Crook to repay £30k of his ill-gotten gains

PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 November 2015

Archant

A crooked timeshare salesman has been ordered to repay £30,000 of ill-gotten gains under the proceeds of crime act.

Niel Mendoza, of Exeter, and his sidekick Michael Girvin, of Exmouth, targeted customers who had already been ripped off once on timeshare deals – taking even more money by claiming to be freeing them of huge financial obligations.

They both received suspended sentences at Exeter Crown Court last year after being found guilty.

During the 20 months since sentencing, their finances have been examined by police financial investigators.

Mendoza was ordered to repay £30,000 by Judge Phillip Wassall, sitting last week at Exeter Crown Court, while Girvin will have to repay just £100 because he has no realisable assets.

Girvin, 55, of Salterton Road, Exmouth, and Mendoza, 61, of Cordery Road, Exeter, were both convicted of three offences of unfair trading at the original trial

Mendoza was jailed for nine months and Girvin for 12 months. Both sentences were suspended for two years; the men were ordered to complete 200 hours’ unpaid community work.

Judge Wassall rubberstamped an agreed order under the Proceeds of Crime Act. He ordered Mendoza to pay the £30,000 and Girvin £100. He was told Girvin was now working as a painter and decorator.

At trial, the jury heard how the pair’s Devon Based Associates company was shut down within weeks by Trading Standards officers.

The two men were former timeshare salesmen who cooked up a new scam in which they targeted their previous customers and overcharged them to get out of the dodgy contracts.

Their business model was based on luring the victims to meetings in Exeter on the promise of joining a joint legal action against the timeshare industry.

Once at the offices in Marsh Barton, which were rented for the day, the customers were terrified with scare stories and fabricated statistics about how much their timeshares would cost in the future.

The trap closed on the hapless punters when Girvin and Mendoza moved in to clinch a deal in which they paid cash up front to get rid of their obligations.

What the two men did not reveal was that the customers could have done exactly the same thing for themselves at a fraction of what they charged.

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