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FBI warns of timeshare scams

Collaborators with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) have been operating a timeshare fraud scheme mostly targeting elderly American citizens, based out of Puerto Vallarta, according to the  U.S. Treasury Department.

Last week, the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued sanctions against 19 companies—located in the Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco area and elsewhere—that it says are are linked, directly or indirectly, to CJNG’s timeshare activities.

The U.S. assets of all persons or companies sanctioned by the OFAC are immediately frozen, and U.S. citizens or companies are prohibited—under the threat of prosecution—from having any transactions with them.

“CJNG’s deep involvement in timeshare fraud in the Puerto Vallarta area and elsewhere, which often targets elder U.S. citizens and can defraud victims of their life savings, is an important revenue stream supporting the group’s overall criminal enterprise,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

On March 2, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a public service announcement to consumers concerning scammers targeting owners of timeshares in Mexico.

According to the FBI, in 2022, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 600 complaints with losses of approximately US$39.6 million from victims contacted by scammers regarding timeshares owned in Mexico.

Individuals who have been victimized by this type of scam are encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center by visiting https://www.ic3.gov.   

In a report by the Associated Press, a Puerto Vallarta realtor said the scammers “sent prospective sellers fake contracts and official-looking documents from the Mexican tax authority apparently saying taxes were due on the prospective sale.”

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