TWO men convicted of defrauding British home buyers at Murcia’s Trampolin Hills development are challenging the verdicts and prison sentences.
Antonio Martinez and his ex-business partner Rafael Aguilera were jailed for five and four years respectively after their trial last autumn.
Martinez, nicknamed ‘El Melonero'(The Melon), was found guilty of defrauding a dozen British families over off-plan property sales.
Despite ‘debt-free’ promises, buyers discovered their homes had been mortgaged twice with loans of up to €100,000 with the now-defunct CAM bank.
Aguilera assisted Martinez in arranging the mortgages in 2007.
Some people moved into their new properties having paid fully up-front, only to discover they were saddled of debts of around €100,000.
There were instances when owners only found out what had happened when they came to resell their homes.
Murcia’s La Verdad newspaper says that the appeal submission to the regional Supreme Court has Aguilera’s legal team claiming that the home buyers were fully aware of the mortgage situation.
Aguilera also claims his right to an impartial judge was violated in the Provincial Court trial as he would not allow questions on ‘essential, totally relevant facts’.
Martinez and Aguilera’s hearing was dominated by the two men blaming each for what happened.
The mortgage fraud conviction is just part of a series of Trampolin Hills issues involving the ex-colleagues and friends.
Most of the ‘golf resort urbanisation’ was never built but an estimated 500 people across Europe paid up to €60,000 as deposits and got nothing in return.
It’s believed that buyers lost around €50 million.