You are the owner of this page.
A3 A3
Columns
You and the Law: The Mexican Timeshare Scam Part 2

Dennis Beaver

Last week we looked at a major fraud that carried out by crooked Canadians and Americans residing in Mexico who are ripping off North American owners of Mexican timeshares who want out of their contracts.

For anyone who owns a Mexican time share and gets a call from someone in Mexico offering a great deal of money to buy it, it is almost certainly a scam: no buyer, only cons who appeal to greed.

Last week we told you about Don, the Arkansas terminally ill timeshare owner who, like so many victims, wired thousands of dollars to Mexico to complete a sale that was a complete sham. He is a highly educated business owner, and when we asked, “Why were you sending all this money for various fees and charges?” he replied:

“It was their written promise–guaranteed in writing by Wisconsin attorney Sheila G. Kolbe on her letterhead–that we would receive not $40,000 promised, but $56,000 which convinced me to continue wiring the money,” he admitted in a tone of voice that was seconds away from sobbing. “I am so embarrassed,” he said.

The “charges” were all bogus. Just like in the States, in Mexico, sellers do not pay fees. And the real Sheila G. Kolbe was the victim of identity theft, her name used as part of the con.

Don’s greed finally collided with common sense when he refused to pay an additional $1932.00 “For the cost of currency fluctuations,” as “Sheila told me in an email I had to pay, stating that if we didn’t live up to our end of the purchase agreement, I would be in breach of contract. By that time I had found your article and knew that we had been taken.”

But Don didn’t need my article to confirm that he was scammed. If he had merely Googled the phone number which appears on the so-called Sheila G. Kolbe’s letterhead–(920) 931-0176, guess what appears? Not a lawyer in Appleton, Wisconsin, but Costa Marina Timeshare, in Mexico!

When I phoned the number, there was a voice mail greeting from a friendly, Spanish accented female. Once, it was answered by a woman who clearly is Hispanic and denied any connection to Costa Marina Timeshare, but, “Sheila” was always in a meeting.

We located the real Sheila G. Kolbe who is now in Illinois. “You cannot imagine how it feels to be in this mess that I had nothing to do with,” she told me. “These scammers steal more than money. They have done real damage to my reputation.”

Deja Vu

For my office, this was Deja Vu, as a year earlier, same type of a scam, only its New York attorney Matthew J. Simon who had a beautiful website designed for him by the award-winning team, Scammers Are Us.

We located the real Mathew J. Simon. Like the real Sheila G. Kolbe, he was in a race to save his reputation.

“It’s not my website, but sure looks impressive. I’ve been getting calls from lawyers all over the country thinking that I am involved in buying Mexican timeshares, but I’m not!” he said in an anguished tone of voice.

Alerts put out by State Attorneys General Over Several Years

Over the past several years, Attorney General offices of many states have issued warnings about Mexican Time Share resale fraud which typically begins just the way it did with Don. Victims receive a call from a real estate broker claiming to have a buyer for their Mexican timeshare. The California Department of Real Estate has issued several warnings, which we summarize:

“Timeshare owners must be vigilant, be aware of and look for revealing signs of fraud, the most significant is a request for the wiring of money in connection with timeshare resales, rentals or other services. Once funds are wired, there is virtually no chance of recovering the money as the scammer usually disappears.

“A number of the crooks have engaged in identity theft, representing themselves as having real estate licenses. The criminals will use an actual real estate broker’s name and license number in an attempt to legitimize the transaction. If and when the timeshare owner victim calls the broker’s number, which has been provided via email, phone call, postal mail, or on the website that has been created to complete the fraud, the voice of the supposed broker is actually the voice of the scammer.”

And I would like our readers to consider one of the reasons they got taken. It was a conscience refusal to see their accountant or lawyer before taking the bait, a kind of “I know what I’m doing! I don’t need to run this by anyone.”


 

Dennis Beaver


Public Meetings

Future Meetings

KCAO Affirmative Action, Personnel and Board Development Committees: Mondays, 4:30 p.m., the Kings Community Action Organization will hold a Personnel, Affirmative Action & Board Development Committee meeting at KCAO offices, 1130 N. 11th Ave., Hanford, 415-7202. Visit www.kcao.org

Corcoran Planning Commission: Mondays, 5:30 p.m., the Corcoran Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting at the City Council Chambers, 1015 Chittenden Ave., Corcoran.

