NINE British scammers who made almost €1 million in a timeshare racket have been sentenced.
The culprits 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 must serve a range of prison sentences totalling 20 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, perverting the course of justice, money laundering and fraudulent trading.
Police say that 470 victims – the majority elderly or sick – were swindled over their properties in expatriate hotspots in Spain.
They would receive phone calls falsely advising that a third party was interested in buying their timeshare rights provided they stump up an ‘advance sale fee.’
The gang would later demand more payments when the bogus deals failed to happen. On many occasions the unsuspecting victims would be hit for a second time as the scammers pretended to work for a range of invented companies.
They even pretended to be Spanish police officials, forcing targets to pay a third fee to have their money returned.
The group reportedly made more than €986,000 from the ruse, and opened up a number of fake companies and bank accounts to hide their activity.
Detective Inspector Emma Wright of Warwickshire Police said: “These scammers targeted some of the most vulnerable people in our society in a deliberate and cynical campaign of fraud.
“I am pleased that the offenders have been brought before the courts.”