Turkish property scam loses pensioners over a million sterling

Published:  11 Mar at 6 PM
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A female fraudster based in the UK was jailed recently for stealing over £1,000,000 sterling from her victims via a Turkish property Ponzi scheme.

The scheme involved offering low property purchase prices to retirees looking for a lucrative investment overseas and the chance to own a home in an attractive Turkish beachside location. Victims were seduced into transferring money to Cleethorpes resident Hayley Brown, who took them on tours of the supposed properties in which they’d invested.

The deal stated that the purchased properties were to be rented out for a maximum of three years, after which the UK owners would be able to take possession as a retirement home, rent them out again or sell them at a profit. Rental income would be sent to the owners during the period.

On the inspection trips, investors were told they could not view the interior of their properties as tenants were already installed. After a while, the agreed rental payments became irregular, and several owners gave Brown instructions to sell.

She gave excuses to the owners and showed forged bank statements falsely proving that rental charges had been paid in and were ready to be remitted. In fact, Brown had been paying out from cash fraudulently received from other would–be buyers, and was operating a classic Ponzi scheme which fell apart when demand for the properties declined.

Investors are owed sums ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of pounds, and few have been returned even a small part of their investment. Brown was sentenced to a total of nine years in prison at Leeds Crown Court, for the Ponzi scam and other charges including firearms offences and the possession of a prohibited weapon, a can of CS gas.

Turkey is a popular destination for older British expats, and the case demonstrates that great care needs to be taken when considering property purchase overseas.
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