Two agents of the Civil Guard of the Balearic Islands have arrested in Colombia the businessman Carlos García Roldán, the presumed brain of a millionaire scam for the sale of 'ghost houses', flat houses that were never built in Mallorca. García Roldán fled Spain in March of last year, when those affected by the plot began to present the first complaints against him. The investigation has estimated the alleged fraud in more than four million euros, with a trail of more than 200 victims of the sale of these non-existent apartments by the promoter of the detainee, Luxury House, and the real estate agency Mallorca Investments, which sold the promotions.
Sources of the Civil Guard have confirmed that the arrest has taken place in Colombia, during a coordinated operation with the country's police force. Two officers from the Armed Forces Institute of the Balearic Islands traveled to the South American country on Wednesday after finding the suspicions that García Roldán was taking refuge in Colombia, the country from which the family of his partner originated, which was also arrested when the case broke . The judicial authorities will now request the extradition of García Roldán to answer for the accusations of fraud and money laundering, among other crimes.
The first lawsuits against the promoter began to register in the courts of Mallorca in the months of March and May of last year. The victims reported that the promoter Luxury House, in particular the arrested businessman, had offered them the purchase of flat houses with advantageous conditions and at a lower price than the market. After paying about 10% of the total price of the property as a signal, the employer was giving excuses to the victims to justify the delays in the construction. When the claims began to increase, García Roldán closed the promoter from one day to the next and fled Spain with an unknown destination, leaving his clients homeless and unable to recover the money invested.
Last August the Civil Guard broke into the offices of the real estate agency Mallorca Investments, which sold the promotions of García Roldán, and arrested eight people for alleged crimes of fraud and money laundering. The agents also arrested the owner of the real estate agency, which has since remained in preventive custody and a constructor accused of giving appearance of legality to García Roldán's projects. Also to the promoter's girlfriend. Both García Roldán and the owner of the real estate company presumed habitually in their social networks of a life surrounded by luxury, travel and products of leading brands.
In statements to the Cadena Ser, one of the victims of the scam – which lost 24,500 after paying a 10% down payment for the house he wanted to buy in Marratxí – has celebrated the arrest of García Roldán. "We value it very positively, to see if the process goes ahead and he complies with the punishment that corresponds to him, because he has done a lot of damage to a lot of people, regardless of whether or not we can recover the money, that he goes to prison," he said.
Those affected have channeled the complaints through four law firms on the island. They claim that they have lost an average of 30,000 euros, although there are extreme cases of people who came to pay 200,000 euros for a house on the coast. Many of the victims are foreigners who had invested in a second residence, although there are also families and young couples. The Civil Guard considers García Roldán the alleged master of the biggest real estate scam in the Balearic Islands.