Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Troughton jtroughton@cb­news.es

VIC­TIMS of a €4 mil­lion Costa Blanca prop­erty scam plan a court ac­tion against Span­ish banks who failed to guar­an­tee de­posits in off-plan pur­chases.

Bri­tish cou­ple Richard and Pauline Pope lost a to­tal of €90,000, cash they be­lieved would help buy their new home in Al­calali - and are now plan­ning an ac­tion against Bank­in­ter.

They al­lege the bank should have guar­an­teed the funds un­der Span­ish law – a po­si­tion up­held by the Supreme Court - and en­sured the cash was only used for build­ing the new home.

And they in­vite other peo­ple who lost their de­posits in the fraud – more than 60 were paid to Con­struc­ciones Monte Pu­chol SL – will con­tact them to sup­port their case brought un­der Ley 57/1968.

In De­cem­ber 2011, builders Peter and Ben­jamin Sch­midt were jailed for two years at an Ali­cante court and or­dered to re­pay an­other Bri­tish cou­ple, Keith and Mar­i­lyn Brown, a €66,000 de­posit.

De­spite as­sur­ing the Browns build­ing li­cences were in place, per­mis­sion to de­velop was never is­sued be­cause the site was rus­tic land.

Richard and Pauline also won a case against the Sch­midt’s, who ran the build­ing com­pany, but be­cause the pair was bank­rupt; never re­ceived com­pen­sa­tion.

How­ever, since the case was de­cided, top judges have ruled banks are re­spon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing off plan pur­chasers and le­gal firms are help­ing losers on a ‘no win, no fee’ ba­sis.

“We are look­ing to con­tact any­one who made trans­fers or de­posits into bank ac­counts be­long­ing to Con­struc- ciones Monte Pu­chol; it could be with any bank, al­though we dealt with Bank­in­ter,” said Pauline. “It was a real web of de­ceit and the homes were never built.”

Richard added: “We know there are other peo­ple out there who have also gone through this and we are des­per­ate to trace them, we just don’t know how to con­tact them.”

They had nearly com­pleted the ‘pur­chase’ of 12, An­gle Tower, Al­calali, but never paid the fi­nal €30,000 in 2003.

Pauline said: “We were sup­posed to come here from the Isle of Man and be mort­gage free, have sav­ings and if we could find some work, it would be a bonus.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it never hap­pened. It’s been one fight and in and out of the courts for 14 years. When we came out in 2004, the town hall said it was a con­ser­va­tion area.”

Richard said: “Ba­si­cally, they robbed us of €90,000. We won our case in court but they were bank­rupt and we never got any­thing back.”

Any­one who can help Richard and Pauline is asked to call 672 960 547 or emailpope.p61@gmail.com.

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