Spanish Real Estate Developer Facing Prison for Gambling with Investors’ Money

Posted on: March 16, 2023, 08:50h. 

Last updated on: March 16, 2023, 11:16h.

A conniving real estate developer who took millions of dollars from investors in Spain is facing a long stint in prison. Media outlet Ultima Hora reports that prosecutors are demanding a lengthy prison sentence for Carlos García Roldán, who used the money he received to fund gambling trips and vacations around the world.

A plot of land in Spain that helped a scammer collect millions of dollars.
A plot of land in Spain that helped a scammer collect millions of dollars. The fraudster now faces more than 16 years in prison. (Image: Ultima Hora)

Roldán was the head of Lujocasa, a company behind one of the biggest real estate scams ever in Spain’s Mallorca. He created 32 phantom developments, all existing only on paper, and convinced 146 people to buy houses that never existed.

Spain’s Public Ministry figures the fraud took in around €3.3 million (US$3.5 million), if not more. What the authorities have confirmed, though, is that more than €2 million (US$2.12 million) wound up directly in Roldán’s pocket.

End of an Empire

The prosecution maintains that Roldán, known to those around him as Charly, was the mastermind and head of the plot. He created an intricate scheme that included pulling in others to give an image of strength and solvency.

With their help, beginning in 2015, he was able to market a series of ghost developments in Palma de Mallorca, Llucmajor, and Marratxí. Of the 32 real estate developments the group advertised and marketed, they only had seven building plots, and the company was completely insolvent.

The only asset, in addition to the sites, was a tractor worth around €6,000 (US$6,373). Despite this, the group managed to rake in more than €3 million from people who believed they were buying a home off plans.

The funds, according to the prosecutor’s office, were mainly diverted to Roldán’s estate. The accusation includes up to 227 visits to an unspecified casino, where he spent at least €700,000 (US$743,540) before winning some of it back.

He used another part of the funds to pay his conspirators an unknown amount in wages. One last chunk of the money was spent in Colombia to finance Roldán’s escape to the country to avoid prosecution.

It didn’t work. In conjunction with Colombian law enforcement, Spain’s Civil Guard found and arrested him in February 2019. That December, they escorted him back to Spain, where he’s been free on bail while awaiting trial.

Time to Face the Music

The prosecutor’s office asserts that what happened constitutes five crimes – fraud, grand theft, forgery, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy. For that, Roldán should spend the next 16 and a half years in prison, according to prosecutors.

Along with Roldán, the others face prison sentences as well. The businessman in charge of the real estate company that supported Lujocasa, Michele Pilato, is looking at 10 years, while the ghost builder, José Anotni Mir Pérez, could get eight.

Three people who the prosecutor alleges are Roldán’s front men each face seven years behind bars. The last two are Roldán’s girlfriend and sister, who could get three years for accepting dirty money from the fraudster.

Sentencing isn’t likely to take place for another couple of months, and isn’t yet on the schedule.

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