The case was heard at a Palma criminal court. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

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A 24-year-old Mallorcan businessman has been sentenced to twelve months in prison for having conned two associates out of 5,300 euros for a non-existent property investment.

In October 2018, the defendant, who was the sole administrator and owner of a company, formed a separate company with these two associates. They were led to believe that there was an agreement with a developer who had signed a purchase option on several real-estate developments by a British fund. They were told that if they invested a small amount of money, they would make a substantial profit.

The two were invited to a meal at which there was a supposed English lord. His business card featured a coat of arms with the image of a reindeer and two crossed swords. The discussion at the meal revolved around investments in developments in Altea, Valencia and San Sebastián.

They contributed 5,300 euros, but when the purchase option date expired, the defendant did not return the money.

A criminal court in Palma concluded that the meal and the 'lord' were designed to give the appearance of a genuine project. "It was, without doubt, an act to sell a non-existent operation." There was no relationship or agreement between the defendant's company and the British fund. It was all a hoax.