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Timeshare fraudster ordered to pay £1000's to victims

Francis ‘Frank’ Madden was this week ordered at Bournemouth Crown Court to repay more than £10,500 to victims of his timeshare-based fraud.

Francis Madden of Wellington Road, Bournemouth was sentenced in May 2018 for a total of 40 months in prison for his leading role in a number of timeshare related fraudulent businesses. Madden had been the subject of a very lengthy and complex investigation carried out in partnership between BCP Council Trading Standards officers with the support of National Trading Standards.

A subsequent Proceeds of Crime Act investigation into Madden’s financial affairs identified he had made £135,000 from his fraudulent businesses Glenleigh Ltd, Central Marketing 2012 Ltd and Reco Corp Ltd. At the original trial, the court heard telesales staff would cold call up to 200 potential victims a day each with an offer to market their unwanted timeshare or holiday club membership for them. Fees were taken from those taking up the offer, who were often contacted again and told they now had to pay further administration fees to complete the sale to, what the prosecution maintained, was a fictitious Russian buyer for their timeshare. Some clients lost £100’s and were still left with a timeshare they no longer wanted or could use and no means to contact Madden’s business who had moved on by this stage.

In another phase of offending Madden and his staff would cold call 100’s clients across the UK offering a “free” short break in hotels in Bournemouth on the proviso they attended a sales presentation at his Poole based offices for his own holiday club. This allegedly offered access to discounted holidays to his club members but the prosecution was later told by complainants that any accommodation sourced was often unavailable, of poor quality or available cheaper on the open market. Clients were asked to pay a “fully refundable £195 deposit” against the hotel accommodation but some victims found that when they travelled to Bournemouth their hotel had not been paid for and nor were they able to obtain the promised refund from the businesses for attending the sales presentation.

Clients were subjected to hard selling, often lasting several hours, where the business would offer to take the clients existing timeshare in part exchange for membership of their holiday club, together with fees, often paid in cash. Investigators found that the transfer was often unsuccessful even though Madden had taken steps to hide his involvement in the business from the timeshare resorts.

At the recent Proceeds of Crime hearing HHJ Stephen Climie ordered Madden to hand over £20,000 of available assets within the next three months, including £10,534 to be returned to 16 victims who took part in the prosecution.

The judge also banned Madden from taking part in or owning any timeshare related business for a period of 10 years. He is currently disqualified as a company director.

Councillor Lewis Allison BCP Council, Cabinet Member for Communities said:

“Trading Standards staff from the former Poole and Bournemouth Councils, supported by the South West Regional Investigations Team, spent many months contacting witnesses, pulling together evidence and untangling the complex web of Mr Madden’s dishonest businesses and his financial affairs. We hope this confiscation order will go some way towards compensating his victims for their loss and serve as a deterrent that BCP Council will not tolerate fraudsters targeting our community.”

Peter Haikin, Regulatory Services Manager for BCP Council Trading Standards added:

“These cases are extremely difficult to process but in addition to successfully prosecuting Mr Madden in 2018, BCP Council Trading Standards have now succeeded in getting him banned from being legally involved in the operation of any timeshare or holiday club related business for the next 10 years. We hope that this will put an end to any potential of Mr Madden’s fraudulent timeshare businesses operating again in the area.”