Chicago

Offer to buy timeshare for over $1 million turns out to be elaborate scam using phony business address

CHICAGO (CBS) — An supply sounded too good to be true – in what ought to have been a sufferer’s first clue that one thing wasn’t proper.

The supply got here from a company claiming to be from Chicago, and offered prospects for a heavy revenue for his timeshare.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov dug into it and located an elaborate scam, an area street to nowhere, and a person who lost a whole bunch of 1000’s of {dollars}.

Timeshares can rapidly go from heaven to headache. So when somebody with a purported Chicago-based company referred to as Intercontinental Realty referred to as the proprietor of a Cancún, Mexico timeshare – saying they might promote if for $1,081,218 – he was .

But he was additionally skeptical.

“At the time, it sounds like a scam. It sounds like there’s something fishy,” the proprietor mentioned. “You need to know upfront – I’m suspicious.”

But that worker began offering the proprietor – who doesn’t need to be recognized – with paperwork and ensures that lastly satisfied him to go forward with the deal.

“Next thing you know, we got a phone call that, ‘In order to process this thing, you need to pay a fee,'” the proprietor mentioned.

The proprietor says the business despatched him elaborate emails and documentation, however the requests for money went on and on – till the proprietor discovered himself out greater than $300,000.

“Foolishly – I mean, I have to tell you, Dana – greed drove this thing. I kept – the little voice in the back of my head kept saying, ‘There’s something not right here,'” the proprietor mentioned. “But that million dollars kept waving at me.”

Since the company’s web site says it’s positioned at 7 W. Madison St. within the Loop, the proprietor employed Chicago private investigator Joe McGreal to do some digging.

“Immediately within the first hour, I knew it was a scam,” McGreal mentioned.

McGreal started speaking with Intercontinental Realty’s supposed workers.

“I offered to meet with them. We set up three different meetings,” McGreal mentioned. “They never showed.”

So McGreal went to 7 W. Madison St. – the address listed on Intercontinental Realty’s web site.

“There are no real estate agents there,” McGreal mentioned. “There’s no office there.”

CBS 2’s Kozlov checked out that address too. She discovered 7 W. Madison St. is a dorm for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kozlov confirmed with an SAIC spokesperson that no tenant or business referred to as Intercontinental Reality is positioned there.

So she tried calling the quantity on the web site for the business. There was a voicemail claiming to be for Intercontinental Reality, however nobody returned our calls.

But it does not finish there. The paperwork within the proprietor’s case repeatedly reference funds being wired to or being dealt with in Mexico.

“Everything comes back to Mexico,” McGreal mentioned.

So McGreal took the paperwork given to the proprietor to the Mexican Consulate. He says a consulate official confirmed they have been solid.

“It looks legitimate, and it’s difficult for victims to determine that it’s fake,” McGreal mentioned.

“It was a very, very elaborate scam,” the proprietor added.

And he isn’t the one sufferer. Seven different complaints have been filed with the Illinois Attorney General about Intercontinental Realty, and a few of these victims are out 1000’s and 1000’s of {dollars} too.

“We’d like to make everyone aware of the scam,” McGreal mentioned.

Both McGreal and the scammed proprietor imagine there are numerous different victims out there. McGreal hopes they are going to come ahead to assist catch the scam artists.

He says Mexican Consulate officers are additionally investigating, however nobody from the consulate replied to Kozlov’s emails or calls.

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