By Euro Weekly News Media • 25 April 2011 • 15:52
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EVEN the sedate world of caravans and motor homes is not safe from criminal activity. In a year-long investigation, Guardia Civil officers have arrested 27 people in connection with a scam where dangerously unsafe motor homes that had been written off following accidents were refurbished and sold off to an unsuspecting public, the Ministry of Interior said.
The motor homes were all part of a batch of 414 that were irreparably damaged in the floods that hit France in 2008. Thirty three of them found their way to Alicante were they were illegally sold.
A Czech company had purchased the entire fleet of vehicles on the basis that they would be safely scrapped, whereas instead they set about refurbishing them and passing them off for resale at a massive profit.
The sales were virtually guaranteed as they were sold to innocent buyers for €35,000 to €40,000, up to €10,000 below market value.
The scam involved producing fake papers to provide new identities for the illegal vehicles. Of the 27 people arrested in Alicante in connection with the fraud, all are of Spanish nationality, and 21 are inspectors at ITV stations.
The vehicles were fitted with new plates and vehicle identification numbers.
The 33 in this province were sold on to an Alicante company for €9,000 each and false vehicle inspection documents were issued by the allegedly corrupt ITV officials.
The caravans posed a serious risk for their occupiers and other road users, said the Spanish Interior Ministry.
The total amount defrauded is put at more than €1 million.
By Paul Deed
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