Southern Arizona | Investigating 4 You

N4T Investigators: Timeshare trouble

TUCSON –  Terry Beall’s golden years have been badly tarnished. The 68-year-old east side resident lost more than $63,000 in an alleged timeshare scam.

“I worked hard for my money,” Beall told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. “And all they did was lie to me, and steal my money. That’s all they did.”

Beall paid $30,000 for the two-bedroom condominium in the Grand Mayan resort on the beach in Rocky Point. This was after he and his wife were wined and dined by the supposed sellers.  The couple was supposed to be able to stay there for two weeks a year.  He paid for the condo in 2004.

“They said, ‘We’re gonna have this done in two years. So in two years, you can use it.’ Then it became three years. And four years.”

Then 13 years.  Beall says he was repeatedly told to “be patient” and that he was never offered another timeshare in the area, only that his unit “would be completed soon.”

Since buying the timeshare in 2004,  Beall paid monthly maintenance fees, which increased until reaching $900 a month. That’s right, maintenance fees for a place not even built, much less lived in. Then in 2017,  a realtor called Terry.

Beall says the realtor told him, ‘We have a client that will give you $63,000 for your timeshare.’ And since I only paid $30,000 for it, I figured, ‘Well, I’m doubling my money, that’s a pretty good deal.”

Terry says the realtor told him he had to pay taxes, escrow and other fees upfront before the sale could close. “It went on like six months and they just kept asking for more money and more money and more money, he said.

Tery ended up wiring the realtor more than $30,000. Then, he saw a report about timeshare scams on News 4 Tucson and called us. It was too late for him. We asked Beall, “Didn’t you get suspicious?” He said, “I did, I did. I finally got suspicious because after a while you know you’re putting out all this money and you have no guarantee. But the paperwork looks good.”

Now. the building remains a shell and Terry believes he’s the victim of a shell game.

Instead of vacationing for two weeks a year in the timeshare, the retired boilermaker is out almost $64,000. That’s the $30,000 purchase price and the rest in the bogus taxes and fees.

Terry says this hurt financially “really, really bad.  I mean you know, I’m not rich. I’m just a middle-class American, you know?  And I worked hard all my life to get my money.”

Terry hired a private investigator to look into this. The Acme Detective Agency P.I. concluded the whole deal was a fraud. The supposed realtor who called Terry offering to buy the timeshare for a client said he was from “Gold Coast Realty” in New York City.

We called Gold Coast Realty and left a message; no one has returned it. The private investigator who Terry hired went to New York and took photos of the building that the realtor listed as his address. The place is actually a giant electrical power substation. The investigator said in a phone call, “This is a major bank scam that’s gone on for years while Mexican authorities look the other way.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich recently issued a consumer alert about timeshare scams that mentions the same scenario that victimized Terry Beall.  Brnovich told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, ” You got a bunch of degenerates that are stealing money from vulnerable people.”

Brnovich said scammers often use the names of legitimate businesses and create slick websites.  Like most victims, Terry Beall’s bad transaction was conducted entirely over the phone.”

Like most victims,  Beall’s bad transaction was, except for his wiring money,  conducted over the phone.  Brnovich said, “There was a time when you wanted to rip people off, you needed a gun and a ski mask. And now, all you need is a phone and a computer.”

Beall said if he ever ran into the people involved in this deal, ” I’d probably end up in prison. Cause I’d wanna kill em’.”

You should never wire money to someone you don’t know. Victims of the timeshare scam should contact the attorney general’s office, which Terry Beall has done. But the A.G. said you also need to contact the FBI, because most of the time the phony transactions involve a country outside the U.S.

if you have a story you’d like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

Matthew Schwartz

Matthew Schwartz

Matthew Schwartz has been an investigative reporter since 1993. He specializes in reporting on corruption, fraud and scams.
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