British expats in Spain arrested over alleged massive timeshare fraud

Published:  10 Jul at 6 PM
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Following breaking news about the scam published in an English language newspaper last month, a number of expats have been arrested over an alleged timeshare fraud involving multi-millions of euros.

The Olive Press expat newspaper first reported the story in June, stating the scam had been raking in 100,000 euros a week from defrauded Brits and had included a Spanish lawyer working in Benaladema. The fraudsters had worked from an office near Torre del Mar, and the scam had been in operation for some years before police arrested 36 expats believed to have been involved.

According to a local police spokesperson, those arrested were charged under suspicion of money laundering, fraud, forgery and membership of a criminal gang. The alleged ringleader, a Briton, and two Spanish lawyers are believed to have been in charge of the money-laundering activities. As with many similar scams in Spain and other expat haves across the world, victims were offered a timeshare holiday product.

Some 500 British nationals are thought to have been caught by the sophisticated fraud, with an estimated 17 million euros paid to a group comprising Howard Capelli (known as Howard Manton), his wife, daughter and son Jack, all of whom have been arrested along with employees of the timeshare company, most of whom are UK citizens. Estimates of profits from the scam total around 12 million euros, with victims paying anything from 600 to three thousand euros each.

The suspects are known to have used forged documents in order to convince victims the company was fully legitimate, and employed several people to double-dupe victims into believing they could get them their money back. Police raids on the company, the suspects’ homes and lawyers’ offices netted a Ferrari and six other vehicles, jewellery, designer watches and over 100,000 euros in cash. A yacht was also seized.

The newspaper and Spanish police were first alerted to the scam after timeshare watchdog Mindtimeshare Association linked Manton’s name with a number of bogus timeshare resale schemes in past years. Manton has been offered bail for a payment of 20,000 euros, although it’s not clear at present whether or not he took the offer.
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