Search:     Go  
The Spanish Lawyer Online
The Spanish Lawyer Online

Spanish Law Tribune

Keeping up-to-date with Spanish Law
Home > Litigation > The Legal Case Against Fortuna Land

The Legal Case Against Fortuna Land

December 8th, 2008

Spanish Police have uncovered (http://www NULL.elpais NULL.com/articulo/economia/Timo/gigante/Costa/Sol/elpepueco/20081205elpepueco_2/Tes) what appears to be the latest Costa del Sol scam, this time connected to the old land banking investment practice. And I say that it (only) appears to be a scam because Fortuna Land and their associate companies could well have the opportunity to defend themselves successfully if, on the basis of the contracts signed, no promise or guarantee of a certain or fixed return was made.

And if the above is confirmed any skilled lawyer could turn, on behalf of the perpetrators, a scam into a civil dispute, well away from criminal courts. In my opinion this whole fiasco could be construed as a scam and therefore prosecuted via Criminal Courts if the following requisites can be proved, beyond reasonable doubt, by the Prosecutor and victims:

  1. That the developer promised the reclassification of the land from rural to a classification necessary for the commercial purpose it was destined for.
  2. That the developer new that the reclassification was either very difficult to achieve or simply impossible, and he did not even attempt to change it.
  3. That the developer provided false or manipulated valuations (this action per se is enough to prosecute for fraud).

My gut feeling tells me that this is all fraudulent (their website is worrying) but as a lawyer I would loathe to be predisposed to a certain opinion just by reading the press and internet comments (http://www NULL.fool NULL.co NULL.uk/news/investing/company-comment/2006/09/08/spam-scams-to-avoid NULL.aspx) and not looking carefully at the documents signed by the parties, the advertising used for selling and the sales “pitch” used by their telemarketers, which is key to decide on launching criminal or civil proceedings.

What I can guarantee, with 100% certainty (and my professional reputation goes with it!) is that cold callers offering a debt recovery service (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=77) are real conmen trying to seize this opportunity to extract an extra amount of cash from the already vulnerable investors. Whether they are of African origin (Nigerian 419 scam) or former timeshare scammers, putting the phone down after a brief conversation indicating you are not interest should suffice.

I have so far only seen a copy of the deeds of sale of shares of the company owning the land signed at the Notary in Fuengirola, which is insufficient to decide on what actions to take, so any input (documents, advertising material, copy of valuations etc) is welcome to file a case against the developer, in the person of the directors/administrators of the company(ies) involved.

About Antonio Flores

Antonio Flores is the head lawyer at Lawbird, a Spanish law firm specialised in property and litigation. More on .

Litigation , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. Arnold
    December 9th, 2008 at 15:11 | #1

    Whilst the comments and posting are reasonably informative, (although you omit the face that Jerome Andre and his cohorts were also involved in other such scams as BCCI, Spantel and Adrentacar) as for staking your reputation on it all about a mediation company you appear to know little about, are YOU not the lawyers taking timeshare companies to the courts in Fuengirola that never came to anything?

  2. aflores
    December 10th, 2008 at 00:39 | #2

    Hello Arnold,

    I´m afraid I dont know who Jerome Andre is.

    With regards to the mediation company you mention I cannot opine as I have no information about it. I can however tell you that since Spanish lawyers never “cold call” (for legal and ethical reasons) I can only be reasonably suspicious about this practice.

    Finally in respect of the Timeshare case you will be glad to know that this enormous Court case is now reaching its final stage and that owing to our intervention our clients will be properly represented (for an affordable fee) in the hearing phase of a case now lasting for 6 years.

    As you can well imagine, this has cost us a lot of money but we feel that we have fulfilled a duty towards our clients.

  3. Bernice Slater
    December 17th, 2008 at 08:31 | #3

    Dear Sir, I bought land with Fortuna in 2003, and again in 2005. I was assured that this would be a good investment, and it would enable me to retire to Spain. This will now not happen. Is it possible to get our money back? If so How?
    Regards
    B Slater

  4. aflores
    December 17th, 2008 at 23:57 | #4

    I regret to hear that you are in this situation and can only sympathise with you in this predicament. It is difficult to predict the outcome of a Court case as many variables apply but certainly lack of action will guarantee that you do not obtain a refund. It is therefore a matter of how much will a legal case cost against these companies and whether it is worth it. I can recommend that you write to Raymundo (raymundo at lawbird com or on http://www.lawbird.com/services/contact (http://www NULL.lawbird NULL.com/services/contact)) as he is already representing a number of clients who wish to take action against Fortuna Land. He will be able to tell you what is proposed and what cost this will have, in addition to knowing what is the perception of other “victims” of Fortuna Land.

  5. December 31st, 2008 at 03:36 | #5

    For more information on the background of Fortuna and the extensive scams they ran prior to land banking;

    http://investmentpropertyrumours.blogspot.com/2008/12/fortuna-land-and-oanna-group-how-it-all.html (http://investmentpropertyrumours NULL.blogspot NULL.com/2008/12/fortuna-land-and-oanna-group-how-it-all NULL.html)