(The Center Square)
The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has targeted eight Mexican companies and three members of a violent Mexican cartel, the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generation (CJNG), Americans and others in a timeshare fraud scam near Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. .
The proceeds of the scam were used to finance the smuggling of fentanyl and other drugs into the US
Three violent senior CJNG members were designated: Carlos Andrés Rivera Varela (“La Firma”), Francisco Javier Gudino Haro (“La Gallina”) and Julio Cesar Montero Pinzón (“El Tarjetas”). He said CJNG enforcers based in Puerto Vallarta were responsible for coordinating “assassinations of rivals and politicians using high-powered weapons.”
“As the CJNG has consolidated territory over the past decade, it has added other crimes to its core activity of drug trafficking,” said OFAC Director Andrea Gacki. “In tourist destinations like Puerto Vallarta, CJNG is heavily involved in timeshare fraud, which often targets US citizens. This crime can defraud victims of their life savings, leading to another significant revenue stream for the cartel and strengthening its overall criminal enterprise. Today’s action exposes this CJNG scheme and serves as a warning to potential victims. , many of whom are elderly.
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In 2015, OFAC first sanctioned CJNG under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for “playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.” Since then, it said, “a number of CJNG-affiliated companies engaged in various commercial activities and multiple individuals who played a critical role in CJNG’s drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption.”
The Treasury Department made the announcement last month after sanctioning several Mexican nationals, Sinaloa cartel members and six Mexico-based entities for their involvement in the illegal trade of methamphetamine and fentanyl.
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Mexican timeshare fraud schemes often involve third-party scammers, where companies claim to have willing buyers and make unsolicited purchase offers to timeshare owners, OFAC said. If their offers are accepted, potential timeshare owners are asked to pay fees and taxes in advance to “facilitate or expedite the sale with the promise of reimbursement upon closing.” Once multiple payments are made it is too late; Timeshare owners learn that the offers are fake, there were no buyers, and their money was stolen.
OFAC designated eight companies directly or indirectly linked to CJNG’s timeshare fraud activities, claiming to be financial services or real estate companies. Five were in Puerto Vallarta: Servicios Administrativos FordTwo, SA de CV, Integración Badeva, SA de CV, JM Providers Office, SA de CV, Promotora Vallarta One, SA de CV, and Reservi, SA de CV Servicios Administrativos also made direct payments to CJNG members. , OFAC said.
Three were located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: Corporativo Title I, SA de CV, Corporativo TS Business Inc, SA de CV, and TS Business Corporativo, SA de CV.
Once granted, all designated entities and individuals’ interests in properties and properties are restricted and must be reported to OFAC. All transactions by US citizens and residents with designated entities and individuals are also prohibited.
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In 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a joint warning to Americans about Mexican timeshare scams. Anyone who has been victimized by Mexican timeshare scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
OFAC issued a warning Wednesday about timeshare scams, warning that criminals falsely claim to represent OFAC and engage in phone, email and letter scams requesting payments.
“These scammers often demand payments, sometimes described as ‘fees’ or ‘taxes,’ necessary for OFAC to release funds or pay some form of restitution,” it warned. “These communications are fraudulent and not initiated by OFAC. OFAC does not collect, demand, or request this type of payment from members of the public.
It warns Americans not to share any personal or confidential information with, or make any payments to, anyone purporting to represent OFAC. Scams can also be reported here.
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.