October 22, 2022

A former British solicitor and his partner, a bar owner on the Costa Del Sol, have been sentenced to a total of four and a half years for laundering organised crime money related to a fraudulent timeshare scheme. On March 24th 2022, Judge Cambell sentenced St Helens-based Anthony Lea to three years in prison and Ian Hollis to 18 months, both for the crime of money laundering.

Lea, 66, is a former solicitor struck off in 2001 for misusing client funds. Hollis, 59 is a bar owner in Calahonda on the Costa Del Sol. Lea was immediately taken down to begin his sentence. However Hollis remains at large in Spain after presenting a fake COVID certificate in an attempt to avoid flying to the UK for the hearing.

Sentencing Hollis in his absence, Judge Campbell said that he would be “taken straight to prison” if he ever returned to the country. Lea and Hollis were convicted of laundering money on behalf of an organised crime ‘timeshare resale scam’.

In this type of crime, fraudsters contact desperate timeshare owners, offering to buy their timeshare memberships at attractive prices, but demand advance fees of up to £2000. The victims, keen to escape restrictive and expensive timeshare contracts pay up, then never hear from the ‘buyers’ again.

In a shameless follow-up move, a connected scam company would then contact the same victims and offer to get the stolen money back – for another fee. Investigations by Trading Standards showed the firms to be fraudulent.

The criminal…

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