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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, April 28, 2023

U.S. Accuses Notorious Mexican Cartel of Targeting Americans In Timeshare fraud

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Thursday against members or associates of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel who apparently went into a side business of timeshare fraud that allegedly targeted elderly Americans.

Ryan Donner, a real estate broker in the Pacific coast resort city of Puerto Vallarta, said the fraud was infrequent but very sophisticated.

The Jalisco cartel is better known for producing millions of doses of deadly fentanyl and smuggling them into the United States disguised to look like Xanax, Percocet or oxycodone. Such pills cause about 70,000 overdose deaths per year in the United States.

But cartel members and associates apparently decided to branch out into scamming millions of dollars from people looking to sell their timeshares in Mexico. The scam focused on Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco state, an area dominated by the cartel, known by its initials as the CJNG. The gang inspires so much fear in Mexico it is often simply referred to as "the four letters."

A bullet-riddled wall bearing the initials of the criminal group Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) is seen at the entrance of the community of Aguililla in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, on April 23, 2021.

The Department of Justice considers the Jalisco cartel to be "one of the five most dangerous transnational criminal organizations in the world." The cartel's leader, Nemesio Oseguera, "El Mencho," is among the most sought by Mexican and U.S. authorities.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, sanctioned Eduardo Pardo Espino - a fugitive from a U.S. drug trafficking charge - as well as six other people and 19 Mexican tourism or real estate companies. The sanctions freeze any assets the individuals or companies have in the United States and prohibits U.S. citizens or companies from having any transactions with them.

Brian E. Nelson, the U.S. under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said "CJNG's deep involvement in timeshare fraud in the Puerto Vallarta area and elsewhere, which often targets elder U.S. citizens and can defraud victims of their life savings, is an important revenue stream supporting the group's overall criminal enterprise."

The scammers contacted people - often Americans - seeking to sell timeshares in Puerto Vallarta properties.

In an alert issued last month, the FBI said sellers were contacted via email by scammers who said they had a buyer lined up, but the seller needed to pay taxes or other fees before the deal could go through.

"The sales representatives often use high-pressure sales tactics to add a sense of urgency to the deal," the FBI said.

Apparently, once the money was paid, the deals evaporated.

The FBI report said that in 2022, the agency's Internet Crime Complaint Center "received over 600 complaints with losses of approximately $39.6 million from victims contacted by scammers regarding timeshares owned in Mexico."

Donner, a broker at Ryan Donner & Associates, a real estate firm in Puerto Vallarta, said his firm had been asked for assistance by two people over the last two years who were apparently targeted by the scam.

"It's infrequent, but yes, we have had it happen," said Donner, who was able to steer both people away from the scam before they paid any money.

He said the scammers sent prospective sellers fake contracts and official-looking documents from the Mexican tax authority apparently saying taxes were due on the prospective sale.

"They have contracts, they have documents that appear to be official documents, it would be very easy to fall into the trap of paying them," Donner said.

"If a company contacts someone to say that they have a buyer for a property and all they need is money, that is a huge red flag for it being some sort of scam," Donner said. "That's not how companies usually work."

He said neither he nor the potential victims had realized a drug cartel might be involved.

The Treasury Department had previously designated three senior CJNG leaders based in Puerto Vallarta: Carlos Andres Rivera Varela (a.k.a. "La Firma"), Francisco Javier Gudino Haro (a.k.a. "La Gallina"),and Julio Cesar Montero Pinzon (a.k.a. "El Tarjetas").

"These three individuals are part of a CJNG enforcement group based in Puerto Vallarta that orchestrates assassinations of rivals and politicians using high-powered weaponry," the Treasury Department said.

Tourists enjoy a boat ride to the arches of Mismaloya on the Pacific coast as part of a tour in the state of Jalisco, on August 1, 2022 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 


  1. Seems cjng wants to rob people anyway they can, they already make millions in the drug trade, scamming Americans all time low.

    1. These are lower level guys working their way up.. in the sense they come up with the money needed to start moving loads… ūü¶Č

    2. @12;31 so they can sell it to the Americans they're extorting

  2. ..lemme get this straight..
    almost $40 million lost..
    600+ complaints..
    Divide 39.40 by 600 and that's about $65,000 a customer!
    That's a lotta taxes!
    They must promised the elderly suckers the moon as far as the buying price they must have offered..
    The government documents were loaded with timbres and sellos and snakes and eagles and all sorts of official -looking shit, I'll betcha..
    The 4 letters doing Nigerian scams and the Haitian switch!
    Now I've seen it all!..

    1. I here I thought it's the Nigerians that only run those types of scams.
      You have the Romanian Gypsies scamming Americans, everyone milking the USA.

    2. The US is no joke when it comes to scams.
      The telemarketers prey on old folks and the gullible time that want easy money or free government funds that you still put money down.
      I worked for this company that used to scam people using a government type (free loan) it was so good i thought it was legit until I kept getting calls from victims saying they wanted their money back because they got scammed. I felt bad and quit.
      The owner of that scam is a lawyer that makes those scams all the time but knows how not get indicted or charged.
      Guy makes millions but at the end he even screws his workers and they dont get paid

  3. Alejandro Hope, respected security analyst and former official in both Fox and Calderón administrations, dead at 52:


      He was a Chayotero.

    2. 9:15 ok chairo de BB

    3. 11:11 tranquila Fifi

  4. When I was younger I would love attending time share presentations. I would drive for a month hit Mazatl√°n then Puerto Vallarta. Sometimes you would do two presentations a day at $300 and be done by noon. Good old college days when driving in Mexico was safe.

    1. So your saying your scamming Americans too.

    2. If a resort pays you to attend a presentation. I know I just need to listen for 2 hour and say NO twenty different times. Collect $300 at the end that is not scamming no one. You get pay to attend not to purchase. If they refuse to honor the payment or any other item you remind them of PROFECO.

    3. 11.31 sobernet you were not specific, you said you would DO, presentations and make money on the Americans.
      No wonder that person though you are scamming.

  5. I feel like a dick when I do it but I put on my pissed off face when going threw PV airport its like walking down east hastings in Vancouver

  6. Time shares are a scam either way

  7. Hora si saben por que le dicen los torcidos, por que siempre andan poniendo a su gente

  8. The biggest real estate fraud against Americans is happening in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, México.

  9. No tienen llenadera ,en todo andan menos en misa.

  10. Pinchi cjng already does good on drug sales, and now defruading Americans. It is no wonder cartels are on the radar of Congressmen.


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