A GANG of nine British fraudsters who conned sick and elderly victims out of almost €1 million in a Spanish timeshare scam have been jailed.
At least 470 people were targeted by the group in what has been described as a “cynical three part scam,” according to reports.
Gang members would cold call timeshare owners and falsely inform them that a buyer had been found for their properties, most of which were in Spain.
The culprits would then demand an advance ‘sale fee’ before later claiming more payments when the fake deals ‘fell through.’
In some cases the gang targeted the same people on more than one occasion, posing as representatives of different companies under a range of invented names.
And once cash had been received they even pretended to be working for the Spanish authorities, telling victims they would get their money back in exchange for a fixed fee.
According to a police statement, the gang raked in more than €986,000 between 2012 and 2015, setting up a string of bogus companies and bank accounts in the UK.
Detective Inspector Emma Wright of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit said: “This has been a long and complex investigation and I am pleased that the offenders have been brought before the courts this week to receive custodial sentences.
BRENDAN HICKS: Received a suspended sentence of one year and one month plus community service
“These scammers targeted some of the most vulnerable people in our society in a deliberate and cynical campaign of fraud. Their scheme had devastating consequences on the victims – not just financially but emotionally too.
“Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police remain committed to bringing to justice those who commit fraud and financial crime.”
The nine have been named as Brian Carr, 31, Daniel Carr, 24, Craig Walker, 27, and Brendan Hicks, 28, all from Redditch, Dawn Gingell, 55, from Hampshire, James Barrass, 37, from Norwich, Steven Cross, 37, from Worcester, Matthew Barker, 25, from Bromsgrove, and Alan Sharp, 66, from Norwich.
They have been handed prison sentences totalling 20 years for conspiracy to defraud, perverting the course of justice, money laundering and fraudulent trading.
MATTHEW BARKER: Sentenced to one year and one month with 250 hours of community service.
Most of those who will serve less than two years behind bars must also complete 250 hours of community service.
STEVEN CROSS: Jailed for six months.