Lemoore Planning Commission: Mondays, 7 p.m., the Lemoore Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting in the Lemoore City Council Chambers, 429 C St., Lemoore. Visit www.lemoore.com.

Hanford Parks & Recreation Commission: Mondays, 5:30 p.m., the Hanford Parks & Recreation Commission, will hold its regular meeting in the Hanford Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit www.cityofhanfordca.com.

Kings County Board of Supervisors: Tuesdays, 9 a.m., the Kings County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting in the Board of Supervisors Chambers. Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford, 852-2362. Visit www.countyofkings.com

Lemoore Parks & Recreation: Tuesdays, 7 p.m., the Lemoore Parks & Recreation holds a regular meeting in the Lemoore City Council Chambers, 429 C St., Lemoore. Visit www.lemoore.com.

Hanford Planning Commission: Second and fourth Tuesdays 7 p.m., the Hanford Planning Commission holds a regular meeting in the Hanford Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit www.cityofhanfordca.com.

Corcoran City Council meeting: Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., the Corcoran City Council holds regular meetings in the City Council Chambers, 1015 Chittenden Ave., Corcoran. Visit http://bit.ly/2yDlQ6b for more information.

CUSD Governing Board: Tuesdays, 6 p.m. regular meeting, held by the Corcoran Unified School District Board of Trustees in the Board Room of the Administration Office, 1520 Patterson Ave., Corcoran. Call 992-8888 or visit www.corcoranunified.com/Governing-Board.

KCAG Transportation Policy: Every fourth Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m., the Kings County Association of Government Transportation Policy Committee and Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Service Authority will hold its monthly meeting in the Kings County Board of Supervisor's Chambers. Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford, visit www.kingscog.org.

KCAO Finance Committee: Wednesdays, 4:15 p.m., the Kings Community Action Organization will hold its monthly Finance Committee meeting at KCAO offices, 1130 N. 11th Ave., Hanford, 415-7202. Visit www.kcao.org.

KCAG Technical Advisory Committee: Second Wednesdays of the month, 1:30 p.m., the Kings County Association of Government Technical Advisory Committee, in the KCAG conference room. Kings County Association of Government, 339 W. "D" St., Suite B., Lemoore, visit www.kingscog.org.

Kings Waste & Recycling Authority, Wednesdays, 8 a.m., will hold its regular board meeting in the conference room at 7803 Hanford-Armona Road, Hanford. (No meeting in October.)

KRHS District Board: Second and fourth Tuesdays5 p.m. closed session, 7 p.m. open session, the Kings River-Hardwick School District will hold a regular meeting in the Board conference room, at Kings River-Hardwick School District, 10300 Excelsior Ave., Hanford, 582-0471. Visit: www.kingsriverhardwick.com

HJUHS District Board: Second and fourth Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. closed session, 6 p.m. open session, the Hanford Joint Union High School District, Board of Trustees will hold a regular meeting at the HJUHS district office, Hanford Joint Union High School, 823 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford. Visit www.hjuhsd.k12.ca.us.

HES District Board: Second and fourth Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m., the Hanford Elementary School District will hold a regular Board meeting in the HESD District office boardroom. Hanford Elementary School District, 714 N. White St., Hanford, visit: www.hesd.k12.ca.us

PUES District Board:  Second and fourth Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. closed session, 6 p.m. open session, the Pioneer Union Elementary School District will hold a regular Board meeting in the Professional Development Building boardroom. Pioneer Union Elementary School District, 1888 N. Mustang Drive, Hanford, visit: www.puesd.net

ELECTION

District to hold biennial election

Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District will hold its biennial election on Feb. 5, 2019, to fill three seats on its Board of Directors. The seats to be filled are for Division 3, Division 5 and Division 6 of the district. The district is a landowner voter district. Directors must own land in the division they represent. Those interested in the election may contact the district at 747-5601 in order to obtain information regarding filing for the offices to be filled by the election.


Community
Around Town

"The Kings Players is pleased to announce that they will be offering two Audrey Liebold Memorial Scholarships in the amount of $500.00 each. This scholarship was established to honor one of the Kings Player's founders and greatest advocates, Audrey Liebold. Eligible students must be a graduating Kings County high school senior and intend to pursue a career and/or make a contribution in the field of the Performing Arts. All applications are due by April 1st, 2019. For more information, contact your high school College and Career Counselor, or contact Kim Spicer, at kspicer53@aol.com or Debra Garske at dgarske1@comcast.net.”

