servicio de Atencion Ciudadana, to try and show credibility. Also on both home pages they claim 15 years of presence on the internet.

In the law section of Litigar Abogados they also show the coat of arms for the Colegio de Abogados, or the College of Lawyers which is the bar association. Above this is another logo stating 25 years of membership to the college.

On the Litigious Abogados website in the Civil Law section it shows two photographs of lawyers with the names:

Simone Manuel Olivaz & Ramon Quilnar Canal

 

I am waiting for further information on both companies and all the named lawyers, when this comes in it will be published as an update.

If you have been contacted by either of these companies Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you. Remember, lawyers would normally show Bar Registration Numbers and which College of Lawyers they are registered with, these can then be verified as to their legitimacy. This does prove that doing your research into any company that contacts you or one you may have found in the internet, is the first step in protecting yourself. If you need any help in finding information Inside Timeshare will be pleased to help.