Heinz Michael Wilfert, a German property promoter and developer, has been sentenced by a court in Alicante to six years in prison for a fraud in which he received almost 670,000 euros from seven British couples by selling them homes in the rural area of the municipality of Sagra which were never built.
The case goes back to the year 2004, when homes were sold off-plan by the company Michael Wilfert Oasis Verde SLU to British couples hoping to live in a complex named Oasis Verde near the coast in the north of the province of Alicante. On 18th April the following year Wilfert informed the buyers by letter that a building licence had been received, and as far as they were aware completion was on course for the second half of 2006.
In reality, though, the German was aware that it was improbable that such permission would ever be given due to a number of problems including the availability of sufficient water supply. Despite this, he carried on with his fraud and received payments up front of between 57,000 and 132,000 euros for the properties sold, amassing total fraudulent income of 668,723 euros.
If the up-front payments for four other properties are taken into account the total received comes to 1.2 million euros, but the judge in this case did not accept medical certificates explaining the absence of the purchasers from the trial and therefore did not take into account the amounts concerned.
In December 2006 Wilfert sold the shares in his company to the two other individuals who were on trial with him, one of them the owner of the land on which the homes were supposed to be built and the company which was to carry out urbanization work.
When it became clear to him that the houses would not be built the Spanish owner of the land, Miguel Muntaner, offered the purchasers the chance to exchange them for others in nearby Benidoleig, but they are reported to have turned the offer down, demanding their money back. The judges ruled that there was no evidence of Muntaner and an associate having known about the fraud, due to the victims’ assertions that they had dealt only with Wilfert.
However, this is not the first time that Sr Muntaner has had to face trials for alleged property scams in both Spain and Bulgaria, and at least some of the British families involved in this case are adamant that the “brains” behind the scam has got off scot free after a ten-year battle for justice. Sr Muntaner was arrested in 2009 for building on rustic land in Llíber, under 20 kilometres by road from Sagra, and has been named in the past by the British and Bulgarian press in relation to similar frauds and irregularities. However, despite the frequency with which he appears to be associated with these cases he has so far escaped any punitive action.
To say that this angers the innocent buyers affected by his apparent wrongdoings is putting it mildly, and one of them, while welcoming the sentence passed on Mr Wilfert, called the exoneration of Miguel Muntaner “an absolute disgrace”.
All Text and Images are Subject to Copyright