On March 2, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated eight Mexican companies with direct or indirect links to timeshare fraud activities conducted on behalf of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (“CJNG”) – sanctions that resulted from a collaboration between the US and the Government of Mexico. The CJNG is a violent organization in Mexico responsible for a significant proportion of illegal drugs, including fentanyl, in the US. According to OFAC, the fraudulent scheme involves third-party scammers who make unsolicited offers to purchase timeshare plans from owners and, if the offer is accepted, the scammer requests that owners pay fees and taxes before closing supposedly to expedite the sale of the timeshares. Typically, owners realize that there are no real buyers after multiple payments have been made and their money is gone.
The designated companies all claim to be financial services or real estate companies that, according to OFAC, provide the cartel with a significant revenue stream. The 8 companies were designated pursuant to Executive Order 14059 for being owned or controlled by the CJNG, an organization previously designated in 2021 as a global illegal drug trafficking organization under EO 14059.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of these designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons unless authorized by OFAC. US persons may also face civil or criminal penalties for violating EO 14059.
Department of Treasury Press Release | OFAC Chart – CJNG Timeshare Fraud Network