A woman is being held by Spanish police over allegations she “masterminded” a timeshare scam of up to £5m in Gran Canaria.
Paula Louise Beatson, who is understood to have lived in Lancaster before moving to the Canaries, is among 58 held when police raided timeshare showrooms.
The 44-year-old is accused of being among several people behind a con in which about 2,000 holidaymakers paid up to £25,000 for timeshares they could not use.
Beatson, thought to be a former chartered accountant, was allegedly involved in several companies seized by investigators. It is claimed agents posing as representatives of the Canary Island tourist office snared tourists with prize winning scratch cards and gifts, encouraging them to attend a promotion, and offering a free taxi ride to a timeshare base in an apartment complex called Club Puerto Atlantico in Arguineguin.
Victims were subjected to hours of ‘hard sell’, with some tricked into membership of a discount travel club that would “guarantee” huge discounts in luxury accommodation.
But it is claimed it merely gave victims access to a travel agency with normal holiday products which could be booked through any travel retailer. Several came forward to the Mindtimeshare Association, which helps conned timeshare owners.