Female expat in Spain accused of property fraud still on the run

Published:  17 Oct at 6 PM
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Whilst most expat attention nowadays is focused on how to avoid financial fraud, a British expat is on the run in Spain after being accused of a long-term rental property scam.

Many expats don’t realise that life in paradise can swiftly turn to life in hell, often with the assistance of seemingly trustworthy business people from their own home country. Rebecca Wells, a keen horserider from the UK, provides a perfect example of the kind of helper no-one needs, having gone on the run after being accused of property fraud.

Wells set herself up in Spain as an upmarket estate agent dealing with expat house-hunters and continued her trade for a full eight years. After four reports were made about her activities to the local police, she was exposed in an expat newspaper and reports began coming in from house-hunters she’d been defrauding.

Police interest was sparked by the complaints, and they began actively looking for Wells in order to question her over accusations that she had taken rent from clients on houses she did not own. On October 1, the day the story appeared in the press, a neighbour saw her packing up all her and her children’s belongings into a rental car, leaving her black Chrysler on the forecourt as she drove away.

When reporters returned to her house several days later, it had clearly been abandoned. However, in true Fleet Street tradition, the reporters’ investigation into Wells continued even although she had switched off her mobile phone, and revealed that she’d ‘done a runner’, leaving unpaid bills amid neighbours’ concerns about her children’s wellbeing.

The Olive Press newshounds struck lucky when they tracked Wells down to a luxury villa in the exclusive La Heridia development. However, this sad tale stands as a warning that expat havens may not be all they seem, and that new arrivals need to keep a careful eye out for scammers.
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