Friday, June 9, 2023

CJNG hit in the US: 19 companies linked to the cartel fined for timeshare fraud

The US Treasury Department on Thursday announced sanctions against members or collaborators of the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel which, it seems, dabbled in a sideline of timeshare fraud that would have targeted elderly Americans.

Ryan Donner, a real estate agent in the tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, said the fraud was rare but highly sophisticated.

The cartel is best known for manufacturing millions of doses of the deadly opioid fentanyl and smuggling it into the United States, posing as drugs such as Xanax, Percocet, or oxycodone. that kind of pills cause about 70,000 overdose deaths a year in the United States.

But members and collaborators of the cartel would have decided to expand and scam people out of millions of dollars who wanted to sell their timeshares in Mexico. The scam focused on Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, which is an area dominated by the cartel. Known by their acronym CJNG, the group inspires so much fear in Mexico that they are often referred to simply as “the four letters”.

The Treasury Department’s Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). imposed sanctions on Eduardo Pardo Espino —a fugitive from a drug trafficking charge in the United States—, as well as six other people and 19 Mexican tourism or real estate companies. The sanctions freeze all assets that individuals or companies have in the United States and prohibit US citizens or companies from transacting with them.

Brian E. Nelson, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said “CJNG’s deep involvement in timeshare fraud in the Puerto Vallarta area and elsewhere, often targeting senior U.S. citizens, has advanced And they can defraud victims of their life savings is a major source of income that supports the group’s overall criminal activities.”

The scammers contacted people, often Americans, who sell timeshare real estate in puerto vallarta.

In an alert issued in 2023, the FBI said scammers contacted prospective sellers via email to tell them they had a buyer waiting, but the seller had to pay taxes or other fees before the deal could take place. It seemed that once the money was paid, business fizzled out.

According to the FBI report, the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received “more than 600 complaints in 2022 with losses of approximately $39.6 million of victims who have been contacted by scammers about timeshare they own in Mexico.”

Donner, an agent for Ryan Donner & Associates, a real estate firm in Puerto Vallarta, said that in the past two years, two people contacted by scammers had requested the assistance of his company.

“It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened,” said Donner, who did both he was able to put people off before they made any payments.

Donner said scammers sent potential sellers fake contracts and official-looking papers from the Mexican Tax Authority which said that taxes had to be paid for the eventual sale.

“They have contracts, they have documents that look like official documents, it would be very easy to fall into the trap of paying themDonner explained.

“If a company contacts someone to say they have a buyer for a property and so on all you need is money that’s a huge red flag that this is some sort of scam,” Donner said. “That’s not how companies usually work.”

He added that neither he nor the possible victims realized that the CJNG could be involved.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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