A federal district court, acting on behalf of a request filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC
), has issued an order temporarily shutting down an overseas real estate investment endeavor that the FTC claimed was the largest scam of its kind.
The FTC stated this endeavor was established by Andris Pukke, who was identified by the agency as a “recidivist scammer” who planned his actions while serving a prison sentence for obstruction of justice. The endeavor took in more than $100 million from investors who believed they were putting their money into a luxury Central American residential development that was marketed under several names including Sanctuary Belize, Sanctuary Bay and The Reserve. The FTC said investors either purchased lots that cost between $150,000 and $500,000 or made large down payments followed by sizeable monthly payments, in addition to paying monthly homeowners association fees.
In filing the complaint against Pukke and other defendants, the FTC is seeking to permanently stop this endeavor and obtain a court order requiring them to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate deceived U.S. investors.
“The defendants in this case operated a sophisticated international real estate investment scheme that cheated consumers out of millions of dollars of their hard-earned retirement savings,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “The FTC is committed to stopping this outrageous behavior and compensating the hundreds of victims.”