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The Ready2Invest Property Scam

For those caught in any of the Ready2Invest fiascos, such as Cerros de Turre, La Cadima or Santa Ana


Posts Tagged ‘Lawbird’

The Ready2Invest Alleged Scam: A Bit of History

May 19th, 2011

Citrus Playa Macenas S.L. and Ready2invest (formerly Ready2Rent), represented by Jonty Crossick, set out in 2003 to organize, elaborate, promote, sell, construct and deliver 2 developments in the province of Almeria to an undisclosed number of consumers in the United Kingdom and Ireland who, mostly, mortgaged homes to finance the initial deposit. Seven years later, properties are half built (or not at all) and no prospect of delivery is visible.

The uncontested marketing and selling skills displayed by Jonty Crossick and his team, working from a front-line Brighton town house, ensured that only high quality promotional material and brochures were printed, that the best telemarketing operators were trained to capture bona fide willing investors and that a friendly law firm was hired to represent the interest of the buyers (our firm ended up being selected). I happened to meet the team when on a business trip in Brighton and witnessed how well organized this company was.

From the very beginning, in our capacity as lawyers of the buyers at both developments, Lawbird Legal Services did not seem to find it easy to work with Jonty. They both seemed to be intent on gathering as many deposits as possible, even before contracts were signed, had their marketing and sales engines running full steam well ahead of the legalities of the cases, in spite of the warnings we were issuing to both companies, and generated an amount of confusion that still today will require, most probably, a forensic accounting report to identify where the funds ended up.

The price-reduction bait on the second development, Playa Macenas, utilized by Jonty Crossick caused enormous tension when Lawbird was negotiating contracts as he had linked one to the other, legally, to ensure that most buyers in Turre would also be enticed to take on Playa Macenas. Quoting Jonty in an email correspondence, Playa Macenas is a very successful development, where prices have been offered to customers for 2.600 Euros per square meter when re-sales were already topping 5.000 Euros per square meter.

Lawbird, who held the deposits sent by the customers in escrow until the legal options were made clear and safe to the customers, fought a lost battle with Jonty, and eventually, when it was clear that their influence over our clients would outweigh our legal recommendations, and specifically on instructions of the clients and against our advice, the deposits were transferred in full to Citrus Playa Macenas Limited. It is important to note that when the deposits were sent, no individual bank guarantee was available nor was a license issued. The land, bought by Citrus Playa Macenas S.L., was heavily mortgaged and therefore of little collateral for the property buyers.

It was with further surprise that we found out later that Citrus had then sold the project at Turre to a company named as Promobys, acting in this purchase as Urbanización Cerro Colorado S.L. The refusal by the company director to provide us with a copy of the contract, compounded with the already worrying trail of disconcerting information fed to buyers, aroused serious doubts about the legitimacy of their intentions. We then obtained a copy of the title deeds where this sale was consummated and found out that not only had the buyers´ interest not been named but also, no reference to the down payments made or the private purchase contracts was made. At the most, the deeds included a clause that stated that “within a year from the signing of this title deed (11 October 2006)”, the buyer will undertake to finalize and obtain the LFO (License of First Occupation) for 17 units built on the named plots, units that will be transferred to an undisclosed number of contract holders whose names will be given by the seller to the buyer”. The deeds also has a surprising revelation as it states that the costs and taxes of the transfer of the units will be borne by the buyers, when a) they are not named and b) they do not form part of the title deeds and thus cannot commit themselves to anything.

At present, Jonty denies liability and property buyers are still trying to recover their deposits.

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