In November 12, 2018’s Scam of the day I first told you that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had started a legal action against Andris Pukke and five other defendants in regard to a massive real estate scam allegedly masterminded by Pukke, a previously convicted scammer. Pukke sold undeveloped lots in the Central American country of Belize that he represented were to be a part of a luxury development. The development used several different names including Sanctuary Belize, Sanctuary Bay and The Reserve. Victims of the scam were lured in by advertisements on Fox News and Bloomberg News as well as through infomercials. The ads were riddled with false representations including the claim that all of the money obtained through the lot sales went back into the development. The lots sold for between $150,000 and $500,000 and all in all, victims of the scams lost more than 100 million dollars making this the biggest overseas real estate scam ever investigated by the FTC. The FTC initially obtained a temporary restraining order shutting down the scam while the case proceeded in court.  Now the FTC has settled its claims against some of the defendants and judgments were entered against other defendants including Andris Pukke who did not settle with the FTC.  Under the terms of the settlements the defendants will be foreiting illegally obtained funds that will be used to repay victims of the scam.  As further details become available as to the refund program, I will let you know.

It is always important to remember that merely because an advertisement appears in legitimate media does not mean that the company sponsoring the advertisement is legitimate. No one should ever buy real estate without the assistance of a lawyer and you should be particularly wary and careful when considering purchasing real estate in a foreign country.  Always do your due diligence and investigate any such investment thorooughly before investing.  In addition, you should also look into the people offering the investment to you.  Anyone investigating Andris Pukke would have learned that he had already been convicted of previous scam activities.

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