Cabrillo Club Scholarship applications now available at local high schools. Questions call Caroll Rodriguez at 924-3249 or 362-7956.

BINGO PRESENTED by HANFORD SENIOR CITIZENS INC  Players must be 18 years of age. At 426 W LACEY BLVD Hanford . We’re having fun at Bingo!  Bingo is played every Monday and Friday. Monday Doors open at 10am, snacks at 11.30am and games start at 11:45am and go to 3pm.  Friday doors open at 3pm, snacks at 5:30pm and games start at 6:00pm and go to 9pm. We are looking for volunteers to work at Bingo, would you like to be a caller?  Stop at Bingo and talk to Gail or call Gail at 904-5019.

Dances presented by Hanford Senior Citizens Inc at the Hanford Veterans/Seniors building upstairs hall (elevator to right of stairs), at 401 N Irwin St Hanford. We have dances on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th Wednesday each month. Jan 9 Phil Hanna, Jan 23 Rollin West and Jan 30 Phil Hanna. Doors open 6pm, dance 6:30-9:30pm. Coffee, punch and water provided. Cost $8.00. For info call Fran 584-5103. Potluck at 8pm break. Chicken and ice cream provided. Bring something to share.

Rummage Sale presented by Hanford Senior Citizens Inc January 19, 2019 9am-3pm at 426 W Lacey Blvd Hanford. Donations welcome, drop off a 426 W Lacey Blvd on Friday 3pm-8pm or call Gail at 904-5019 to make arrangements for a donation.

Udderly Improv will take place every 2nd Friday at the Hanford Carnegie Meuseum. The event starts at 8 p.m. Every 2nd Friday HMTC will do improv at the Hanford Carnegie Museum at 8pm. This will be a regular occurrence and it is free. Also, we are in the Calendar for free acting classes. Starting Jan 9, free acting classes will be at the Hanford Carnegie Museum.

Hanford Multicultural Theater Company has improv auditions Saturday, January 19 from 2-4pm. Location is 1780 Emma Lee Ln in Hanford. Looking for talent for Udderly Improv shows.

Leaf pickup ending

The City of Hanford will be ending this year's leaf removal program on Jan. 18. After this date, we ask that you place your leaves in your green waste container for pickup by the City of Hanford Refuse Division. Any leaves placed along the curbside after this date will be the responsibility of the property owner to dispose of. If you have any questions please call the City of Hanford Streets Division at 585-2565

Children's Victorian Tea Party January 19  at 11:00 AM, Non-Members, $5.00 plus admission, Members $3.00. Accompanying adults are free for members and admission only for non-members. Must pre-register by Jan. 17. Call Judy at 559-341-4845 for more information or to register. Limited to 20 children, all ages. Children's Storybook Garden & Museum, 175 E Tenth, Hanford. 

The University of California Tulare and Kings Master Gardeners are having a rose pruning Demonstration Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, January 21 at the Old Grangeville Church, 14060 Hackett Street (one block north of Grangeville and 14th Ave). Master gardeners will model best practices for pruning and basic care and cultivation advice. Tool care demonstration and assistance will be offered so bring your own pruning tools and jump in with us for hands-on experience.

Kings County Historical Society meeting on Monday, January 28, 2019 at the Grangeville Hall 14060 Hackett Street, Hanford from 6 PM until 7:30 PM.  Potluck dinner starts at 6 PM, Short meeting and program with Jim Gregory presenting “Gregory Family History in Kings County.” Members of the community are welcome to come. If you would like to become a member contact jackiegiacomazzi@gmail.com.

BSTARS & The Tulare-Kings Counties Mass Choir presents its 29th annual Gospel Music Concert. Special guests: Koinonia Church worship pastor, Bryan Vickers & the Koinonia Church Worship Team. The concert will be held on Friday, Feb. 1 at Visalia United Methodist Church located at 5200 West Caldwell in Visalia. Doors open at 6 pm., with the concert starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. For more information, contact: Grant Davis 967-9636 or Charles Parker, Music Director and Founder at 303-4992.

Lemoore Friday Night Music now open starting this Friday night Jan. 11. Doors open at 5 at Lemoore Veteran’s Memorial Hall in downtown Lemoore on West D Street. It is no longer at the senior center. For more information please call Jan at 740-9498 or 924-1973.

