David Ames, the chairman of Caribbean Hotel and Resort Developer Harlequin Group, has been convicted of defrauding more than 8,000 investors in Britain. David defrauded them of Rs 21,71.00,47,500. He was found guilty at London’s Southwark Crown Court. According to reports, Ames pleaded not guilty to charges against him in 2017. Despite pleading not guilty, Ames was unable to provide any evidence for his defense.
He was supported during the trial by his wife Carol Ann. The 70-year-old will be punished next month. Harlequin Group is a hotel and resort development company based in Honywood Road, Basildon.
Ames operated under a well-planned modus operandi of committing this crime. He used to take a 30% deposit from investors who wanted to buy a vacant villa or hotel room in places like Dominican Republic, Barbados etc. Half of the fee went to Harlequin Group and sellers. The other half went to construction.
The whole process sounded very normal, but there was a twist. The construction never materialized. While David enriched himself and his family with all the earnings, the investors lost their pensions and savings.
Victims had to believe they had a safe real estate investment, but 7 years after the scheme launched, Ames faced a cash crunch. He had a deficit of Rs 11,54,25,744 in 2012. After going through this major cash shortage, Harlequin Group halted hotel and resort development and moved into administration. Investors were exposed to a 100% loss risk and received no return on their investments.
According to the Serious Fraud Office, Ames ignored warnings that the company was likely insolvent. He also removed employees who attempted to raise the issue. More than 25 witnesses exposed the full extent of Ames’ crime. Judge Christopher Hehir said: “There will inevitably be a long prison sentence.”
This company was endorsed by many celebrities and politicians. Many beg the question to know which politicians have supported this business venture.
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