Skip to content

Police make arrests in Spanish property scam

The Spanish fraud squad has arrested a number of people connected with offices in Mijas and Fuengirola belonging to Fortuna Estates as part of their investigation into a €65 million fraud.

As part of Operation Fuentespino the officials are questioning over 20 people and are expected to contact property investors who are the victims of this fraud. Anyone with information is asked to come forward.

Fortuna Estates, which changed its name to Fortuna Land (Investment) in 2007, promised huge financial returns to investors from land reclassification projects in rural Andalucia.

'Watch your investment in raw undeveloped land turn into commercial projects with multi million euro potential,' it said in its marketing material. At property exhibitions, through advertising, cold calling and direct mail, the company targeted British and Irish investors.

It described itself as a 'leading land investment agency based in Southern Spain, and offered 'shares' in greenfield projects which is said would be transformed from a rural backwater into hot commercial property investments.

'Working primarily in the commercial sector of land development, Fortuna Estates has developed a programme of investment techniques that bring this highly lucrative sector within the grasp of the ordinary investor,' claimed Fortuna. It claimed it was making high-return land investments accessible to people who could not otherwise afford them.

Most investors put in a minimum of €10,000 to various different projects including Bella Fortuna, Sierra Fortuna, and Cazadores Reales.

When planning permission was granted for the sites the land was then 'independently' valued at grossly inflated prices, investigators believe. The valuations were meaningless, as Fortuna made them up to make it look like investors were making big profits, on paper at least.

Fortuna boasted that all transactions went through 'independent' lawyers and notaries, and said they were giving clients 'legally notarised title deed to the land in which they have invested'.

But the plans kept changing and the company announced delays. Investigators believe that Fortuna was never serious about delivering on its promises.

The scam was run out of offices on the Costa del Sol using companies registered in places like Cyprus and Delaware, US. Currently the Fortuna Land website (, claims they have 'implemented a strategic relationship with The Oanna Group to realise your investment projects in Spain,' and instruct visitors to direct all future communications to The Oanna Group appears to have an office in London.

Despite making several arrests, the Spanish police do not think they have any of the masterminds behind the fraud who are thought to have disappeared, and may already be working on their next scam.