Over 60 people (mainly British) have been arrested in this police operation.
Yesterday morning the 22nd of July 2013, the Special Crime Unit for Organized Crime of the National Police in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has raided the offices and sales deck of various Holiday Companies which allegedly were cheating tourists whilst visiting Gran Canaria.
The Spanish Police has proceeded with the arrest of over 60 people and registration of the offices and other branches of this alleged plot of swindlers. As it seems numerous documentation and computers have been confiscated from the main offices where this organized gang was operating; two of these offices in the town of Arguineguin, Mogán and the other one in San Bartolomé de Tirajana.
This gang which has been active since 2007 had their main base in the apartment complex Club Puerto Atlántico in the town of Arguineguin where they allegedly were cheating tourists who were visiting the island of Gran Canaria by offering them a long term Holiday Product which turned out to be a complete lie.
The branch names used by this alleged organized gang are Voyager Travel, Lifestyle Holidays, Reclaimgc, Timeshare Refund Network and several others about which you can find more information below.
The estimate is that there are more than 2000 victims of this plot and the amount of money defrauded could reach the 5 million euros. More exact details on the number of victims and amounts allegedly defrauded will be given later on when the National Police has analyzed all the paperwork.
The alleged responsible people behind this alleged scam are the German Eugen Friedrich Kaiser who has been living in Gran Canaria sin the 1980’s and formerly associated with alleged crimes of fraud, but never convicted: Paula Beatson, British and also formerly associated with alleged crimes of fraud and never convicted and Kieron Day a Norwegian citizen, allegedly the “Straw man” of the organization.
This organized gang allegedly has been defrauding tourists / visitors of Gran Canaria over a period of more than 6 years by commercializing a Holiday Product known as a Discount Travel Membership Club. To join this Discount Club the customers had to pay thousands of Euros (between 5.000 – 30.000€) and supposedly this would give them discounts in luxury holiday accommodation with discounts to up to a 70% over several years (5 – 30 years).
After several years of thorough analysis and collection of the victim’s testimonials, the Mindtimeshare Association decided to present a formal demand at the Spanish Police. This demand has been backed up by strong evidence of how this organized gang was lying and cheating in order to make the tourist fall into their trap and make them buy their allegedly fraudulent product.
There is evidence of the existence of numerous consumer complaints in the Offices of the European Consumer Centre in Madrid and at the Municipal Office of Consumer Information (OMIC) of the municipality of Mogán.
The tourist was captured by OPCs – “representatives” with scratch cards etc., in the busiest streets of San Bartolomé and Mogán. These OPCs were posing as employees of the Tourism Office of the Canary Islands and claiming that they were promoting a new tourism product of the island
The OPC would use illegally the Scratch card trick with gifts for tourists who would accept being transferred in taxi to the sales offices which this gang had installed on the roof of the apartment’s complex of Club Puerto Atlántico in Arguineguin.
Once at the sales deck the tourists would go through an intense sale pitch which lasted for several hours (4-8 hours) and was all based on lies.
In the cases where the tourists mentioned that they owned a timeshare week, the gang would also offer a “complimentary service” in the way of participating in a legal action against the timeshare company where the customer owned. After the declaration of more than 60 victims and investigations conducted by this association, it has been determined that this supplementary activity performed by the branch “Reclaimgc” could also incur the crime of fraud.
In the complaint filed by Mindtimeshare Association at the Spanish Police, information has been provided on the 15 lawyers from Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Two of which are involved or have been involved in the plot of Reclaimgc since 2010. It will be up to the police and judges to determine their level of involvement.
¿What is a Discount Travel Membership Club?
The Discount Travel Membership Clubs offer a luxury holiday product, with big discounts, for a number of years. The Discount Travel Membership Clubs operate as mere travel agencies or licensed retailer.
The gang intervened sold the product known as Voyager Travel, and it disguised their legality using the travel agency called Wunschurlaub SL.
To avoid the European Directives the gang would produce a second contract in which the company called Lifestyle Holidays Ltd appeared, a company registered in Seychelles and with an address in Gibraltar.
The duration of a Membership in a Discount Travel Club varies between 3 to up to 30 years and the cost for joining such club varies between 3.000€ and 30.000€
Companies offering this product request between 1,000 € and 3,000 € as initial deposit on the day of the presentation of the product and there is no cancellation rights or cooling off period. This money was paid by credit card to the Spanish company called Day International Marketing SL.
Tourists that were ‘captured’ by these discount holiday clubs would be given a presentation that would last between 4 to 8 hours.
At the presentation of this product most statements were lies with the sole intention to make the customer buy. The Discount Travel Clubs promise large discounts (up to a 70%) for any holiday product such as trips, accommodation, rent a car, cruise holidays, etc. In reality the discount does not work out that way and is far from what the consumer is told.