Open house to help landlords and the homeless

The Kings County Wellness Bridge will once again host an open house, so current and potential landlords may learn about the many housing resources and funds the community has to offer. The goal, to ease homelessness in Hanford. The open house will take place on Thursday, Feb. 7 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Conference Rooms 1 & 2 at Adventist Health Hanford, 115 Mall Dr. in Hanford. As a result of the first open house, in October, several community members were placed in housing, within 2 weeks, by one of the landlords who attended the event. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided and the first 20 participants who complete the event activity will receive a free gift! No RSVP is necessary.

Free Pruning Workshop at CSG&M to be led by local Master Gardeners in conjunction with Hofmans' Nursery on Saturday, February 2. Bill Hofmans will demonstrate how to prune fruit trees and grapes. Master Gardeners will be on hand from 10 AM to 2 PM to answer questions, present a powerpoint on pruning and give tips on caring for garden tools. This wealth of gardening information is free to those attending the workshop at 175 E. Tenth St. For more information, contact storybookgardenoffice@gmail.com.

The American Legion Post 3 is hosting a Sweetheart Breakfast on February 9th, 2019 from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Hanford at 401 N. Irwin St.  Menu will be pancakes, waffles, eggs, sausage, coffee & juice and a variety of toppings. Cost:  $7:00 adults and $5.00 for children 10 and under. Please RSVP to 559-583-1169 or email: amlegionpost3@att.net

Hanford Garden Club is offering scholarships to graduating seniors from schools in Kings County in the amount of $750.00 each.  Student must be planning a career related to the objectives of the Hanford Garden Club.  This may include; botany conservation, entomology, floriculture, forestry, horticulture, landscape architecture, plant biology and/or plant genetics, urban planning, agriculture or research in allied fields.  Consideration will be given to grades, extracurricular activities, and financial need.  School transcript is required, along with three letters of recommendation which discuss scholastic ability, personal character, and work related experiences of applicant [each letter limited to one page]. Personal statement that includes your educational and career goals, including  reasons for your choice. Submission deadline is April 1, 2019 to the Scholarship Chairman, Pat Scialo, 2011 Idaho Avenue, Hanford, CA93230.  Please call if you have any questions, 559-686-8166.

KINGS COUNTY DAIRYWOMEN

March 1 is the deadline for $1000 scholarships being offered by the Kings County Dairywomen.  The scholarships are available to seniors in Kings County planning on a career in the dairy industry or any other field of agriculture and planning to attend a 2-year or 4-year college or university.  Students must have attained at least a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Consideration will be given to extra-curricular activities and community service.   One scholarship will be reserved for student s wishing to attend an agriculture-related trade school and planning to be employed in the agricultural field.  The cumulative grade point average required for this scholarship is 2.5. Applications are available at the Kings County high school’s Career Centers.  For further information, call 559 584-7433.

Ruiz 4 Kids Scholarship applications are available online for high school seniors who attend a high school located within a 35 mile radius of the Dinuba or Tulare, California Ruiz Foods facility.

In addition, Ruiz 4 Kids is again welcoming scholarship applications from current community college students. Scholarship application deadline is February, 15th, 2019. The application is available online at Ruiz4Kids.org. In addition to the existing high school senior scholarship program, Ruiz 4 Kids is again offering a scholarship program specific to community college students who also are currently attending school within a 35-mile radius and who are planning to transfer to a 4-year university. Ruiz 4 Kids, the non-profit organization of Ruiz Food Products, Inc., is based in Dinuba, California. The Scholarship Program is available to select high schools in specific geographic areas where Ruiz Foods has manufacturing facilities: Dinuba/Tulare, California; Denison, Texas, and Florence, South Carolina. According to Goble, Ruiz 4 Kids receives over 600 scholarship applications each year and review teams comprised of a couple dozen Ruiz Foods team members volunteer to make the selections. In the past nine years, Ruiz 4 Kids has awarded over 4 million dollars in scholarships to hundreds of high school seniors committed to furthering their education. High school applicants must have a 2.5 GPA or above to apply if they plan on attending a two-year college or vocational institution. Those who will be attending a four-year college or university must have a GPA of 3.0 or more. Community college students must have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or above at the community college level. To learn more about the Ruiz 4 Kids Scholarship Program and access the guidelines and application, visit www.ruiz4kids.org