Tragically, the grisly discovery of the remains of 45 young people in a ravine in Mexico appears to be linked to a call center being investigated for fraud.
Family members began reporting that seven employees working for a call center in Zapopan, Mexico disappeared between May 20th and May 22nd and never returned home. When they tried to call the employees, their cell phones had been turned off.
On June 2nd, the police investigation led to the discovery of trash bags containing the remains of at least 45 young people outside of the city of Zapopan, Mexico.
Timeshare Investigations May Be Linked To The Call Center
As the investigation progressed, Mexican police discovered that the case of the missing employees might be more complex than they initially imagined, with links to the Mexican cartel potentially.
Jalisco’s governor Enrique Alfaro tweeted that every day the case was throwing up elements that made it much more complex than it might seem to the public.
Mexican newspaper, El Universal, reported that the employees were said to have worked at a call center that may be linked to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
The Jalisco State Attorney General said the missing workers were employed for two or three months.
Investigators reported searching several hidden call centers that might have been linked to the timeshare fraud scheme. The call centers were two of several that were recently placed under investigation by the US Treasury Dept.
In April, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against members or associates of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel who apparently went into a side business of timeshare fraud that allegedly targeted elderly Americans.
The Jalisco cartel is better known for producing millions of doses of deadly fentanyl and smuggling them into the United States disguised to look like Xanax, Percocet, or oxycodone.
The scam focused on Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco state, an area dominated by the cartel, known by its initials as the CJNG. The gang inspires so much fear in Mexico that it is often called “the four letters.”
Timeshare fraud in Mexico has even resulted in the FBI alerting elderly American’s about the growing scam.
The scammers contact elderly people — often Americans — seeking to sell timeshares in Puerto Vallarta properties.
The FBI said sellers are contacted via email by scammers who advise that they have a buyer lined up, but the seller needs to pay the taxes before the deal can go through. After the money is paid, the deals would disappear.
The FBI report said that in 2022, the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center “received over 600 complaints with losses of approximately $39.6 million from victims contacted by scammers regarding timeshares owned in Mexico.”
Eight Companies Were Sanctioned
The US Treasury Department issued sanctions against eight companies are part of their investigation. The companies were linked to making payments to the cartel.
Five of the companies—Servicios Administrativos Fordtwoo, S.A. de C.V., Integracion Badeva, S.A. de C.V., JM Providers Office, S.A. de C.V., Promotora Vallarta One, S.A. de C.V., and Recservi, S.A. de C.V.—are based in or near Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Servicios Administrativos Fordtwoo, S.A. de C.V. has also made direct payments to CJNG members.
Some of The Victims May Be Americans
According to the Daily Mail, some of the employees may be Americans.
“Itzel Valladolid and her brother, Arizona native Carlos Valladolid, left their home in the Mexican western state of Jalisco to work at a call center that may be part of several being investigated led by the United States Department of Treasury.
Senseless And Tragic Loss Of Life To What End?
This is a tragic loss of life, and while it is unclear why the employees were targeted, one can only speculate that it is linked to violent cartel activity.
While the cartel has traditionally focused on drugs, they are more actively involved now in fraud schemes and stealing millions from elderly Americans.
These call center employees came from good families and if they were involved in a fraud scheme they were probably just trying to get by and support their families.
Were these employees targeted because they were going to speak to investigators? Or were the cartels trying to kill people that might speak to investigators? Or was it something else?
My heart goes out to these poor victims and their families. ?