The sale representatives that were selling this membership in the Discount Travel Club Voyager Travel were also using fraudulently the catalog of other prestigious multinational Holiday Companies, convincing the customer (victim) that this material was provided by these companies as they were part of their organization / company. Of course this was another lie as these prestigious Holiday Companies never had given their consent to use their catalog in such presentation.
Bottom-line is that the victim would pay several thousands of Euros for a product that was sold to them based on lies, a product that turned out not to be real.
The tourist would be paying for a Holiday Product that supposedly was going to provide him discounts to luxury holidays, backed up by prestigious multinational Holiday Companies, but in reality the thousands of euros would only give them access to a travel agency service with normal holiday products which could be booked through any Travel Retailer or directly through the internet.
So the tourist was paying thousands of Euros for something that in the practice was not providing any additional benefit at all.
Another important aspect to highlight on Discount Holiday Clubs is that they often recruit potential customers, tourists on holiday, on the streets by promotional staff called OPC’s or “tiqueteros”. In most cases these OPC’s do not have the appropriate license from the local council to act on the streets.
These OPCs, operating in an illegal form in areas of more influx of tourists, also lie in order to capture the tourists, as well as using other psychological tricks to get the tourists to agree to be taken to the sales deck. OPCs working for the gang of Voyager Travel would make use of scratch cards and also posing as employees of the Tourism Council of the Canary Islands. The tourists who were taken to the sales deck in Arguineguin were often told the lie that they were going to be listening to a new tourism promotion offered by the Government of the Canary Islands.
Companies seized in police operation
Voyager Travel – www.voyager-travel.net y www.vogagertravel.eu. Trademark used to market the holiday product
Reclaimgc – www.reclaimgc.com - Trademark used by this gang to promote legal action against Spanish timeshare companies.
Timeshare Refund Network - www.timesharerefund.net - www.timesharerefund.eu - Trademark promoting judicial actions from Reclaimgc
Lifestyle Holidays Ltd. www.lifestylevacation.net; Registered in the Republic of the Seychelles Islands under number 014771. Address: Suite 1, Garrison House 3, Library Ramp, PO Box 847, Gibraltar. They use a bank account in Morocco, where the alleged victims would transfer money
Day International Marketing SL. CIF B-76023381. www.dayim.net; Address: Avda. Los Canarios, 3, Club Puerto Atlántico, apartament Nº 201, Arguineguín, 35140, Mogán, Gran Canaria. Registered in the Mercantile Register of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on February 12, 2009. Agents appear as foreign resident in Gran Canaria: Kaiser Friedrich Eugen and Paula Beatson, and as Partner and Sole Administrator appears Kieron Day. These three can be determined as the main perpetrators of the plot. Kaiser Friedrich Eugen and Paula Beatson have been formerly associated with crimes of fraud but never been convicted.
Wunschurlaub SL. Cif B-35896000; registered in Las Palmas in April 2006. Address: Avda. Moya 6 – C.C. Eurocenter, Local 177 – 4th Floor , 35100 San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Gran Canaria.
The supposed Travel Agency: No N-03.960.635. Tour Operator number: I-AV-0000090.2; Travel Bond N-03.973.322
Resalegc Marketing SL. Cif B-76023571. www.resalegc.com. Address: C/ Clavijo y Fajardo 2 – 35120 Arguineguín – Gran Canaria. Registered in February 2009. This is the official company behind the judicial actions of Reclaimgc. This company appears as the responsible company for the actions promoted by Reclaimgc in court. Kaiser Friedrich Eugen original founder is listed as a director of the company (January 5, 2010), although currently there are two lieutenants as Administrators of the same: Kieron Day, Partner and sole director of the company and Paula Louise Beatson as Power of Attorney.
Canarian Legal Alliance SL. www.canarianlegalalliance.com - Address: C/ La Lajlla 5, Edificio Panorama, Oficina 2 A (Arguineguín – Mogán). Registered last year on the 22/08/2012. As Partner and Single Manager appears Alexandra Jane EMMOTT, and as Power or Attorney Paula Louise Beatson. EMMOTT Alexandra Jane is the wife of Kaiser Friedrich Eugen.
The company Canarian Legal Alliance is one of the latest companies / brands used by Reclaimgc to promote judicial actions. Canarian Legal Alliance is linked with Timeshare Refund Network (trademark), which promotes Reclaimgc legal actions. In the link to the Web Site of Canarian Legal Alliance the canaries lawyers appear who are currently working with this alleged plot: http://canarianlegalalliance.com/advisors.php
This is the most important operation performed in Spain in recent years against Discount Holiday Clubs.
Please note: Information in this blog post is content property of The Mind Timeshare Association (http://mindtimeshare.me) and the full original article can be found by clicking here.