MALLORCA – Eight Britons are on trial in a case of false food poisoning in hotels in Mallorca. As a result of their fraudulent activities, some catering companies on the island have lost millions of euros.
Brother and sister Marc and Laura C., along with six others, are accused of serious fraud and membership in a criminal organisation. The Brits had set up a scheme to systematically report false food poisoning in hotels on the island.
The prosecutor of the court in Palma (Mallorca) estimates that the defendants collected more than €200,000 in damages during their period of illegal activities.
The criminal gang allegedly contacted British tourists in all-inclusive accommodations and convinced them to state they had been ill during their stay on the Spanish island. They could then claim damages in the UK. That writes the regional newspaper Mallorca Diario based on an inspection of the court’s letter.
Specifically for their illegal activities, the brother and sister founded BV Elite Project Marketing SL. Through BV they sent the data of the hotel guests to law firms in the UK. They also have hired different people to collect the names and addresses of the tourists.
Suspects helped travellers with ‘evidence’
Once the tourists agreed to fill out the fake report, they helped the “false dupes” collect evidence linking the hotel’s food and the resulting alleged illness. They were also given instructions on the steps they should take upon returning to the UK. The court document states that a percentage of the collected damage amount had to be transferred to the criminal gang.
Permissive attitude of justice in the UK
It was beneficial for the fraudulent Brits that the British judiciary was reasonably lenient in this case. Little evidence was requested about the alleged ailments and food poisoning. The affected tour operators also preferred to pay the compensation quickly to avoid high legal costs. Finally, the tour operators reclaimed the money from the hotels where the food poisoning allegedly took place.
Enabled Private Investigators
A salient detail in the case is that the hotels had hired private detectives. They discovered through the social media accounts of the hotel guests that they had posted photos of themselves eating and drinking at the times they had reported to the insurers that they had been sick in bed.
Legislative changes in the UK following the case
The problem of false poisoning in hotels has not only affected the Balearic Islands but has also occurred in other parts of Spain, such as the Canary Islands and Valencia. After discovering the numerous alleged irregular cases, the British government promoted legislative changes. The number of people claiming to have fallen ill on holiday had risen by more than 500% in three years, while the number of reported illnesses in the tourist town remained the same or even dropped.