Ill-placed Blind Faith

A Public Prosecutor is recommending suspended jail sentences and fines for three women of different nationalities for allegedly swindling a British couple.

The couple had entered into a real-estate deal to purchase a property in Bácor, Guadix between the years of 2002 and 2004.

According to the Public Prosecutor, Auroras A.S. (Spanish), Brigette A.B. (German) and Karen E. (British), acting together with a man who has since died, planned to “gain wealth in detriment to two British citizens.”

In order to do this, claims the P.P., the accused, acting as real-estate agents, took advantage of the couple’s total lack of Spanish. For instance, they assured the couple that the property had an extension of 22,000 sq/m, when it quite clearly didn’t; in reality it was 12,267 sq/m.

For this reason the couple paid a much more elevated price for the property than it was actually worth, judging by market prices at the time.

One of the accused, the British woman, who ran an estate agent’s in El Contador (Almería), contacted the couple interested in buying property in Spain. The couple flew out and met the Spanish associate in the deal in Zújar. After signing a POA, they flew back to the UK, having placed complete trust in the intermediaries.

The buyers’ representatives arranged two purchase contracts for a total of 108,060 euros for a property that only had a market value of 49,000 at the time.

The deal stipulated acquiring the property in two different purchases as the property had two owners; first to purchase 10,000 sq/m and then afterwards to acquire the, in effect, 12,000, non-existent remaining square metres. One of the owners, who died in April 2011, was apparently in cahoots with the women.

The 10,000 sq/m contract was signed over in 2002 for 36,060 euros, for which the intermediaries took 9,000 euros in commission. The couple then flew to Spain in 2004 to settle here and sign the second contract for the remaining 12,000 sq/m for which they paid 72,000 euros which included a further 1,500 euros in commission.

In May 2006, when the couple tried to obtain a building licence, they found out the real size of the property that they had purchased. They immediately took the accused to court and the affair is only drawing to a conclusion now, with the P.P. recommending one year’s suspended sentences and a 1,800-euro fine for each of the women.

(News: Guadix, Altiplano, Granada, Andalucia)

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