Timeshare News

Mexican Drug Cartels On Timeshare Owners: The Emerging Threat

Facing an unprecedented threat, timeshare owners are now the targets of Mexican drug cartels exploiting their investments. This article sheds light on the sophisticated scams endangering financial stability and underscores the importance of vigilance and informed exit strategies.

Disclaimer:  Before you talk to any attorney or exit company regarding a timeshare exit, your first step is to contact your resort directly to see if they have an exit program that fits your needs.

In recent times, an alarming trend has emerged, targeting an unsuspecting demographic: timeshare owners. With meticulous precision, Mexican drug cartels have shifted some of their focus towards exploiting seniors and their valuable timeshare properties. This piece serves as a crucial wake-up call to timeshare owners worldwide, underlining the importance of vigilance and the need for a reliable exit strategy from potentially hazardous investments.

Understanding the Threat

Mexican drug cartels, renowned for their ruthless operations and extensive criminal networks, are now exploiting the timeshare market. Their tactics involve scamming seniors, leveraging the allure of easy timeshare exits to entrap individuals into fraudulent schemes. This alarming pivot underscores a broader strategy by these cartels to diversify their criminal endeavors, directly impacting timeshare owners.

The Scam Mechanics

The scam typically begins with a seemingly legitimate offer to help timeshare owners sell their properties. Cartels, through their elaborate networks, pose as potential buyers or intermediaries, offering attractive exit strategies to timeshare owners eager to divest their holdings. Unfortunately, these offers are nothing but a façade for exploiting the financial assets of unsuspecting individuals, leading to significant financial losses and distress.

Mexican Drug Cartel Timeshare Call Center

The methodology behind the scam is deceptively straightforward. Individuals employed by the cartel, masquerading as sales agents, reach out to timeshare owners with offers to purchase their stakes for appealing sums. Following this, they solicit advance payments under various pretexts, ranging from advertising costs to governmental penalties. These agents then coax the owners into transferring substantial sums to Mexico, amounts that can ascend into the hundreds of thousands, before vanishing without a trace.

This fraudulent activity has significantly benefited the Jalisco New Generation cartel, enriching it by hundreds of millions over the last decade. This success is attributed to numerous call centers across Mexico that persistently pursue timeshare owners in the United States and Canada. The cartel has even gone as far as bribing resort staff in Mexico to obtain guest information, as noted by U.S. officials.

The scam is a testament to the Jalisco New Generation's diversification into both illicit and legitimate economic activities. Equipped with nothing more than a persuasive script and a phone line, they manage to exploit victims internationally.

The danger extends even to the cartel's own workforce. In May, the dismembered bodies of eight young Mexicans employed at a cartel-operated call center were found in a ravine outside Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco.

Predominantly, the cartel targets elderly individuals, aiming to capitalize on their desire to secure financial stability for their heirs by liquidating assets. Victims, including those interviewed by The New York Times, have reported losses surpassing their original timeshare investments in locations such as Jamaica, California, and Mexico.

Michael Finn, the founder of Finn Law Group in St. Petersburg, Florida, which represents victims of various timeshare frauds, shared insights into the trusting nature of the elderly demographic targeted by these scams. Finn's realization of the severity of this fraud came to light four years ago following a distress call from a woman whose mother had transferred her life's savings, totaling $1.2 million, to Mexico in an attempt to sell her timeshare.

The timeshare market itself is thriving, with sales reaching $10.5 billion in 2022, marking a 30% increase from the previous year, as reported by the American Resort Development Association. With nearly 10 million American households owning timeshares, the average investment is around $22,000, excluding annual fees of approximately $2,000, predominantly in beach resort properties.

The industry's expansion coincides with a 79% increase in timeshare fraud complaints to the FBI over the last four years. However, for scams originating in Mexico, the FBI's investigative efforts hinge on local authorities' cooperation. Furthermore, American legal firms are barred from initiating lawsuits in Mexico without engaging a licensed Mexican attorney.

According to FBI data, American timeshare owners have been defrauded of $288 million over five years through various scams, including those orchestrated by the cartel. The actual figure is estimated to be closer to $350 million, considering that about 20% of fraud victims do not report their experiences.

Victims often choose silence over coming forward due to embarrassment and the desire to conceal the fraud from family members, as noted by Finn.

In a case from October 2022, a retired couple, James, 76, and his wife, Nicki, 72, recounted receiving a call from a supposed agent of Worry Free Vacations in Atlanta, offering to facilitate the sale of their Lake Tahoe timeshare to a wealthy Mexican businessman. The couple, embarrassed by their ordeal, preferred anonymity.

With their daughters grown and the vacation home purchased in the 1990s for about $8,000 going unused, they seized the opportunity to sell. The scam unfolded gradually, starting with manageable fees to cover purported Mexican government registration expenses for cross-border sales. The demands escalated, with the couple being threatened with legal action and potential extradition unless they complied with increasing fines. Eventually, they were convinced to invest in a nonexistent commercial property in Mexico, leading to nearly $900,000 in losses through multiple transactions, as verified by bank records reviewed by the Times.

Xtimeshares.com: Your Shield Against Timeshare Scams

At Xtimeshares.com, we recognize the complexity and the emotional toll of owning an unwanted timeshare. Our mission is to empower timeshare owners with safe, legal avenues to exit their timeshare agreements. With an impeccable track record validated by our excellent ratings on the BBB and Google, we stand as a beacon of trust and reliability in the timeshare cancellation industry.

Our Expertise

Our team of experts is well-versed in the intricacies of timeshare agreements and the tactics employed by fraudulent entities, including Mexican drug cartels targeting timeshare owners. We offer a comprehensive suite of services designed to provide a legal, hassle-free exit from your timeshare, ensuring your financial security and peace of mind.

Why Choose Xtimeshares.com?

  • BBB Accredited Business: Our commitment to transparency and customer satisfaction is reflected in our A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau.
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  • Customized Solutions: Understanding that every timeshare situation is unique, we tailor our services to meet your specific needs, ensuring a personalized exit strategy.

A Cautionary Tale

The shift in tactics by Mexican drug cartels to target timeshare owners is a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities inherent in the timeshare market. It underscores the need for timeshare owners to be vigilant and to seek reputable assistance when looking to exit their timeshare commitments.

As the threat landscape evolves, so too must our strategies to protect and serve timeshare owners. Xtimeshares.com is at the forefront of this battle, offering a safe harbor for those seeking to navigate the treacherous waters of timeshare ownership and exit scams.

In Conclusion

The emergence of Mexican drug cartels in the timeshare sector is a concerning development, highlighting the need for heightened awareness and protective measures among timeshare owners. Xtimeshares.com remains committed to providing expert guidance and support to those affected, championing the cause of safe and legal timeshare exits. Together, we can combat the scams and ensure the security of your investments.

For more information and to explore your options for a safe timeshare exit, visit us at Xtimeshares.com.

Reference: This article draws attention to the evolving threat posed by Mexican drug cartels to timeshare owners, as detailed in a recent Hawaii Tribune-Herald report.


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