Spanish Real Estate Developer Facing Prison for Gambling with Investors’ Money

Posted on: March 16, 2023, 08:50h. 

Last updated on: March 17, 2023, 03:25h.

A conniving real estate developer who took millions of dollars from investors in Spain is facing a long stint in prison. Media outlet Ultima Hora reports that prosecutors are demanding a lengthy prison sentence for Carlos García Roldán, who used the money he received to fund gambling trips and vacations.

A plot of land in Spain that helped a scammer collect millions of dollars.
A plot of land in Spain that helped a scammer collect millions of dollars. The fraudster now faces more than 16 years in prison. (Image: Ultima Hora)

Roldán was the head of Lujocasa, a fake real estate company that became one of Mallorca’s biggest real estate scams. Roldán created 32 phantom developments through the company and convinced 146 people to buy houses. The problem — these properties never existed.

Spain’s Public Ministry says the fraud collected around €3.3 million (US$3.5 million), if not more. Authorities confirmed that more than €2 million (US$2.12 million) wound up directly in Roldán’s pocket.

The prosecution maintains that Roldán, known to those around him as Charly, was the mastermind and head of the plot. He created an intricate scheme that included pulling in others to give an image of strength and solvency.

Racking in the Funds

Roldán marketed a series of ghost developments in Palma de Mallorca, Llucmajor, and Marratxí in 2015. Of the 32 real estate developments the group advertised and sold, they only had seven building plots. The company’s only asset was a tractor worth around €6,000 (US$6,373).

The group managed to rake in more than €3 million from people who believed they were buying a home off plans. According to the prosecutor’s office, the funds were mainly diverted to Roldán’s estate. The accusation includes up to 227 visits to an unspecified casino, where he spent at least €700,000 (US$743,540) before winning some of it back.

He used another part of the funds to pay his conspirators an unknown amount in wages. Some of the money was spent in Colombia to finance Roldán’s escape to the country to avoid prosecution.

Spain’s Civil Guard found and arrested him in February 2019. That December, they escorted him back to Spain, where he’s been free on bail while awaiting trial.

Criminal Charges

Roldán faces fraud, grand theft, forgery, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy charges. He should spend the next 16 and a half years in prison, according to prosecutors.

Others in association with the crime also face prison sentences. Michele Pilato, who was in charge of the real estate company that supported Lujocasa,  faces 10 years. The ghost builder, José Anotni Mir Pérez, faces eight. Three people who the prosecutor alleges are Roldán’s frontmen each face seven years behind bars. Roldán’s girlfriend and sister, who could get three years for accepting dirty money from the fraudster.

Sentencing isn’t likely to occur for another few months.

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