Two property developers in Spain face jail over a property scam said to have fleeced overseas property investors of up to €54 million.
Antonio Martinez and Rafael Aguilera promoted Spanish properties off-plan on the Trampolin Hills estate, between Murcia and Sucina. The Spanish properties were promoted as free of any debt. However, far from being unencumbered by debt, each property was mortgaged to the tune of €100,000.
This meant that any buyers of the off-plan properties on the development also unwittingly took on the added debt on the property under Spanish law.
The pair promoted a ‘macro-urbanization’ of 2,750 homes, a golf course, swimming pools, commercial areas, hotels and restaurants, and even a school.
Up to 500 clients from all over Europe signed up to finance the development, through the two companies set up by the men, Solera el Trampolin and Trampolin Hills Golf Resort SL, spending between €20,000 and €336,000 each.
Invested monies were meant to be put into a protected bank account for safety, but the funds allegedly went straight into the private coffers of Martnez and Aguilera.
It was reported in 2018 that Martinez, aka ‘El Gitano’ (The gypsy), was ordered to pay €18.5 million in compensation to individuals and companies that had been scammed into thinking the resort was genuine.
Despite the scam being operated as far back as 2003, long before the global financial crisis, Spain’s public prosecution service filed their case, which could mean jail for the scammers.
However, Antonio Martinez immediately blamed Rafael Aguilera, his business partner at the time.
A reduced jail sentence of two years has been offered if a guilty plea is entered, but neither of the men are budging from blaming each other.
The Spanish prosecutors’ office stated the amount scammed totals roughly €54 million – it’s ultimate whereabouts still unknown.