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James Barras

Torcaz Abogados: The Case of the Missing Cheque

Over the past few years Inside Timeshare has been reporting on a huge fraud being perpetrated from Tenerife, it involves a series of “FAKE” law firms which we have named as the Litigious Abogados Family. The latest incarnation was highlighted on 1 June, the name is Torcaz Abogados and they are following the same pattern as all the previous incarnations. Today we publish the story from one of our readers who at first believed that they were genuine, but as things went on he refused to pay any further fees and played along with their little game.

It was late February early March when our reader was contacted by a cold call from a representative from Torcaz Abogados, with the news that they were initiating a “class action” against Club la Costa. In order to go ahead with the case, Torcaz required payment of £650 which he duly paid.

In a subsequent letter sent and signed by Juan Erestaldo Goberas, Spanish authorities have been investigating “various irregular holiday operations” throughout Spain and the Canary Islands. The letter goes on to say that in “most cases” they have frozen bank accounts and seized assets. Which according to Juan means that lawyers can now “assist owners and legal process in relation to such matters has become easier”

Further in the letter, Juan states that:

“CLC World Hotels and Resorts SL on Thursday 15th March 2018, one of the directors Mr James Barras pleaded guilty to the indictment of the Spanish civil code. The High Courts of Santa Cruz declared 28 of our clients’ contracts null & void and seized Mr Barras’ assets and personal accounts in Spain and the Canary Islands”.

So in March 2018 a director of Club la Costa, James Barras, which is a name that has been used before in conjunction with a similar case involving Diamond Resorts, has had his personal assets seized!

The letter goes on to explain some legal points then comes the following:

“As you are now aware, we are currently involved in a Class Action for Punitive Damages against Club la Costa SL, Paradise Marketing and Mr James Barras”.

“Our lawyers have on Tuesday the 24th of March successfully submitted the claim on your behalf and now await its official Lodgement on Thursday 9th of April for a Court date on that day to be scheduled for the final hearing in Tenerife at the Santa Cruz Court First Instance No. 5”.

Our reader is then told that a Mr James Stephenson from the Claims Department who is working with the lawyers will be contacting our reader shortly. So another new name to add to our ever-growing list.

Eventually the case “was heard” and our very lucky reader had been awarded £40,000 and that a cheque would be issued as soon as “legal and tax” were organised by Torcaz Abogados. Unfortunately, there was a “TAX” to pay amounting to £2000. Our reader refused to pay and told them he would pay it once he received his money.

Less than 2 hours later he received another call from Jean or June who told him that the office was in an uproar at his suggestion that they were anything but above board. So to prove they were legitimate they agreed to pay the “TAX”.

About a week later he received another call to tell him that the cheque had been issued and he would be receiving it soon. Lo and behold to his surprise a few days later the post arrived and there was an envelope from Spain. Wow, had the cheque arrived!

But as we know from the past incarnations, the “jiffy bag” was open and although there was a letter inside, the cheque was missing, there was a staple and a piece of paper in one corner where the “supposed” cheque should have been. Needless to say, our reader instantly contacted Torcaz.

He then received a letter outlining what had happened, they had just been notified by the Local Police that our reader’s parcel and 2 others had been “intercepted into an import export company account registered to four Bulgarian citizens”. The cheques being deposited into a Banco Popular SA account. Hang on a minute, Banco Popular no longer exists, it has been taken over by Santander and the brand of Banco Popular being replaced with the Santander logos. Plus if the cheque was made out to his name how did they manage to deposit and clear the cheques?

Open Jiffy bag with no cheque

Apparently according to the letter signed by Carlos Ivan Mar, Abogado, Departmento Legal, that the police suspect it was an inside job and all 16 post office employees are being interviewed. Torcaz has also been informed that the National Police are now involved, well, for those who know Spain this would have been dealt with by the National Police or the Guardia Civil, not by the Policia Local. The letter also explains that “their (Torcaz) lawyers have filed an official complaint against the post office”.

In an email, our reader was then told that a new cheque would be issued, but he would have to pay fees of £1000. He refused and eventually they came back to him and offered to pay 750€ leaving him to pay 360€. A very generous offer, which our reader declined.

As we have seen this is the same Modus Operandi that we have seen for the past 4 years, we now just wonder how many people have actually paid the full amounts as and when the demands come in. It is bound to be a very huge amount of money these crooks have defrauded over the years. We now just wait to find out what the next incarnation will be, going on the past there should be a new one emerging very soon.

Once again this proves that before you believe anything that you are told, do your homework, don’t be blinded by the huge amounts of “compensation” they claim you have been awarded. If you need help in determining if a call or email from any company is genuine please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Previous articles on Torcaz.

Link to past names used.