A view of a hammock on the beach on October 24, 2010 in the Island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America. hammock in carabbean islands, Ambergris Caye, Belize. (Photo by Philippe ROYER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

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Retiring Americans Scammed $100M in Tropical Real Estate Deal

The FTC says fraud is a growing concern as more Americans retire abroad.

Americans retiring abroad, beware: The FTC says you’re a prime target for real estate development scams that promise a luxurious resort with a downpayment on land — but it never materializes.

This is according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that developers sold lots in remote jungle areas in Belize. Buyers believed that a luxury resort would be built, but it never was — and now, the FTC has filed a lawsuit against the developers and Belize’s Atlantic International Bank, alleging fraud and freezing $10 million of the bank’s assets.

“The bank did not play any part in any alleged fraud involving Sanctuary Belize,” AIB Chief Executive Ricardo Pelayo reportedly said in a statement.

But the project reportedly spanned more than a decade and involved 1,000+ investors, the WSJ reports. One of those investors includes Trisha Nelson, a 47-year-old Canadian who told the WSJ that she and her then-husband paid $500,000 in cash for two townhouses that were meant to be built in 2014.

The building never happened. And the money? Never returned.

Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal