Thousands Fall for Scam


( – In December 2011 Stephen got a call that seemed too good to be true.

A broker from Mexico offered him $65,000 for his Cancún timeshare, something that seemed unbelievable. “We felt like kings and queens” Stephen reminisced thinking back to the days spent at his luxurious two-bedroom condo.

But this phone call was the beginning of a nightmare. It was the start of a telemarketing scam that would eventually bleed nearly $1.8 million from Stephen, who was a financial manager at the time.

The scam was linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) one of Mexico’s most notorious criminal organizations.

Known for its violence, the cartel had found a lucrative business in timeshare fraud targeting Americans with the promise of high returns on their properties. “It’s almost like an addiction” Stephen confessed as he found himself unable to break free from the cycle of payments each time hoping it would be the last.

A U.S. government official who asked to remain in anonymity talked about this “It’s more cash in hand than they make from drugs.” obviously the cartel was more than eager to continue with this new “business model” as according to the official, it filled their pockets quicker than the usual carter shenanigans’.

Despite Stephen’s efforts to escape the scam including contacting the FBI the fraud continued to evolve with the cartel even impersonating law enforcement to extort more money. “I kept thinking the next person was going to help me get out of it” Stephen reflected on the relentless hope that kept him sending money to Mexico.