EIGHT British people are being prosecuted for fraud by a Palma court after setting up a scam to make money out of bogus cases of food poisoning at Mallorca hotels.
Judge Maria Perez Ruiz says the Brits created an ‘organised gang’ to persuade British holidaymakers to report poisonings in order to get compensation from hotels and tour operators.
The eight suspects have been accused of aggravated fraud and belonging to a criminal gang revolving around offences committed in 2016 and 2017.
Four homes and two businesses in Portals Nous, San Agustin and Bendinat were raided in September 2017.
An investigation started four months earlier after Alcudia hotel bosses filed complaints with the Guardia Civil.
The ring-leaders have been named as Laura Holmes Cameron and her brother Marc Cameron Grimstead.
The others being prosecuted are Peter Murphy, Ryan Bridge, Susan Lyle, Simon Flanagan, Tegan Sumerlee, and Nicola Sanderson.
Bridge was said to be ‘one of the people tasked in England with processing the false claims.’
The others were paid on a commission-basis by the ring-leaders to go round hotels to sign up tourists for the ruse.
Their sums earned depended on what fake claim eventually made.
The judge said the fraud netted an amount that was ‘significantly above €200,000’.
Reports back in 2017 at the time of the arrests suggested that over €9 million was defrauded from three hotel chains, with Mac Hotels hit with €4 million of sickness claims.
Perez Ruiz admitted on Wednesday that the final defrauded sum has yet to be worked out by prosecutors.
Charges against four people have been dropped because they have not been questioned or cannot be located.
Lawyers acting for the the ring-leaders and their associates failed to get their charges dismissed and a trial will now be held.
A state prosecutor and private prosecutors acting for the affected hotels will now be invited to submit indictments failing a last appeal by the suspects.
Judge Perez Ruiz says the suspects formed a gang via a company set up by Laura Holmes Cameron and her brother called Elite Project Marketing.
Her report said: “The gang collected information from British tourists staying on an all-inclusive basis in Mallorca hotels.”
“Forms were specially prepared to make false claims that holidaymakers suffered food poisoning and that they could claim financial compensation in the United Kingdom,” the judge added.
“The ring-leaders sent information to law firms in England with which they maintained a close relationship,” the report continued.
An indication of the extent of the fraud were Perez Ruiz’s comments that ‘only 38 of the 800 guests staying at Club Mac Alcudia who submitted compensation claims had asked for medical assistance’.
The eight suspects deny any wrong-doing and a trial date is yet to be set.
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