As already informed in a previous article on the blog (https://wp.me/p1kmoi-2rU), in the week of the 19thof April the Bournemouth Crown Court started a trial of four people charged in connection with an alleged timeshare fraud.
The main responsible, Francis Madden has now been sentenced with 40 months of jail.
Francis ‘Frank’ Madden – who first appeared before the courts charged with similar offending in 2001 – had his staff cold-call hundreds of members of the public every day and invite them to presentations for holiday club companies Central Marketing Ltd, Glenleigh Ltd and Reco Corp Ltd.
Instead his victims endured five hours of hard-sell techniques during which loud music was constantly played.
Some ‘exhausted’ participants were even escorted to cash machines to hand over their money.
They were unable to cancel and many holidays were very difficult to book at all.
A court heard the accommodation offered was ‘virtually worthless’ as those who attempted to book breaks in Spain and Portugal found they were unable to do so or there was limited availability.
The breaks offered through Madden’s various companies were also sometimes available more cheaply on the open market.
Those who attempted to complain found the companies had changed addresses and their calls and emails went unanswered.
Prosecutors said he set up a series of businesses, “phoenix-like, one after the other”, although his victims had no idea the companies were run by the same man.
In 2012, he was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 24 months after admitting eight counts of unfair trading.
The offences related to company Hotweeks. Those he scammed were subjected to a four-hour presentation in Southampton and told to pay a sum of up to £2,000 to get discounts on accommodation, flights and cruises.
Sentencing Madden, Judge Stephen Climie said: “His behaviour was commercially inept, and on occasion morally irresponsible, if not reprehensible.