Victim Location 90046
Total money lost $10,000
Type of a scam Travel/Vacations
Below is a sequence of parties involved and the sequence of events that took place.
X-Treme Travel: Travel agent who also stated they were the buyer
Max Robles Ext 118
Brett Wolf Ext 106
Rio Mississipi 49,
Cuauhtemac, CDMX, Mexico
Lauren A. Shenian: Lawyer assigned to facilitate the sale
(I found out Lauren is also using the name Lee Ann Schneider and posing as a notary on north Dakota)
213 2nd Ave NW,
Jamestown, ND 58401
Sandra Caela Adams (lawyer who is also a partner and helping Lauren)
444 U.S. 12
Detroit, MI 48226
Profeco: Procuradaria Federal Del Consumidor
Consumer Protection Agency in Mexico
Rafael Ochoa Morales
Federal Prosecutor Profeco
SAT: Servicio de Administracion: IRS in Mexico
Maria Isabel Melchor Guarjado
Avenida Paseo de la Reforma Norte 10, Planta 2,
Tabacalera, 06030 Cuauhtemac, CDMX, Mexico
US Bank note corporation: Corresponding Bank
Sean Bailey: Supervisor
1212 6th ave, Floor 6, New York, NY 10036
Bank Note corporation
Susana Torres Barraza
Representates de transacciones Internacionales
Suc 154 Reforma 222, Mexico D.F. Col Juarez
Delegacion Cuauhtemoc, C.P. 066000
Transaction number: B158501
Playa Grande Resort & Spa (owned by Solmar)
Mayra Bello: On-site Customer Service
Eric Willis: (lawyer consulting for Solmar)
Av Playa Grand No 1 Col Centro
CP 23450 , Cabo San Lucas BCS Mexico
I was contacted by Xtreme travel, (travel agency in Mexico) on 11/20/18. Max (the supervisor) stated they have a buyer who wants to purchase my time share at Playa Grande (located in Los Cabos, Mexico). After months of talking, researching and going back and forth, I finally decided to proceed. I was informed that Lauren A. Shenian, a lawyer who was to be based in California (now based in North Dakota) would be facilitating the sale to ensure everything was official. (I found out Lauren is also using the name Lee Ann Schneider and posing as a notary on north Dakota).
I checked, emailed, googled, and cross referenced many sites, numbers and emails in order to verify all parties involved were who they stated they were. I did extensive research and did my due diligence to ensure the companies involved were actual businesses. I also contacted my resort to confirm it was not a scam.
They sent me a purchase offer, value of the time share and wire instructions to pay Profeco (consumer protection agency) for a notary fee to guarantee everything was official. I was told to wire $2240 (5% of the sale) to Profeco (see wire document attached). Prior to signing the agreement, I was told by Lauren A Shenian and Max from X-Treme travel that the 8% sales fee would be waived and received it in writing.
I was contacted by Sean (Supervisor) from US Bank Note Corporation and told I had to sign a 1116 (Foreign Tax Credit form) to declare funds in order for them to release the funds. After days of waiting I was contacted by Maria at SAT stating due to the new Trump laws, I had to pay 20% capital gains. I spoke with Sean at US Bank Note who confirmed that since I was selling a timeshare in a foreign country and it was not real estate that I owned that it was accurate.
I wired $9760 on 2/22/19 to SAT (see wire document attached). I was told both SAT and Profeco are in the same building in Mexico since they are both government entities. Sean sent wire confirmation and stated the funds would be in my account within 24-48 hours or 1 to 2 business days. On the following Monday, I received a call from Rafael (Supervisor) at Profeco stating I had to pay the 8% commission prior to receiving my funds. I sent written confirmation of the commission fee waiver. Rafael stated that it was not a legal binding document since X-treme Travel did not notarize the document. I was told by Rafael once I did this my funds would be released. I contacted Sean at US Bank Note Corporation to ensure this was accurate and Sean confirmed. Sean stated that they are a corresponding bank, they were holding on to the funds and no funds could be sent back unless the government in Mexico got involved. Rafael guaranteed me there were no more fees. Maria from SAT guaranteed after this there would be no additional fees.
In January of 2018, I contacted Grande Solmar (company that owns Playa Grande) I made several phone calls and wrote emails to see if the timeshare company was a scam. I was given the run around on many occasions. I received a phone call a week ago asking if the issue was resolved. I let them know I still needed answers and wanted to confirm the company was legitimate. They finally said someone from legal would contact me. A lawyer who consults for them by the name of Eric Willis asked me several questions and asked me to forward all documentation to them. A few days later he called back to confirm it was a scam. I notified him that I had made several attempts to reach Playa Grande/ Solmar to confirm if the company was legitimate. He stated this is a big problem the resort is aware of and they are working on a solution. I let him know I inquired months ago and if this was such a big problem why do they not have something set up to prevent their customers from being scammed. He said it’s an on-going problem that they have no solution to as of yet and that he was sorry I had been scammed.
The next week I sent proof of $3,940 (wire for 8%) and Sean sent another confirmation of the funds being releasee. 3 days later, Susana from Scottia Bank called and said the funds were on hold again because I needed to pay an international exchange rate transfer fee of $1,500, which was interest on the money. At this point I stated that this whole is a scam and I need a refund of all funds sent. She said she would notify the bank and hung up.
I contacted Sean at US Bank Note Bank today (3/11/19) and asked him where my funds were . He stated that they sent the funds back to Scottia Bank (the bank who originally sent the funds ) because they did not receive proof of the 8% commission ($3,940). He then stated he could get the fee waived if I can show proof of the $3,940 being received. He stated the funds were returned to Scottia Bank. I told him he seemed very knowledgeable on the process and stated it was all fraud and that I thought he was fraudulent as well. He advised me to file a report with the FBI since it is an international crime at IC3.gov. I am now calling all of the parties listed above and conveniently now every single person is either in a meeting or out of the office. No one is returning my calls or responding to my emails. Throughout this whole process the amount received keep increasing because I was told I would be fully refunded for all fees associated. It started off with me getting $48K, then $54K , then $64K and lastly $74K was held at Scottia Bank. I told the lawyer Lauren I wanted to cancel and she said she does not deal with cancelations. Rafael from Profeco stated I had to pay $1050 before I would receive my refund.