The Guardia Civil has arrested members of a criminal group that defrauded property owners for short-term rentals in Villajoyosa, Alicante.
The operation began when the agents became aware of a person who was being extorted by the guests of his vacation home, who had occupied the property and were asking him for 14,000 euro to leave.
Throughout the investigation, the agents verified that it was not something isolated, but a plot. The group located short-term vacation-type rental homes and contacted the owners posing as a family interested in spending a weekend or several days.
Once they occupied the house, they refused to leave or pay any amount for the use of the house. Then they threatened the owners in exchange for very high amounts -14,000 euro-, telling them that if they paid them, they would leave and their home would not suffer major damage.
In the presence of the owners, the members of the gang beat and smashed the furniture so they would know that they were serious. However, even having agreed to the extortion, the perpetrators did not leave. The band has managed to appropriate 62,000 euro from the victims.
The leader of the gang was the one who made contact with the owners and received the keys. She made a verbal contract with them. Later, when it was time to leave the house, she claimed that she had rented for a long time. It was then that her husband’s role began, one of the main people in charge of materialising the threats and extortions.
The usurped houses were constantly occupied by the members of the group who in turn gave them to other relatives, guaranteeing that there would always be people in the houses and thus avoiding being evicted.
They are charged with the crimes of fraud, misappropriation, extortion, damage and belonging to a criminal group. They have been placed at the disposal of the Court of Instruction number 2 of Villajoyosa, which has ordered the imprisonment of four of the main members of the gang.