Timeshare fraudster whose staff cold-called victims and even marched them to cash machines to hand over thousands for worthless holidays is jailed for more than three years
- Conman Francis Madden, 61, got his staff to cold-call hundreds of people a day
- After luring them short talks they were forced to sit through five-hour sessions
- ‘Exhausted’ victims were taken to cash points to pay for timeshare holidays
- They were unable to cancel and many holidays were very difficult to book at all
A timeshare fraudster who conned people into paying thousands of pounds for holidays in Spain and Portugal they couldn’t book has been jailed for 40 months.
Francis Madden, 61, got his staff to cold-call hundreds of people a day inviting them to a ‘two hour’ presentations for holiday club companies.
Instead his victims endured five hours of hard-sell techniques during which loud music was constantly played.
Some ‘exhausted’ participants were even escorted to cash machines to hand over their money.
Although victims were told they could later cancel their contracts during the cooling off period, when they attempted to do so they were told it was not possible.
A court heard the accommodation offered was ‘virtually worthless’ as those who attempted to book breaks in Spain and Portugal found they were unable to do so or there was limited availability.
The breaks offered through Madden’s various companies were also sometimes available more cheaply on the open market.
Those who attempted to complain found the companies had changed addresses and their calls and emails went unanswered.
Madden, from Bournemouth, Dorset, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraudulent trading between May 2012 and February 2016.
In jailing him at Bournemouth Crown Court a judge branded his conduct ‘reprehensible’.
He also admitted a further charge of breaching a suspended sentence that has been made on him in 2012 at Southampton Crown Court.