Former solicitor jailed over timeshare scam
In the past, we’ve written extensively about timeshare scammers who’ve been caught out for one reason or another. For example, The Azure Timeshare Scandal has been a recurring topic while Club La Costa has similarly reared its ugly head once or twice before. However, it’s not everyday that you hear about a timeshare scammer trying to avoid the law by moving to another country! Although this isn’t all too surprising given a scammer’s nature and lack of morals.
Anthony Lea and Ian Hollis were sentenced at Reading Crown Court on March 24th after they were found to have processed thousands of pounds from ‘vulnerable’ pensioners back in 2011. During the sentencing, Hollis didn’t turn up to court. He instead chose to remain in Spain where he currently resides. Should he return to the UK, he’ll be arrested and taken to prison in order to serve the jail time that was handed to him following the court’s decision.
So, what happened in this case?
Read on to learn more about why you should always be careful with timeshares.
The £500,000 Timeshare Scam
Thanks to a tip from a UK pensioner in 2016, an in-depth investigation was launched into a 2011 timeshare related crime. However, no type of charge was brought against the culprits until 2019. A trial was scheduled for 2020, but this was pushed back further due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
When it finally came, the two were found to have laundered money as part of an organised crime unit that targeted timeshare investors. They posed as ‘resale firms’ Simple Timeshare Sales & Marketing, Find Me Travel, and UK Holiday Consultants. After asking for advance fees of £1,000 – £2,000, Lea passed £465,000 through his account while Hollis was responsible for £74,000.
Lea utilised the bank accounts of a trusted solicitor and estate agent to make the scheme appear more legitimate. Accusations against them were eventually dropped when Lea was found to have used their accounts without their involvement.
On The Run From The Law
When it came time for the sentencing, Hollis never turned up. As reported by The Mirror, he apparently blamed health conditions including high blood pressure, a bad knee, and Covid-19. The “Our Bar” owner claimed to be “John” before admitting he was Hollis, and said he got involved in the scam when a man named “Dave” asked if he wanted to make some extra money. He now plans to appeal against the 18 month sentence.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Lea – a former solicitor – was sentenced to prison for three years for his role in the operation. He admitted to sending the stolen money to “unknown persons” via various methods such as bank transfer or in-person at service stations. The defence team argued that Lea was unaware of any criminal activities. But Her Honour Judge Campbell said it would’ve been difficult for Lea to turn a blind eye.
Be Careful With Your Timeshares
As this case shows, you need to be incredibly careful with your timeshares. Many criminals target timeshare owners since they’re vulnerable and easy to manipulate. But you can be more aware of the signs of a timeshare recovery scam. The timeshare scammers will carefully concoct a plan to dupe you. Usually, they set up a fake company in which you buy the timeshare off, then cease to trade and contact you via another alias when you’re most desperate to sell. The best thing to do is simply not to get involved with timeshares due to the amount of crimes that are associated with them. However, if you have already been duped by a timeshare scam, then it’s best for you to contact a professional legal team who can help you with your case. Although this isn’t the situation you want to be in, it’s the best way of recovering money.
Athena Law Is Here To Assist You
When it comes to timeshare resale scams, no one deserves to be caught out. If you think you’ve been conned of your money, then Athena Law is here to provide you with a professional and effective service. This is an issue we deal with all the time, so be rest assured we have the necessary experience needed to deal with your case. As this is a delicate situation, you need all the expertise you can get.
That’s where Mr. Stephen Boyd and his excellent team of highly qualified solicitors come into play as we can help you take back what is rightfully yours. Timeshare recovery fraud is an ever-existent problem, with timeshare owners being particularly targeted due to their vulnerability. So, by getting in touch with us today, we can help advise you on what to do next in order to pursue your claim in a legal and professional manner.