Timeshare con artist Francis ‘Frank’ Madden in court.
A PROLIFIC timeshare conman who has previously targeted Southampton residents during a long criminal career has been ordered to repay money to his latest victims.
During his latest scam, Francis ‘Frank’ Madden, 62, had his staff cold-call hundreds of members of the public every day and invite them to presentations for holiday club companies Central Marketing Ltd, Glenleigh Ltd and Reco Corp Ltd.
High-pressure sales techniques were used to get victims around the south west to part with cash for “virtually worthless” accommodation.
Although victims were told the presentations would take around two hours, they often lasted up to four or five hours.
Loud music would be played throughout some presentations before “exhausted” participants were escorted to cashpoints by salesmen.
Victims were told they could later cancel their contracts during a ‘cooling off’ period, but when they attempted to do so, they were told it was not possible.
Those who attempted to book a break would frequently find there was limited availability. When a holiday was booked, the accommodation was often sub-standard, a court heard.
Customers trying to complain found the companies had changed addresses. Calls and emails went unanswered.
Madden, of Wellington Road, Bournemouth, was sentenced in May last year to 40 months in prison after admitting three counts of fraudulent trading and one of breaching a suspended sentence.
A subsequent Proceeds of Crime Act investigation into his financial affairs identified he had made £135,000 from the businesses.
At a hearing, Judge 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 assisted 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.
In 2012, the defendant was given a suspended sentence after admitting eight counts of unfair trading at Southampton Crown Court.
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