WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a Maryland federal district court's order to halt a large "real estate investment scam" that resulted in taking more than $100 million from investors who purchased lots.
According to the FTC, Andris Pukke and other defendants marketed "luxury" real estate in Central America under the names "Sanctuary Belize," "Sanctuary Bay" and "The Reserve" by telling investors the future developments would have "luxury amenities" and promised rapid appreciation of the real estate.
The false claims used in marketing the real estate included promises of amenities such as hospitals, golf courses, a marina and international airport, the FTC said. Pukke's telemarketers also deceived investors regarding the value of the property as well as risks, according to the FTC.
The FTC has also filed three contempt motions against Pukke, AmeriDebt and DebtWorks for selling "financially strapped consumers debt management plans" and alleging to be a not-for- profit. Pukke devised the alleged scam while in prison for obstruction of justice, the FTC said.