California Retirees Lose Nearly $1 Million in Elaborate Timeshare Scam Linked to Mexican Drug Cartel

Two California retirees, James and Nicki, have become victims of an elaborate timeshare scam orchestrated by the notorious Mexican drug cartel, Jalisco New Generation (CJNG). The couple, aged 76 and 72 respectively, lost nearly $1 million in the scheme, which has been estimated to fleece hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting Americans each year.

The scam began when James received a call from a real estate agent named Michael in October 2022, offering to purchase their Lake Tahoe timeshare for upwards of $22,000. Michael, who later revealed a slight Spanish accent, claimed to have found a Mexican investor interested in the property. Despite initial concerns from Nicki, James was convinced of the agent’s legitimacy due to his confidence and the promise of reimbursement for transaction fees.

As the scam progressed, James was asked to cover cross-border transaction fees, which eventually amounted to $50,000. The fraudsters even introduced a man claiming to be from Mexico’s financial intelligence unit, UIF, threatening James with extradition if he did not pay hefty fines. Throughout the ordeal, James believed the money was being held in a New York escrow account, but no funds were ever released.

Further manipulation led James to invest $32,000 in a sustainable housing project in Mexico, making multiple payments. In total, he spent a staggering $890,000 across various Mexican bank accounts, borrowing $150,000 from his daughter and selling his childhood home to fund the payments.

James eventually discovered several red flags, including the Atlanta real estate agency’s website being taken down shortly after their initial call. Additionally, the email address provided for a contact at the Bank of Mexico was registered in Arizona and Reykjavik, Iceland. The US Commercial Escrow Corps, which James believed to be involved, was found to have no physical existence.

Seeking assistance, James contacted lawyer Mike Finn, who has represented numerous victims of similar scams. Finn explained that timeshare owners are particularly vulnerable due to their desperation to sell, often overlooking crucial details in their excitement. Once money is sent to Mexico, recovery becomes challenging, and the FBI can only investigate with local authorities’ cooperation. American lawyers are also limited in their ability to file civil suits beyond their jurisdiction.

Over the past five years, American timeshare owners have been scammed out of $288 million, with the Jalisco New Generation cartel involved in several fraudulent operations. James’ life savings were lost in this elaborate scheme, leaving his wife furious and resigned to his actions.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. Wow, this is such an eye-opening post! I appreciate you shedding light on the unfortunate situation that James and Nicki found themselves in. It’s important to raise awareness about these scams and the dangers associated with them. Keep up the great work in bringing attention to such important issues!

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