TUCSON, AZ — For 13 years, a 68-year-old Tucson man paid more than $63,000 for a timeshare condominium in Mexico. Retired boilermaker Terry Beall and his wife planned on spending a couple of weeks there every year. The problem is, the resort was never built.
Beall initially invested $30,000 in the two-bedroom condo in the Grand Mayan resort on the beach of Rocky Point. That was in 2004. At the time, the developers promised the property would be ready in a couple of years, but those two years turned into 13, and all the while Beall was paying maintenance fees that eventually ballooned to $900 a month.
In 2017, a real estate agent called with a deal Beall couldn’t turn down. A buyer was willing to pay $63,000 for it.
“And since I only paid $30,000 for it, I figured, ‘Well, I’m doubling my money, that’s a pretty good deal,” Beall told news station KVOA.
To make the sale, Beall had to wire another $30,000 to an account in Mexico to cover taxes, escrow and other fees. Beall got suspicious when he saw a timeshare scam alert from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. What had happened to him mirrored what the attorney general warned could happen to other Arizonans.
“You’ve got a bunch of degenerates that are stealing money from vulnerable people,” Brnovich told the news station.
Brnovich said in his alert that although the scammers in these schemes frequently operate from Mexico, they conceal their identity by using the name of legitimate businesses in the United States, including those registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission that have been inactive for years. The websites appear legitimate and are populated with fake reviews, he said.
Some con artists even pose as Mexican government officials who say a government fund has been set up to assist victims of timeshare scams.
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“Our office has seen an increase in consumer complaints involving timeshare resale scams in Mexico,” Brnovich said in the consumer alert. “These scammers know some people are desperate to get out of their timeshares and prey upon that vulnerability to steal their money. Never wire or send money to people you don’t know or to a stranger in another country.”
That’s little consolation to Beall.
“I worked hard for my money,” he told KVOA’s investigative news team. “And all they did was lie to me, and steal my money. That’s all they did.”
The scam hit him hard financially.
“I mean you know, I’m not rich. I’m just a middle-class American, you know?” he said. ” And I worked hard all my life to get my money.”
For the complete story, go to KOVA.