Suspects allegedly overcharged customers and kept deposits for houses

Three people have been arrested in Torrevieja, two men aged 47 and 50, and a woman aged 34, on suspicion of having conned thousands of euros from foreign victims in a real estate and documentation scam.

The Guardia Civil investigation revealed that the group, two of whom were domestic partners and the third a lawyer, would first earn the trust of their victims and then con them out of significant amounts of money for services never performed, or charged a significantly higher rate for services which are either free or cost a minimal amount.

The investigation found examples of them having charged €800 for the processing of a foreigners’ identity number (NIE), €3,500 for a solvency certificate, and even, in one case, taking up to €30,000 for a deposit on properties for sale, as well as taking multiple deposits for the same property without handing any of the deposits to the seller.

Once the money was handed over, the trio would then ignore the victims and ignore their contact, whilst not returning any money even when requested on occasion, with many of the victims reluctant to file complaints due to the apparent complexity of doing so, and of the case.

Thanks to the intervention of the investigators, the group only managed to defraud around a dozen people, although they have been subject to similar investigations previously.

The three people were remanded in custody, with one released on bail having paid a bond, and they will appear in court charged with offences of real estate fraud, falsifying documentation, fraudulent processing of official acts and of being part of a criminal gang, which could land them all in prison.