Mexican Timeshare Resale Scam

Timeshare Resale Scam

In a disturbing turn of events, one of Mexico’s most notorious criminal organizations, the Jalisco New Generation cartel, has shifted its focus from traditional criminal activities to targeting elderly individuals and their timeshare properties with a timeshare resale scam.

How the Mexican Timeshare Resale Scam Works

The modus operandi is deceptively simple yet devastating. Operatives of the cartel, posing as legitimate sales representatives, reach out to timeshare owners, offering to purchase their properties at attractive prices. However, once they gain the victims’ trust, they coerce them into wiring large sums of money to Mexico under various pretexts, ranging from fees for listing advertisements to alleged government fines.

According to undisclosed U.S. officials, this timeshare resale scam has proven highly lucrative for the Jalisco New Generation cartel, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade. The cartel operates numerous call centers across Mexico, relentlessly targeting American and Canadian timeshare owners. Disturbingly, they have even resorted to bribing employees at Mexican resorts to obtain guest information.

The victims of these timeshare resale scams are predominantly older, retired individuals seeking to liquidate assets to support their families. Several victims have recounted losing amounts far exceeding the initial value of their timeshares in locations such as Jamaica, California, and Mexico.

Booming Timeshare Sales Create Opportunity for Resale Scams

The burgeoning timeshare industry, with sales reaching $10.5 billion in 2022, has provided ample opportunities for exploitation. Despite a surge in timeshare fraud complaints, particularly originating from Mexico, the FBI’s ability to investigate is hampered without local authorities’ cooperation.

Over the past five years, American timeshare owners have been defrauded of an estimated $288 million, with the true figure likely higher due to underreporting. Many retired victims who fell prey to the cartel’s timeshare resale scam, have seen their life savings depleted and are now burdened with debt.

Timeshare Owner Data is Being Released to Criminals

The cartel’s reach extends beyond fraudulent activities, infiltrating legal sectors of the economy. In tourist hotspots like Puerto Vallarta, hotel employees are coerced into divulging guest information, facilitating further exploitation.

According to The New York Times, a particular concern is the Vidanta Group, a major timeshare resort company in Mexico. Despite its stature, many of its clients have fallen victim to timeshare resale scams. The challenges in prosecuting these crimes are compounded by the transnational nature of the operations, leaving law enforcement agencies with limited recourse beyond public awareness campaigns.

Emotional and Physical Distress Remains in the Wake of a Scam

As victims grapple with the aftermath, the toll is not just financial but also emotional and physical. For some victims, the dream of a comfortable retirement has been shattered, leaving them contemplating part-time employment to make ends meet. As they navigate this ordeal, they are left with a profound sense of injustice and betrayal.

If you’ve been a victim of timeshare resale fraud, your voice matters. Sharing your story can shed light on the tactics employed by unscrupulous individuals and organizations, helping others avoid similar pitfalls. 


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Written by the top Real Estate Litigators in the Timeshare Industry.