December 2, 2023

OFAC sanctions 16 persons linked to Mexican drug cartel

On November 30, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated sixteen individuals and entities associated with timeshare fraud schemes operated by the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG).  The CJNG was first designated in April 2015 pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and again in 2021 pursuant to Executive Order 14059, which authorizes sanctions against foreign persons involved in the global illicit drug trade.

OFAC’s new designations, also imposed pursuant to Executive order 14059, build on sanctions issued in March and April 2023, all of them focused on companies and individuals involved in timeshare fraud schemes based in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.  The schemes often target retirees from the United States:  CJNG-linked scammers propose an unsolicited, fictitious sale of timeshares owned by the retirees, request up-front payments of advance fees and taxes, and then disappear, leaving the timeshare owners out of pocket and the scammers and cartel enriched.  Sanctioned individuals include three individuals and thirteen entities ranging from real estate companies, traders, and attorneys to mining enterprises.

As a result of these sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons 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 a designated person.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Press release